Musings

I Don’t Want Kids… And That’s Okay

This is a picture of me and my niece. Cute, right? Every time I see her, my heart swells. I can’t remember ever falling in love with someone so instantaneously and so unconditionally (except for my other niece). Her laugh makes me laugh, her smile makes me smile, and every time she says ‘Lala!’ when […]

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Taiyaki occupy farm-to-table swag fashion axe four loko. Church-key palo santo selvage.

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This is a picture of me and my niece. Cute, right? Every time I see her, my heart swells. I can’t remember ever falling in love with someone so instantaneously and so unconditionally (except for my other niece). Her laugh makes me laugh, her smile makes me smile, and every time she says ‘Lala!’ when I show up at the door, I can’t imagine a better feeling. With all of these emotions, you would assume I’d want a kid of my own, right?

Uh….. not at all.

Truthfully, having a child is never something I pictured for myself. I babysat growing up. I was in a long-term relationship with my high-school sweetheart for nine years. I’m now three years into a loving relationship with ‘the one’ …. and through it all, have never felt the need to bear children. I can look at my two nieces and be completely overjoyed, but without ever feeling the pangs for motherhood. Instead, my long-term goals in life have always revolved around personal growth in my career, my community and my creative spirit. It’s not even something I question, really, nor does my family. They never prod Damien and I to give them grandchildren or hint at the idea of us procreating – they leave my life choices up to me. Damien doesn’t have a problem with it either – in fact, this is a decison we’re both very much on the same page about.

All is kosher when it comes to those closest to me… so why is it that the reactions of complete strangers make me feel like my choices about children are unnatural?

Turns out, when you get to your thirties, the topic of children always arises in social situations – most recently for me at an event last week. People start talking about their kids, telling anecdotes of the funny things they said that week, showing pictures of how cute they are, as everyone ooooh’s and aaaaah’s. By the time it gets round to me, my go-to response is, “No kids for me. I’ll be happy with a little fur baby in my life. We’re looking at adopting a rescue in the new year.” While the majority of people laugh uncomfortably and assure me that ‘Hey, that’s okay!’ before moving on, there are a few that instinctively react in the following ways:

  • “Well how long have you been with your partner? I’m sure you’ll change your mind once you’ve been together for a few more years.” (um no bish, I won’t)
  • “Is it a career thing? Or do you not want to gain weight?” (neither… I literally just DO NOT WANT KIDS)
  • “I just don’t understand how you can’t have that maternal urge. All women do!” (well pal, turns out, not all women are identical)
  • “Don’t worry, you’ll get there eventually.” (probs not)
  • “So…. what are you going to do with your life if you don’t have kids?”

Sigh.

You know what I’m gonna do with my life? Travel the world with Damien. Go out for dinner whenever I want. Sleep in on Sundays. Run my own business. Splurge on good wine and good food. Visit with my nieces every week. Binge on Netflix all damn day if I feel like it. Spend time with my parents. Get a dog to cuddle with. Give back to the community. Host dinner parties for friends. HAVE A GREAT FUCKING TIME.

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And I guess that’s the thing that annoys me the most – not the interest in why I don’t want children, but the assumption that my decision not to will equate to a less fulfilling life. Simply because I am a woman. Simply because I am supposed to want them (Damien never gets these reactions, btw). But here’s a little secret I want to let you in on: having kids is not the only route to happiness. I can (and will) lead a perfectly happy life without taking on the role of raising children. I can enjoy all of the above things just as much as someone with kids can. I can still be giving, loving and generous to others. I can still enjoy having friends with children without feeling jealous or resentful. And I can have endless respect for mothers without ever wanting to be one. To me, that freedom to choose is the beauty of being a woman.

Will I look back on my life at 60 and wish I had kids around to call my own? Maybe. Probably not. Who knows. But even if I do, I will still be able to look back knowing that I lived an incredible life filled with adventure, love, laughter, friendship and independence. That I had an impact on the lives of my nieces, teaching them that intelligence and graciousness are more important than beauty and popularity, and that as females, they are free to make decisions about their lives without feeling pressured by anyone else.

