People Assume Crazy Things About Childlessness

Is your home perfectly clean because you don’t have children? Do you dare to buy white sofas? Is your schedule wide open? Do you have lots of money to spend?

Somehow parent-type people seem to think those of us without children luxuriate in quiet, neatness, freedom and money. Ha. Not me. How about you?

I just spent a few minutes standing in front of the pellet stove looking around my living room. What a mess. Dog blankets. Laundry waiting to be carried to the laundry room. Grocery bags I didn’t put away last week. Books and sheet music everywhere. The carpet is stained, the old green furniture is coated with dog fur, and this pellet stove I depend on for heat needs cleaning and servicing. Ashes fall out when I open the door.

I do display pieces of my antique glass collection where a child might be able to reach it, but there are many things I don’t dare leave lying around because my dog will eat them: Eyeglasses, pencils, paper, food, paper clips, or anything small and plastic.

Lots of spare time? Nope. Why do you think my house is such a mess? Work takes priority over cleaning.

I’m rich, so I can afford a maid, right? Well, way back in San Jose when my husband was alive and working, we paid someone to clean, but we weren’t childless then. His son lived with us full-time. So what am I saying? I’m trying to say that people assume things about childless folks, most of which are not true.

Have you heard that people who decide not to have children are selfish, career driven, strange, or immature? That they’re no good with kids, so you wouldn’t dare let them babysit? That they don’t want to be around children? Otherwise they’d have them or they’d adopt some kids.

That if there’s a fertility problem, it’s always the woman whose parts don’t work.

Here’s a good one: If you really wanted children, you would have tried harder and made it happen, so you must not have wanted them that bad.

For more ideas about the annoying things people assume, check out these articles. You might find a few things you identify with.

Melanie Notkin: 4 Unfair Assumptions About Childless Women

Ruth Sunderland: Childless is Not a Synonym for Weird

What about you? What do people assume about you that makes you nuts? Please share in the comments.

9 thoughts on “People Assume Crazy Things About Childlessness

  1. Sue,

    I’ve heard all these things. And then some. Let’s see, I waited until I was 42 before I married. I was accused of being gay. Never mind the fact that I was a rounder. Didn’t want women with kids, although I married. For that, I wasn’t a “real man.” Yeah right. The moon shots were fake and ‘rasslin is real. But stepchildren to me aren’t the same as bio kids. Sue, I empathize with you about these assumptions. They are wrong.


  2. This is such a sore subject. My stepdaughter assumes I don’t want kids and don’t like kids. So painful. I refuse to attempt to control what other people think, so I go on with my life, but the occasional jabs she sends my way further the gap between us.

    I’m not sure what others think. Those closest to me know that I long for kids of my own, and are quite generous with their love in that area.


  3. I always hated that people assume you have tons of money, especially since both my husband and I are working professionals. Given that we didn’t have children I could afford to take a lower paying job that I enjoyed. But with a mortgage, car payments, student loan payments, etc you really have to make TONS these days to have a large disposable income. Also when we had difficulty getting pregnant we got a corgi. Nothing was the same in our house ever again!


  4. A colleague’s favourite expression is “you must not have kids!” in response to any lifestyles that might differ from her own family’s. It makes me feel guilty that I can go shopping late to avoid crowds and have time to engage in hobbies. Why do I feel that I need to defend my lifestyle?


  5. Yep… heard them all and gagged on them all…….

    The comment that I would always hear the most though is “Be glad you don’t have kids, because…. blah blah blah”
    Sure… whatever….. 😦


  6. So, today I’m helping a friend set up for an event that she volunteers for. I was assigned to a task with another lady. So there we were, working well together, enjoying our small talk when you guessed it, that question we all hate. “So… =Do you have children?” I’m so tired of this question and so tired of making excuses to people, so I responded my new usual way and just said “No” and let her feel uncomfortable in the silence. Then she (as all women with children) says the most stupid and insensitive thing…. “Ohhhhhhh. Be glad! I have two in college and it’s so expensive.” Like I would be glad to give up children to save a buck when they are college age!!!! Ugh!!!!!!! I can’t stand these women. Fortunately my friend walked up,and asked me to help her with something else. I was glad to! It never gets easy.


  7. Yeah, I get the assumption that I didn’t want children, or that I’m the one with the fertility problem. (Nope. DH had a low sperm count with low motility.)

    And then DH had the damned nerve to tell me that I should have insisted on the fertility treatment that he refused and – even worse – told me that if I’d wanted children, I should have made sure that I carried them! (I had two very early miscarriages – possibly because of the wonky sperm, possibly because of my age. I was checked out, and everything was in order, but I was in my forties by then.)

    Yes, I also get the assumption that I have plenty of leisure time and am rich. In actual fact, I’ve spent the past few years caring for my parents (now both gone, I’m afraid) and now my husband – whilst working.

    I’ve turned into a cantankerous old so-and-so, I’m afraid.


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