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Free to be Child-Free April 17, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, People.

People who choose to remain child-free often are asked to justify that decision ~ to friends, family, and even perfect strangers.

“You don’t want kids!!!!  What’s wrong with you?”

Nothing is wrong with me.  What’s wrong with you?  Why have you so blithely bought into the notion that, in a world as varied and wonderful as this one,  everyone should have the requisite 2.5 kids?

Frankly, it should be the other way around.

In a world that is already bulging at its seams, adults who choose not to crank out children should be congratulated, not pressured into having offspring just because having kids is a culturally sanctioned activity.

Raising children requires time, energy, money, an even temperament, and common sense ~ sadly, many parents are lacking in one, or all, of these areas.

When my husband and I debated the pros and cons of becoming parents, we decided to remain child-free.

We love children, in small doses, but did not want the daily responsibility of caring for various and sundry rug-rats from birth to age 18, and beyond.

We viewed our personal preference in the matter as the end of the matter.

Others disagreed.

Our parents put pressure on us to have children so they could become grandparents.  I referred them to the Foster Grandparents program.

Our friends tried to convince us that we were making a huge, colossal mistake, arguing that “one day” we would be sorry ~ something like the V-8 commercial, where the actor smacks himself in the forehead, “Man! I should have had a kid!”

Of course, fear of future regret is not a positive reason for having a child.

But my favorite . . . perfect strangers who told us that we were being selfish.

Selfish?  To whom?

It is not selfish to do what you want to do, it is selfish of others to expect you to do what they want you to do.

To be, or not to be, parents is a personal decision, like many other decisions we face in life, which need not be held open for a vote.

Related Posts:  Stop Playing “Follow The Leader” * Life Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Decisions, Decisions * Generosity of Spirit * Simplify Your Life * But I Might Die Tonight  * Way of the Peaceful Warrior * Live Your Life * Societal Responsibility in a World Teeming with Children (You Monsters Are People)


1. Richard W Scott - April 17, 2010

Child free? No, children aren’t free. ))

2. nrhatch - April 17, 2010

True dat! : )

3. Joanne - April 17, 2010

I have five. I would not have thought about sending them back… Second thought… I take that back… I had my days, back in the day when I was still raising teens. I’m now raising the last one, who has just entered the Wonder Years stage… 13 last month.

This is the change-of-life baby by which Providence took advantage of my ignorant bliss and gave me another opportunity to practice what I botched up with the first four, who incidentally, have managed to overcome the effects of my ignorance and decided to help raise ME instead…LOL!

Anyway, although knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t send them back, my next life will be better planned as far as WHEN and HOW MANY… If I don’t come back as a stray cat or a bunny rabbit, that is…!

nrhatch - April 17, 2010

I love kids . . . one of the reasons why I’m no intent on “saving the planet” one tree at a time.

I’d like to leave the world to our children in better shape than when we inherited it from our parents.

That said, having children is NOT for everyone.

People really do need to exercise independent judgment on this major lifestyle issue ~ and not be “bullied” into having kids just because their parents, siblings, or friends think it might be a good idea.

4. Chad - April 17, 2010

Nancy, not even I can argue with this one. Imagine that! Your childlessness (or freedom from children, to put it more positively) is your business. Easy for me to say, since I neither have nor want children myself.

nrhatch - April 17, 2010

I expect that you and agree on many issues.

I’ll go a step further and say that I look forward to exploring those issues with you and others.


Chad - April 17, 2010

Hey, sometimes I can argue even when I agree. I’m just that good.

5. Andra Watkins - December 6, 2011

Nancy, thanks for referring me to this post. Of course, I’ve had all of these things hurled at me over the years. Some of the writing I’ve done on this issue has given people in my more immediate circle pause before hurtling unfair judgments at others. I wish there were more available, because this is an issue that sorely needs addressing on a grander scale.

nrhatch - December 6, 2011

There is a wonderful book that I read years ago ~ Childfree. It substantiated that we were not alone in (a) our decision NOT to have children, and (b) in facing societal pressure to re-think that decision.

We have never regretted our decision to remain a family of two adults, no kids, and a cat. 😉

6. bluebee - March 30, 2012

Well said, Nancy. I also love children (most assume that if you don’t want them, you don’t) but I made a choice to marry a man 21 years ago who very early in our relationship told me that he didn’t want children, and so I was under no illusions or misconceptions of what life would be if I married him – I made that choice and don’t regret it. Interesting thing is that our families never pressured us and neither did our friends, many of whom remain childfree, through choice or otherwise.

nrhatch - March 30, 2012

Maybe folks “down under” are less bossy than the people we know ~ everyone from attorneys I worked with to a bowling instructor wanted to “second guess” our decision.

Fortunately, we’d already considered it from every angle. We love kids. Just didn’t want to raise any of our own.

7. bluebee - April 2, 2012
nrhatch - April 2, 2012

Excellent article, BB. Loved it! Thanks for the link.

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