Tag Archives: children

I Don’t Want Children. Period.

I was having an indulgent Friday. I slept in late and was snuggling with my dog and scanning Facebook while watching Sex and the City reruns. The episode in which Charlotte leaves her awesome art gallery job was on — My Motherboard, Myself if you’re in the mood. I was in the middle of the scene when Charlotte calls Miranda and is angry about the judgement she thinks Miranda has about Charolotte leaving her job to try to start a family. Charlotte was screaming, “I choose my choice!” and I saw a Facebook post featuring a cartoon from Upworthy about a woman choosing to not have kids.

Much of that cartoon resonated with me. I do not have kids and I do not want kids. Yet, I’ve been told so often that I will change my mind. That I will make a great Mom! That kids will change my life in ways I could never imagine.

And of course that makes me think of a scene in Trainwreck when Amy Schumer’s character is told her life hasn’t started yet because she doesn’t have kids. I’ve been on the receiving end of those kinds of comments many times (see above). One person even told me that I was depriving my husband of his natural desire and right to procreate. Another asked me how it felt that was ruining my parents’ lives by not giving them grandchildren.

Geez. I simply do not want kids. I do not dislike kids. I do not judge people who have kids. I know myself and I’ve made a reasonable life decision with my spouse. And I’m happy in my life.

Yet still, I feel as though when I tell someone I don’t have kids that I have to follow up with a story to help them understand why I, a seemingly intelligent person with ovaries and a uterus, has made such an against-the-grain decision. And here is my spiel:

“Oh no, I don’t have kids. I have furry children and am a fun aunt to my nieces and nephews. I never really wanted human babies but when I met Dave I knew that I could have a family with him. But I was never so relieved when he told me one night that he didn’t want children. And we’ve checked in over our ~15 years together and are still on the same page.”

Phew! That is a mouthful. It’s all true, but nobody needs to know all of that. And I shouldn’t feel obligated to provide so much context. I shared it here to make my point that I’ve acquiesced to the societal pressure that if I don’t have kids, I better have a darn good — and specific — reason.

But as of today I’ve decided I don’t want to tell that story again. Not unless we’re close friends and we’re chatting over wine or beer about our lives and relationships.

Until then…I don’t have kids. I choose my choice! I don’t want children. Period.

About Bobbi

Bobbi is a freelance consultant who lives in Washington, DC. When not serving as an operations octopus for her clients, she can sometimes be found watching reruns of Sex and the City, One Tree Hill, and Beverly Hills, 90210. To chat about any of these, you can reach her here

Being Friendly

funny background for kidsI was talking to my son the other day and it dawned on me what an a-hole I am. Intellectually, I am able to recognize what an awesome kid he is – how accomplished and talented he is at such a young age. When I look at some of the skills he’s mastered and habits he has compared to others his age, I breathe a sigh of relief. But somehow I can’t stop nagging him about doing more, being better.

I don’t expect him to be perfect, so it’s not that – I am not looking for some kind of uber kid. I’m just looking to not be annoyed. But really, whose problem is that? It’s mine – I can (or should be able to in theory) control how and when I react to things he does, but I struggle. And then I take it out on him. Instead of trying to change my needs and perspective, I try to change him. This needs to stop.

Let me assure you that I’m not beating him or constantly screaming at him in an emotionally abusive way, but there is a low-level undercurrent of general annoyance and that’s not cool. I can tell he’s frustrated because it seems as though I am always disappointed in him. I’m not, but I can 100% see how he might feel that way. So what do I do?

I like to observe him with other people – it helps me see that he’s not annoying to others; he’s personable and open, and while he sometimes gets a wee bit out of control with other kids, he also brings a joy and happiness to any interaction.  I think I also care a bit too much of what other people think. I’ve observed that most parents seem not to care at all how their or their children’s interactions impact others; I think I’ve gone too far to the other side and have made that a driving factor in how I view his behavior. Fuck people (sometimes) – he’s learning and having fun and I need to let that ride a bit more (within reason).

Anyway, I’ve decided that his short-term less-than-desirable behavior should absolutely take a backseat to his long-term emotional health and well-being, that he should see me as an ally and not someone he needs to try to make happy or not disappoint (constantly). Support and kindness are just as important to encouraging him to be “a nice, smart, kind person that people want to spend time with” as are reminders about manners and self-control. After all, no one is perfect…especially me, and he’ll never be either. But if I change my behavior, I’m sure his will evolve beyond my own which is comforting. I will never be his friend – and as his mother, I really don’t want to be – but I can certainly be more friendly.

About Libby
Libby and her family enjoy camping trips that help them appreciate each other and their running water when they get home. You can reach her here.