People in your life look at you and wonder why you aren’t tangled up in the all-American pursuit of that picket fence family.
I look at you, and I just don’t freaking care.
I understand the pressure. You have family members asking when you’re going to get married and have babies. You have friends who are getting married and having babies. You’re getting to an age where you are expected to get married and have babies. It is the American dream, and when you meet someone who has gotten married and had babies, there’s this urge to defend yourself and your choices.
Look, I don’t care that you don’t want kids. And honestly? I’m sure you don’t care that I do.
I Don’t Care That You Don’t Want Kids
Imaginary relative sidles up to Single You. “Met anyone nice yet?”
You stuff an entire turkey in their mouth because I assume you’re at an imaginary family holiday and a roasted fowl is conveniently on hand.
Pretend blonde lady smiles slyly at Married You. “Soooo, are you thinking about kids yet?”
You drop-kick the lady, probably petite and with three messy, raucous hellions of her own, through a window and sigh in relief as her hellions are taken away to join her at the emergency room.
Don’t defend yourself, not unless someone comes at you with a smug, “You’ll change your mind.” Then feel free to stab them to death because that’s just . . . that’s obnoxious.
You shouldn’t have to defend your life choices, but (more importantly) I’d rather talk about something that doesn’t make it sound like you hate my children and think they should die in a fire while also saying how you like kids, they’re just not for you, and also you think they’re all brats except for your niece who is okay.
I don’t get mad about it, but it’s not exactly tactful. Or polite. Or interesting.
I waited eight years to have kids. I got married young, didn’t have much experience with kids, and I wasn’t ready for my own. I resented any attempt to get me into the sphere of children, because I assumed it was a ploy to make me want babies as if that’s what I should be doing instead of living a perfectly pleasant kidless life.
I’m not sure I could have explained why I wasn’t ready, but it boils down to this: I wasn’t ready to change my priorities.
And that’s fine. That’s a valid reason to not have kids, because of all the things you need when you have kids, being able and willing to put them first is the most important. I needed to be emotionally ready to shove everything else in my life aside for a few years and focus solely on keeping a small helpless creature alive. At all hours. Every day. All day. For years.
If you don’t want to do that yet (or at all), fine. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. And if anyone puts pressure on you, as if they think your having children when you don’t want them is a great idea, tell them to go to hell.
(Maybe phrase it a little nicer if it’s your mom.)
There are benefits to having children, primarily emotional ones. Most parents will agree that they balance out the negatives, and some parents get carried away with wanting everyone to share an experience they think is amazing.
Feel free to tell those people in no uncertain terms that they should butt out of your life.
But please leave off the explanations when you’re just hanging out and no one is on your case. I don’t care that you don’t want kids, and the reason I don’t care is because it’s not the end of the world. “I’m never having kids” carries a lot of unspoken deliberations in it. You don’t have to detail them all. If I mention something nice about having kids, you don’t have to counter it with the story of a horrible kid you once saw. It’s not that kind of conversation, I promise you. I am not secretly trying to convert you. I’m just giving you a glimpse into what my life is like. Feel free to shift the conversation to work or your pet or all those things you get to do in the spare time I no longer have.
And if I talk too much about my kids, it’s because I have nothing else in my life right then. It’s not because I want you to join the sleepless cult of parenthood. It’s because, at least for a few years, they are everything I do, all the time, and I have literally nothing else to talk about.
So be a dear and be patient with me when I drone on about my children, and I’ll tell the judge that smug lady had it coming when you’re on trial for her murder.