Column: I'm fine with not wanting kids
For the past few months, various people have had a similar reaction to the news that I got married; first they congratulate me, then they ask when I'll have kids. It's always said in a jokey way but I can tell they're actually wondering. That's when I tell them I don't want kids.
Some laugh as if I said the best joke of 2016. Some look awkwardly at their feet, unsure whether I’m serious or not. Some just say “you’ll change your mind! You’ll see”. Only a handful of people have taken me seriously and asked why, listened to my reasons and THEN resumed to say I’ll change my mind.
To be honest, I don’t completely disagree with them. I genuinely don’t think I’ll want kids. But two years ago I also genuinely didn’t think I’d want a serious relationship. I thought about it on my wedding day, and I’m sure if I do have a kid some day I’ll think about this article on my way to the hospital.
I’ve said I didn’t want kids since I was a kid myself and people have always told me I’d change my mind, nothing new here. What really bugged me is when some random man I’d never met before told me “of course you’ll have kids, what else are you gonna do?”
Err I don’t know, have a life? Go on holiday whenever I want not worrying about mid-term prices, stay out late on a Tuesday night, spend money on things that please me because I don’t need to save for my kid’s braces? Change jobs until I find something I really enjoy doing instead of settling down for something boring but that helps me provide for the family? It’s 2016, I think we’re past the days where a woman’s only job is to be a mother.
Not even going into the more serious reasons why I don’t want kids – my anxiety, the fact I would go to the hospital every day of the pregnancy to check everything is fine, my kid hating me because I’m not letting him go out on his own until he’s 35 – these are sort of valid reasons, a bit selfish, but valid.
You know what else is selfish? Putting your own little desire to have a kid ahead of what would actually be good for the kid.
Me and my husband work part-time, which gives us time to do other things that we want to do such as write, paint, read or go the pub every other day.
We have enough money to afford rent and a weekend away, but not quite enough to go to Florida for three weeks.
It’s also not enough to pay for a house with an extra room, baby clothes, baby food and nurseries.
If we were to have kids we’d have to work twice as much as we’re doing now, which means we wouldn’t have time to look after our kid everyday. Sounds like a great plan.
The other thing is that I’m not sure I stopped being a kid myself. Sure I’m married and live on my own and pay my bills but I’m also struggling to take the bins out and I can’t / don’t want to cook ever and the one plant we have in the house is dying because we forget to water it. Imagine if we forget to water the kid too!
Three of my friends are pregnant right now. At first I felt really old but then I thought, I bet they take the bins out every day and water their plant.
It ended up making me feel like a teenager living on my own for the first time. And I’m OK with that.