Choosing to be Childfree
Childfreedom is choosing not to create or raise any children. It’s about wanting to devote our lives to other objectives. For some that is their careers, for others their hobbies. Most childfree people recognize that parenting is a stressful, time-consuming and often thankless job, and we’d rather do something else with our lives.
Making the choice to be childfree is not something that is chosen lightly. In many cases childfree people have thought longer and harder about why NOT to have kids than their counterparts have thought about why TO have kids.
To anyone considering the childfree life: don’t have children if you don’t want them. I don’t care if everyone you know tells you that you’ll grow up and change your mind, that everyone wants kids, that all women have a maternal instinct, or that you’ll never get a husband or wife if you don’t want kids. Don’t fall for that! Trust your own instinct and be true to yourself. If you don’t want those kids, it’s better to not have them.
Making this choice is not an easy road to travel. It means having the courage to be different from most everyone else you know. You’ll have to write your own life script, since the traditional one doesn’t apply to you. You have to be strong, as you may face a lot of social stigma. Your family and friends might try to convince you to have kids — and if that doesn’t work, they might try to belittle you into it. You may have a hard time making new friends because most everyone else is having kids and that’s all they talk about anymore. You might also have a hard time finding a spouse (if you even want one) because every year the dating pool will shrink as more people in your age group will have kids.
But it’s certainly not all bad. You’ll have a lot more time to spend with your friends and loved ones. You will be able to nurture your romantic relationships more as well. You’ll have more time for your education and career. You’ll also have more time for hobbies, travel and learning. Trust me, it’s going to be a lot of fun!
Most importantly, you’ll have more time to spend on yourself, and finding out who you really are and what you really want out of life; what you believe in and what you don’t. When people ask you who you are and what you do, you will have to come up with a better answer than the old standby of, “Well, I’m a mommy.” But that’s what makes us more thoughtful and creative. We’ve taken the time to find out who we really are, rather than just fall into the stereotypical roles.
If you haven’t decided yet if you want kids, or if you are in a “fencesitter relationship” (one of you wants kids and one doesn’t), check out the Fencesitterspage.
If you choose to search out other childfree people on the net or in real life, you’ll find that outside of not wanting children, we’re all very different. Some people are childfree, some are fencesitters, and some are childless. Some love children but just don’t want their own, some don’t care to be around children and some hate them. Some are rich, some are comfortable and some are barely making ends meet. Some had bad childhoods, some had ideal childhoods. Childfree people are a very different and diverse group who have one thing in common: the desire to never have children.
I won’t apologize for people who hate children. There is a big difference between people who hate something and people who harm them. Most likely they hate being AROUND children more than they hate the children themselves, but I won’t speak for them. But if you stop to think about it, most people who harm children are parents themselves, not childfree people.
I myself strongly dislike most children. I don’t hate them, but I generally don’t like them or enjoy being around them. Most of that has to do with the behavior of children today, not with the mere fact that they are children.
Some people find the words childfree people use to be offensive. I can appreciate that, but I think if people need to use it to blow off some steam in childfree groups, let them. What’s it really hurting, anyway? I have yet to see a childfree person actually walk up to someone with kids and start calling them these names in public. Sticks and stones, people, especially when it’s behind your back and not to your face. If the only way some people can vent their anger is through using a few mildly offensive words on a childfree message board, just let it go. Words and actions are completely different things.
I liken it to going home and ranting to your spouse about something stupid your coworkers did. Who hasn’t done that? You might even get along (mostly) with your coworkers, but sometimes they’ll drive you nuts. You go home, say to your spouse, “Jennifer is the biggest moron on the planet! You know what she did today?” It’s just blowing off steam.
I do not and would not encourage anyone to use these words in public or to someone’s face. That wouldn’t serve any purpose at all.
Personally, I don’t believe there is any such thing as “I USED to be childfree” — most of us find that it offensive when people make this claim. Many of us have fought way too long to be taken seriously in our choice, and all the non-childfree people who claim they used to be childfree just discredit us. Please don’t take them seriously.
As far as I’m concerned, if you changed your mind, you were never really childfree to begin with. At best you were a “fence sitter” (someone not sure if they want kids or not) and at worst you are just a poser who, at the time, wanted to fit in with your childfree friends.
I realize saying that could alienate some people, but that’s the breaks. The way I see it, if you’d been really happy being childfree, you wouldn’t have changed your mind. And if you weren’t really happy being childfree, how could you have really *been* childfree? To me it looks more like you were pre-childed, or childless at that time.
I’ve been around the childfree community to know there are some people who are really, truly childfree (i.e. never had any desire to have kids, not the tiniest bit, we could never imagine having them AT ALL), and there are others who don’t have kids for whatever reason but aren’t as adamant about it and might change their minds. I’m not trying to play “CFer than Thou” or anything. My point is that if someone changes their mind, they were ever one of the “No Way, No How, Never” group of childfree.
Since occasionally I’ve been asked to elaborate, here are some examples. You are free to agree or disagree with them, I’m just stating what I’ve observed: Some are childless who learned to accept it, but if by a miracle they found themselves pregnant, they would probably want to keep it. Some people are on the fence or in a fencesitter relationship but if one or the other partner changed their minds, they’d have a kid. Some people never really got the opportunity to have kids because they didn’t want to do it alone, but never had a really serious relationship to have kids in — but if they got into that kind of relationship, they might have kids. It happens. Some people would have kids if they were in a different situation (say they could afford to), but for now (and maybe forever) are accepting the fact that they won’t have them. Some people just want a group to fit into and later, if their friend-group changes, they’d want a kid to fit in with that group (I’ve certainly known a couple of people like that).
Let me stress again that I don’t mind anyone who I might deem “not truly childfree” hanging around childfree boards or social groups. My only requirements for childfree groups is that a) no one get offended at every little thing childfree people say, b) if they have/want kids, don’t talk about them, and c) participate in activities without kids. My whole point is that if you hear someone claim they USED to be childfree, they probably fell into one of those groups, and the truth is, they hung out with childfree people, but weren’t really childfree themselves.
And don’t forget there are posers who hang in the childfree community because they regret their kids, or they want to try and discredit the childfree community by posting inflammatory stuff so they can run back to their parenting boards and say, “Look what some evil childfree person wrote!” And those posers just as likely to pose as “formerly childfree,” too.
What it all boils down to is this: When I tell people I’m childfree, I often get, “My sister used to be childfree, too! She changed her mind and so will you!” That’s not fair. Her sister really wasn’t childfree. I AM. I’m not going to change my mind and I don’t appreciate her sister making it harder for the rest of us.
So what are the benefits of being childfree?
It’s good you asked, because I wasted a lot of time making an amusing page just for that. Benefits of Childfreedom
So why are YOU childfree, Phoena?
I have never had the desire to have kids. Ever. Just like I have never had the desire to have a formal wedding, be a lawyer, or do drugs. I have zero interest in any of that. You could list the benefits all day long of how wonderful formal weddings are, great job perks of being a lawyer, or how doing drugs has made your life grand, but I still have no desire to do it. Go ahead and do those things if you want to. I just don’t see the point of doing those things.
My childfree mantra is:
I would not like them in a box.
I would not like them with a fox.
I would not like them in a house.
I would not like them with a mouse.
I would not like kids here or there.
I would not like them anywhere!!
But the real question isn’t, “Why don’t you want kids?” but rather, “Why the heck do you care, anyway?”