“The Child Free Life: Not Having Kids Means Having It All”
A Week Without My Child
I am child-free this week. That’s right! An ENTIRE week to come and go as I please; no worries of crying spells, sticky floors and yelling at him to stop chasing the cat. As my son ventured off with his biological father for a week long vacation at the beach, I’m experiencing the most time I’ve had home alone since before I was pregnant with my son. It’s been absolutely wonderful to have random spa day on a Wednesday afternoon and get caught up on cleaning house. I haven’t had to sweep crumbs up from under his chair or carry truck loads of toys up and down stairs. I’ve gotten to sit down and enjoy an adult meal with my fiance. In fact, we’ve spent an evening drinking wine and watching movies together on the couch and it was amazing.
Time Magazine: “Not Having Kids Means Having It All”
Time’s magazine cover certainly caught my eye this afternoon as a young couple lay happily on a beach, captioned with the title, “Not Having Kids Means Having It All.” For me, the timing is ironic with my childless venture. The recent issue features articles that debate whether not having children is selfish, discuss the decision to not have children, and question if children bring happiness or misery for parents.
The birthrate in the U.S. is the lowest in recorded American history. From 2007 to 2011, the most recent year for which there’s data, the fertility rate declined 9%. A 2010 Pew Research report showed that childlessness has risen across all racial and ethnic groups, adding up to about 1 in 5 American women who end their childbearing years maternity-free, compared with 1 in 10 in the 1970s.
There’s also a poll asking Americans five questions and had the following results:
Do you think people are “selfish” for choosing to not have children?
- yes, 8.24 percent
- no, 91.76 percent
Are women without kids being left out of the conversation about careers and work-life balance?
- yes, 56.53 percent
- no, 43.47 percent
Does having kids bring you
- happiness, 25.71 percent
- unhappiness, 37.25 percent
- less happiness in the short term but more fulfillment in the long term, 37.04 percent
Is the declining birth rate
- good for American society, 33.36 percent
- bad for American society, 12.12 percent
- neither, we’ll adjust, 55 percent
Should people without kids be given tax breaks and workplace leave to make up for benefits given to parents?
- yes, 66.56 percent
- no, 33.44 percent
“Having It All”
While we’ve had the extra time to ourselves, we find ourselves often saying, “it’s a little too quiet.” In fact, I’ve been on quite the emotional roller coaster. While I’m enjoying this short lived freedom, I’m patiently pacing for him to return. There are so many sweet little moments wrapped up in our days that I’m longing for. Yes, it’s been relaxing, but I couldn’t imagine my life without my little guy. I would never trade:
- coffee on the couch watching cartoons for morning Starbucks
- a floor full of Legos for a spotless living room
- our bath time routine for spa pedicures
- bedtime stories for movies on the couch
- glasses of wine for goodnight kisses
I could never have it all without having my child (AND hope to be blessed enough to have more).
What’s your opinion on having / not having children? Do you judge other couples for not wanting children?