“The Child Free Life: Not Having Kids Means Having It All”

“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?

5 comments

  1. Lisa August 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I certainly don’t judge. I have found that with the people I know who are child free by choice, they tend to be very open about it, almost proud. Which is great. It’s certainly not the path I would have chosen, but I don’t see it as selfish at all. Not everyone is meant for parenthood. I wanted a lot of kids. I was pregnant the month after my wedding. I had three kids in less than 3 1/2 years. I felt a lot of judgement from people for that. Why so many? Why so soon after the wedding? It went on and on. My youngest is turning 3 this month and now we’re talking about a 4th…and the fact that anyone has a strong opinion on my decisions regarding my family is the most bizarre thing to me. Friends, coworkers, family… Bottom line is I think there is a lot of judgement, period, regarding parenthood. Whether or not you have kids at all, how many, how quickly, work vs. stay at home, breast vs. bottle, hell the type of diaper you use now is often up for debate. I just think we all need to be more accepting of EVERYONE regardless of IF or HOW they parent.

    And can I add how ridiculous the last survey question is?!?! Tax breaks and family leave time for non-parents? And 2/3 of respondents agreed? I’d love to know the demographics of those polled. That is the only thing I took issue with. Absolutely, 100% disagree!

    • Sara August 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Lisa, well put. I think we all have to decide what our own definition of what happiness looks like and support others with their own quests.
      That question on the survey made me chuckle a little, too :)

  2. chels August 12, 2013 at 4:25 am

    Hi lisa,
    Just read your comment and I have to say that even though my mind is not made up about having children, I can’t really say that I find that last question all that ridiculous…I just know that childless people pay a lot of taxes that have to do with children (schools being 1 of them) and as somebody who works full time, it would be nice to receive time off to have/spend with family…stranger things happen! Just putting that out there, I guess you just have to put yourself in a someone’s shoes (who is unable to or does not wish to reproduce)…no disrespect…just food for thought :) xx

    • terri August 22, 2013 at 3:54 am

      Let’s not forget the time off is to recover from BIRTH! A traumatic experience that requires one to heal. If an employee was entitled to have paid medical leave for a liver transplant should we all expect time off because our liver is just fine. People with kids don’t get extra time off just because they have kids. It is medically necessary after birth. And let’s have some empathy as members of one society. Give a mom some time to bond with a newborn so we have kids growing up in America who are happy and well adjusted. We all benefit from well raised and happy kids.

  3. chels August 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    On the other hand…childless people having extended amounts of time off does seem a bit crazy…lol sometimes I just can’t help but dream about how nice it would be to have a year off from my regular job and 1/2 of my normal wages from ei, and even though it wouldn’t be for raising a child it would be awesome if it was even for volunteer work or something….just a break

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