As a woman in my late 20s I have noticed a trend among my friends; all of them seem to be getting married, having children or both. To them I send my deepest, heartfelt congratulations.
I also remind them, when it inevitably comes up, that I do not plan on having my own children.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore kids. These little people are just beginning their journey into the world and I can’t help but be completely besotted with the constant wonder and fascination they express. I have many small children in my life and I love every last one of them.
when someone puts a baby in my hands then asks me when I plan on having my own, I get uncomfortable.
I cannot remember a time when I actively wanted my own children. There are times when I was less adverse to the idea, definitely, but as a whole, child rearing has never been a part of my life plan. I have a lot of ambitions in my life as does my husband. In all honestly, some of those ambitions are fairly selfish. We both want to be successful at our chosen careers (his: music, mine:writing) and after talking about our wants at length decided that children were most likely not on our radar. This was and is not a fly-by-night decision – It is a deeply personal decision that was made by two adults planning their futures.
So when you tell me I will change my mind, I find it very insulting.
Honestly, it is one of the worst things you can say to a person who isn’t planning on having children. There are a multitude of reasons why someone may not see kids in their future and really, it is no one’s business.
Don’t tell me I would be a fantastic parent – Yes, I am good with children. As I said before, I love kids. I spent my entire youth babysitting for family friends as well as my three younger cousins. I changed diapers, helped potty train, dealt with runny noses and was kept up during the night with sore tummies. I struggled through homework, I got them off to school in the morning. I cooked, cleaned and tucked them in. I did this part time and that was more than enough for me. I truly believe that yes, if placed in the situation, I would be a brilliant parent. The fact is, though, I don’t want to be a parent.
Don’t tell me I am missing out. First off, I don’t feel that I am. I don’t have to find a sitter if I want to go out for a drink on Friday night. I don’t have to worry about extra mouths to feed. I don’t have to worry about being woken at 3 a.m. over monsters under the bed. I can buy pretty ornaments and leave them out without worrying about them being broken by curious hands. I don’t have to baby-proof my house. Leaving the house isn’t a logistical nightmare of toys, nappies and bottles. I don’t feel I am missing out because these are not my priorities. If they are yours, that’s wonderful. I will help you pack the diaper bag, but it does not have a place in my day-to-day life.
Don’t tell me I will change my mind. I know my mind and I know my own goals in life. I honestly don’t see myself suddenly wanting to have kids after 29 years of not, but if I do change my mind, it is the business of myself and my husband, no one else.
don’t tell me I don’t understand. I know I don’t understand. I am fine with that. The fact is that I don’t want to understand.
Every child needs a slightly eccentric, cool aunt and I am more than happy to fit that bill. I look forward to the day that my brother has kids with his partner (if they so choose). I will love that child to bits. I adore spending time with my friends’ children and playing make-believe. I spin stories out of thin air that leave them in giggles. I write them tales where they get to be the main characters. I will be friend, confidante and family, whether biological or not. I will go home to my cats and visit again soon.
Let me be this person. I don’t tell you why you shouldn’t have kids, so please don’t tell me why I should.