A Mother's Defense of Choosing to be Child-Free
The day begins at four am, another day before the sunrise - another opportunity to see the sunrise, I tell myself. The truth is, the sun will rise while I am changing a diaper as it almost always does. I chose this life, and I wouldn't change it. Sometimes though, before my coffee and when my little guy won't stop clinging, I fully understand people who choose child free lifestyles.
Motherhood is beautiful in its' moments of peace; the unexpected hugs, when you hear a new word, when you hear "I love you." These moments of emotional calm bring the emotional storm to a halt for just a second, and rejuvenate us to face the next misadventure.
If motherhood was a job advertised in truth, our species would die out. "Incredibly painful entrance exam that may induce severe bleeding. Expected hours 24/7/365 with no PTO, sick leave or unpaid vacation. You pay your manager for roughly 25 years. You will be hated for 5 - 8 years, including, but not limited to, sass, disrespect, disregard for basic courtesy, possible substance use and other concerning behaviours. During this period however, management will need extra love and understanding, and giving them a reasonable amount of space will encourage them to open up. Performance reviews will be constant and results will be immediate, in front of peers and harsh. If you have read this far and are still interested, you will receive an inordinate amount of love in return for your many sacrifices. Except for those 8 years."
We have to start normalizing child free lifestyles. I saw my friends go through the early mornings, the getting puked on, the awful diapers, and every other lovely thing that comes with babies in public and I still wasn't prepared - but I did want to be a mother. If a woman, or couple, decides that they like being able to leave a house in under five minutes, respect it. It's none of our business just like it's none of theirs as to why I chose to have a child.
I can't stress this enough - do not ask when someone is having kids. Even if they just get annoyed because they don't want them, it's a triggering question. You don't know if that couple has been trying for years, if they've suffered miscarriages, infant loss, or if they can't have children at all.
I don't care why women don't have kids - unless they need an ear and a safe space, in which case I'm fully here and willing to be that for you, but otherwise it's not my business. You want to fully enjoy every bit of your ability to travel with your partner or solo? Go for it. You want to be what society considers selfish? It's not selfish, it's putting you first. I chose not to do that. That doesn't make me selfless, just like you're not selfish to live a life focused on career, having fun, doing whatever the hell you want. You just don't want kids. Valid. Let me make this oh so clear - you don't need a reason. Nobody asked me my reason when I said I wanted kids - it should be no different for you. We're equal, you and I... we're both amazing women. We just walk different paths and that is part of what makes us awesome. We bring something different to the narrative of womanhood.
I will never be someone who stresses how amazing being a Mom is. It's amazing for me. It's my journey. It's what is right for me. I don't know what's right for you. Who am I to tell you "you'll change your mind?" You are on your own incredible journey and where it leads you is where you're meant to be. And honestly, it's hard. That is the one thing I will say about being a Mom - if you're on the fence, don't do it.
And please don't get me wrong, I love my son. So much it's crazy. Ryan Reynolds said it best when he talked about falling in love with Blake Lively and being so sure he would take a bullet for her... until their daughter was born. At which point he had no doubt in his mind that he would use Blake as a human shield to protect their daughter.
My son is my world. But that's my world - your world might be animal rescue and honestly, if you're the next Betty White, I would be honoured to meet you.
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