My Choice to be Childfree—Part One

by Stripes Joplin 2 years ago in list

70 Short Reasons Not Having Kids Is Great (For Me)

My Choice to be Childfree—Part One

People who don’t want kids are constantly assaulted with questions whose answers are none of anyone’s business, and then dismissed when we provide the answers we really don’t owe anyone. Our choices are a comment on our lives and our lives alone, yet so many people take offense to it as though it affects them. What we say about parenthood and about kids doesn’t apply to anyone else, their lives, or their kids. Yet too many people internalize and take our choice and any instance in which we’re outspoken about it as an attack on their choices and their children. Don’t get me wrong: I know being a mom is hard. That’s not what this is about. It’s about the fact that women who are childfree are constantly invalidated and dismissed by society, other women, and sexist men. As much as some people might feel attacked by a list of reasons not to have kids, this isn’t meant to be antagonistic. It’s meant to be validating for people like me who have never wanted kids and have encountered antagonistic behavior at every turn as a result. So, if you’re like me and have made the choice to be childfree, here are 70 of reasons not having kids is great:

  1. Kids are expensive. On average, it costs a quarter of a million dollars to raise one healthy child who doesn’t have behavioral, developmental, physical, mental, or criminal problems. That only accounts for money spent on average up to age 18.
  2. Kids are mean. You really have no idea who this child is, yet you’re welcoming them into your home? As a baby, fine, whatever. But who will they become as they grow up? Most parents do their best but sometimes it isn’t enough.
  3. You’re never going to get murdered by my kids.
  4. You’re never going to be the subject of revenge-related kidnappings because your child got involved with shady people.
  5. You’re never going to have to endure your child being abducted or going missing or running away. It’s almost too much to bear, seeing other parents lose their babies. I mourn for the people who know how this feels but at the same time a part of me is relieved I’ll never truly know what it feels like.
  6. You’re never going to have to pretend to like the parents of your kids’ friends.
  7. You’re never going to have to deal with other parents doing any of the annoying things parents to do/with other parents.
  8. Babies stop being cute (in my opinion, they’re almost never cute). Dogs and cats never stop being cute.
  9. You don’t have to pay for braces, teach them how to drive, worry about them driving, buy them a car, or pay for college.
  10. You don’t have to worry about who they’re friends with.
  11. You don’t have to worry about them getting bullied or being a bully.
  12. You don’t have to give up 18+ years of your life and then babysit or raise your grandkids when you finally have some time to yourself again.
  13. You can travel anywhere, any time you want without children being a pretty big obstacle to tackle. Regardless of whether or not you bring them when you have kids, arrangements have to be made.
  14. You’re not bound to any one location by a school year.
  15. I’m 29 and my body looks the same now as it did when I was 20.
  16. You can sleep pretty much any time you want, for as long as you want.
  17. You don’t have to pay for daycare. Daycare is fucking expensive.
  18. You don’t have any unexpected expenses related to your kid being stupid or being an asshole or being both.
  19. You don’t have to explain to your kid that some people are bad and will try to hurt them and that they need to be careful and not talk to strangers.
  20. You don’t have to watch how much you swear around dogs and cats.
  21. Dogs and cats are never going to scream in your face about how much they hate you.
  22. You don’t have to go to school functions and pretend to be having a good time because that’s what a good parent does.
  23. You don’t have to worry about hating the person they marry.
  24. You don’t have to worry about them getting addicted to drugs.
  25. You don’t have to worry about them going to prison.
  26. You don’t have to worry about them being sexually assaulted.
  27. You don’t have to worry about them sexually assaulting someone.
  28. You’re never going to be shamed by other people who are probably shitty parents for things that don’t actually matter.
  29. Your body is going to look roughly the same the rest of your life.
  30. Holidays that are about you until you have kids (like your birthday) are always going to be about you.
  31. No one is ever going to get “you” gifts that are actually for your kid.
  32. You don’t have to watch and pretend to be enthusiastic about kid shows.
  33. You’re never going to have a baby pee in your face at 3AM when you have to be up for work in an hour.
  34. You’re never going to get baby shit all over the inside of your car because of something called a “blowout.”
  35. You don’t have to teach them how to ride a bike and then fight with them to clean their scrapes when they crash that bike.
  36. You don’t have to take them on vacations at all if you don’t want to, because they don’t exist.
  37. You don’t have to buy them new clothes—you can spend that money on clothes for yourself.
  38. You don’t have to pay for the braces they’re going to hate and get teased about.
  39. You don’t have to cook three different things because your kids have different food allergies/sensitivities/are picky assholes.
  40. You don’t have to worry about some anti-vaxxer asshole’s kid getting your very young child sick before they’re old enough to get vaccinated.
  41. You don’t have to argue with a miniature version of yourself about why they have to do or aren’t allowed to do [name a thing].
  42. You have no chance of passing a mental illness—diagnosed or otherwise—onto your kids, because you’re not having any.
  43. Feel like running away and living on a beach for six months? You can do that without worrying about what you’re going to do about your kids or just straight up abandoning them.
  44. Have a dog or a cat that doesn’t get along with kids? Good news: You’re never going to have to put that dog through the trauma of rehoming because you’re not having kids.
  45. Dogs are better than kids.
  46. Cats are better than kids.
  47. Silence is better than kids.
  48. Sleep is better than kids.
  49. Money is better than kids.
  50. Having all the time in the world to focus on the things that you’re passionate about is better than kids.
  51. You don’t have to raise an ungrateful miniature human that you didn’t realize you don’t want until after you had it and the novelty wore off.
  52. You’re never going to have to go see The Wiggles in concert or Sesame Street Live or any of that nonsense.
  53. You’re never going to have to share your Disney trip with a kid who is either too small or too scared to go on any of the fun rides.
  54. Halloween is yours to do with what you wish, forever.
  55. Your electronics aren’t going to get ruined by some little asshole who’s too young to know what he’s just done but is, in fact, still an asshole.
  56. You’re not going to wake up one day to find that your kids are grown up and you don’t know what you’ve done with the last twenty years because you’ve just been raising your kids and nothing else.
  57. Teenage years nightmares? Not for you.
  58. Kids getting expelled from school? Nope.
  59. Kids contacting people they don’t know online and giving out their information or meeting up with them and disappearing? Not in your house.
  60. Remember seeing kids on TV who stole money from their parents’ wallets? That’s not gonna happen to you.
  61. You’re never going to have to take a screaming child on an airplane and sit there mortified while everyone acts like a total dick about it.
  62. You’re never going to have to drag your screaming child out of any store.
  63. You’re never going to have to comfort your crying child because they’ve come home after being teased at school.
  64. You’re never going to have to explain to your child that some people are sexist/racist/homophobic/xenophobic etc. and see a little bit of their innocence slip away.
  65. You’re never going to have someone stop you and try to hold your baby or touch your pregnant stomach and continue to insist after you’ve told them you don’t want them to.
  66. You’re never going to have to carry around the guilt that you’re fucking up your kids’ lives.
  67. You’re never going to have to tolerate an ex you hate because you have kids together.
  68. You don’t have to repeat all the painful parts of growing up through the eyes of your child. Which is almost worse than going through it, if you ask me.
  69. You don’t have to constantly buy clothes they’re going to grow out of five minutes after you get home from the store.
  70. Your choice is yours and as long as you’re happy and feel like you’re doing right by you, no one can tell you what to do or invalidate your feelings.

