Childrearing

Kids Aren’t For Everyone, So Stop Telling Your Childfree Friends They’ll ‘Change Their Minds’

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I have several friends in their late thirties and forties who never had children and never wanted them. If I had the collective dollars for every time each one of them heard ‘you’ll change your mind,’  I could take a few months off and finish my book. If you find yourself saying that phrase to a person without kids – shut your mouth immediately. Not having kids does not equal unhappiness. Not everyone has the same burning desire to reproduce that you may. And thank the Gods for that.

I’m honestly not sure where this sentiment comes from. I’m someone who knew from an early age that I wanted children eventually – so it’s not that I don’t understand the complete desire to have them. I just don’t understand the refusal to accept that not everyone does. Frankly, I understand not wanting kids more than I understand wanting them. Does that sound bad coming from a mother? It’s the truth.

My sister is in her forties and doesn’t have children. She’s happily married, she has a fantastic job – there’s no gaping hole in her life because children are missing. She lives right across the street from me and often helps me with the bedtime routine when my husband is gone for work. Last week I walked in on her trying to get pajamas on my three-year-old. The look on her face was familiar. It’s the one that’s on mine every time I perform that god-forsaken task.

Sister: Jesus. I was ready to just walk right out of this bedroom and out the front door. And I realized – I could totally walk out of this bedroom and out the front door right now. You can’t. How the hell do you do this?

Me: Not sure. You’re so fucking lucky.

Look – I love my kids, I love being a mom, blah, blah, blah. But it is a total pain in the ass. I’ll never understand people who think everyone secretly has a burning desire to parent. No. They don’t. And if you are going to be logical about it – it should really be the other way around. Childfree people should be constantly asking parents, Do you regret it? Have you changed your mind? Hurling that question at someone covered in breast milk inadvertently singing the theme song to Dora the Explorer makes way more sense.

Sometimes I honestly think people just want validation that they’ve made the right decision. So I will offer some validation; parenting is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done. It’s also the most annoying and at times I mourn for my freedom. That doesn’t mean I think I’ve made the wrong decision. That also doesn’t mean that everyone I know has to take on this endeavor to prove that my choices are sound.

The next time you hear yourself thinking or starting to say, You’ll change your mind – try to stop yourself. Making assumptions about people’s intentions is never a good thing. Your kids are great – just not great enough to make the entire world want one of their own.

(photo: iko/ Shutterstock)