We often mourn here about what we don’t have and the grief we feel over our lack of children. But it’s important to look at the flip side, too. Because we don’t have children to take care of, we have a lot more time and freedom to devote to other things that are important to us.
Most of our marriage, Fred and I were able to do things that parents can’t do as easily. We traveled a lot. We did not have to worry about taking the kids along or going places that children would enjoy, and we had enough money because we weren’t taking care of children. We went antiquing a lot. We bought things that maybe parents of young children couldn’t afford. I went back to school and got my master’s degree. If we had children, we would be paying for their education. We were able to go out whenever we felt like it: lunch, romantic dinner, shows, hiking, without worrying about babysitters or school schedules. I was able to go away as needed for work.
We were “childfree,” a word that makes me cringe, but not having children does give us freedom to concentrate on adult things. I could not have done all the things I have done in my life if I had to take care of children. I believe I would gladly make the sacrifice in exchange for the chance to be a mother, but I have to remember the blessings, especially this time of year when I’m missing my husband and feeling awfully alone.
Let’s all stop and think of at least five things that we can do because we don’t have kids. Take comfort in the blessings we do have. Feel free to share here.
6 thoughts on “Being childless has its blessings”
1. Don't have to use 'sick day' pay for when you child is sick.2. Don't have to find a sitter on a snowday or other unplanned days.3. Not having to worry about your teenager throwing a party when you're not home.4. Not worrying when your teenager starts learning how to drive and takes the car for the first time by themself.5. Watching a child experience a heartbreaking situation.
We'll keep my gratitude to three reasons.
1) Can travel the world as a serial expat
2) Can spend hours daily on my writing
3) Can stay out or up as late as I want
I can't imagine the sorrow people experience over not having children. I wish adoption were an easier process. I wish fertility treatments weren't so time-consuming and expensive.
On the other hand people my age (turning 38 later this month) are increasingly saying no to having kids. Some use the reason of not wanting to bring a person into this awful world. Some simply don't take to kids (my biggest reason). Some simply enjoy their freedom (My second biggest reason). Others fear passing down what their own parents did to them, as if they might not be able to break the cycle. Yet others believe strongly in the eco-friendly solution of zero population growth (of which I'm a fan).
Something I've heard on multiple occasions was about marriages breaking up because the duo didn't see eye to eye on bearing children. This is where my bad trait of opinionatedness rears its ugly head. Shouldn't you determine before a relationship even grows serious where your partner stands on the issue of rearing children? You['re married only THEN to discover your partner doesn't want kids whilst you do?
Evidently I'm a little too pragmatic in my relationships in seeing that there are certain parameters that need to be established before jumping off the precipice and into the depths of love. Know before you buy, eh?
Am I naive in thinking/doing this or is it simply a part of my generation?
The first time I heard of someone not wanting children was in undergrad. A colleague said she and her husband had never wanted them. That threw a monkey wrench in my then conventional thinking. As I matured and entered my mid-20s, in a serious relationship that never resulted in marriage, I decided to ask myself “Why? Why would you want to have children?” I gave myself plenty of time, attached no deadline to deciding my response. All I could think of was that I didn't. Unfortunately, just as people don't think about what career will make them happy or even if marriage is the right choice for them, they also take for granted the convention of college-job-marriage-kids. It's sad how many then reach middle age only to realize they've never been happy they've always just followed the convention.
I do wish everyone happiness, though. Whether you choose kids or none, marriage or none, convention or none, choose to follow your heart.
Cheers y saludos,
Nichole L. Reber
doubleme, and Nichole,
Thank you for your comments. These are great. I hope others post more.
Nichole, I totally agree that couples should have the baby conversation long before they make a lifetime commitment. That could prevent a lot of heartache. Because parenthood is a choice these days, we need to think about it and talk about it.
All the best,
1. When I am ready to leave a party I can just gather my coat, my bag and hop in my car. Those with children must wrangle, children, bottles, diaper bags, security blankets.
2. Grocery shopping is easy and stress-free. I don't have to deal with children who have the “gimmies”.
3. Buffets are soooooo much easier when you don't have to fix plates for your children.
4. I eat what I want when I want – without guilt of setting a good example to a child.
5. Deciding at the last minute to take a weekend get-away is easy.
6. Every night I know I can count on my couch, my books and my quiet.
Thank you so much for this wonderful blog. I am going all in for my final “having children together” discussion with my husband who is quite content raising his 9 year old son part-time and enjoying life child-free the rest of the time. I have decided to make this the last time I discuss this with him, so whatever the outcome, I am preparing myself for the possibility that I may never experience motherhood with my own child. Your blog reminds me that I'm not alone. Thank you. 🙂
Good for you, Anonymous. I hope the discussion goes well, and you both find peace with this issue.