I can already feel all the angry comments coming from all the angry parents. These are the parents who, for whatever reason, feel the need to defend themselves against attacks no one is making. They take a woman’s decision not to have kids as a challenge or as a statement that her choice to have them was wrong and immediately lash out. These are the people who didn’t realize they don’t want kids until after they had them and the novelty wore off. Sometimes these people think that if they have another baby, being a parent will click for them and they’ll get the hang of it. So they have two to four more and get angrier and angrier each time they realize being a parent isn’t fulfilling for them.

Parents who had kids and despite its trials and tribulations really enjoy being parents never react angrily to things like this. The list above doesn’t sound to them like it does to me. The things that sound awful to me sound like heartwarming milestones to them, and they don’t take my lack of shared enthusiasm as an attack. None of my mom friends are ever offended by my very frank comments on the idea of me as a mother, because they know I’m talking about me. Not them, not their kids, not their lives. We coexist in perfect harmony because just as I don’t take their love of being mothers as an attack of my choice to be childfree, they don’t take my aversion to parenthood as an attack on their children.

It’s very interesting what people will project on you when they haven’t dealt with or can’t deal with the issues in their lives that are causing distress. I address the kinds of things these people say to childfree people and what you can say in response in part two of this piece. Just remember: Whatever you decide, the only person whose approval you need to worry about is your own.

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Stripes Joplin
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