So yeah – who knows what the future holds for me and my uterus. But for now, I’m perfectly content with the idea of coming home to my own family every day – Damien, me and our future fur ball. And I won’t let anyone make me feel as though that’s not good enough.

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  1. Hannah says:

    Amen!! My husband and I have been married for 3 years and definitely don’t want kids. We look around at and think “why would we want to raise a child the way the world is now?” Our two favourite reactions so far (besides the exact same responses you get) have been “who will take care of you in your old age?” And “you know, having children can save a marriage”. I didn’t know my marriage was in need of saving? I love my husband and our life and our freedom; I don’t want to share him and that is OK!! The selfish decision is choosing to have kids when you’re not ready or don’t really want to. Thanks for reminding me why we made the right decision ?

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Omg, people tell you it could save a marriage??? First of all… super offensive. Second of all, having a kid is literally THE WORST way to try and save a marriage!

  2. Didier Young says:

    I totally hear you there! I love kids too but I don’t necessarily want to have some of my own. You are a beautiful, strong woman who does not feel the need to give in to society’s pressure to attain a nuclear family and that is absolutely fantastic.

    -Didier
    http://www.didieryhc.com

  3. Mallory says:

    My husband and I recently celebrated two years, we’re building a 4-bedroom house now, and we’re planning all sorts of travels. It is frustrating to constantly get the “when are you having kids” question. I get it, people are curious! I have no problem giving them the the honest answer that right now having kids is not in our cards and it may never will be. It’s the reactions that bother me the most — which is on par with what you touched on in your post. I’m glad I’m not alone! And I also LOVE being an aunt! It’s one of the greatest gifts ever. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic! πŸ™‚

  4. Lee says:

    I agree completely, everyone has their own perspective of how life should be lived and they are generally all perfectly great ways.
    Having two kids of my own I can understand why people might ask some questions that they do BUT from my point of view, I would only ask out of curiousity because having total freedom isn’t really an option for me anymore…at the moment at least. So being able to live vicariously through those without kids is how I would ask it. If people are just being ignorant then they are obviously too close minded to understand.
    Keep on keeping on because so maybe in 15 years when my kids are gone then I can start living a more adventurous life and see how you’ve paved the way.

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Hi Lee! πŸ™‚

      Kudos to you for being a great Dad to two kids – in no way am I slamming that. I fully respect peoples’ decision to have children and think it’s an amazing, full-time commitment – I guess I just want the same respect back from people. It’s really more of the ‘Oh you’ll change your mind in a few years’ statement (that is said to me time and time again) that truly bothers me. As though my choice is invalid because I’m a woman and all women should inherently want children.

      And I think as a dad your life is probably fulfilling and adventurous enough :). Hope you’re well!

      • Lee says:

        Thanks for the response, and the kudos goes to you. Only in the last few years am I learning not to follow the “status quo” and that as long as we are happy then why does it matter to anyone else how we live our lives. Whether it be to have or not have children, married or not, an entrepreneur or have a 9-5, gay or straight, everyone needs to focus on what makes them the person that they want to be and not focus on others. Everyone should have respect no matter what their situation. The guy saying that you are selfish to not want to share your time is ignorant and single minded.

        To be able to have a lifestyle like your own, to do what you like, go where you wish, and when you want to do it, is what most people work their whole careers to try to achieve. They retire from something that they hate when all they would have had to do is work at something that they love and there would be no need to retire. Excuses hold people back which is what children become for many people and they become afraid to step out of the norm and experience life.
        Right now my kids are my life but if I didn’t have any then my life would be 100% different in every aspect and even so, I’m already trying to make that change to be where you are in some way.
        So please know that I use you as inspiration in some way of how to make my life (with kids) the best I can to have that freedom. And you can tell everyone to go f**k themselves don’t hold back πŸ˜‰
        Have a great day.

  5. Rae says:

    I always knew I wanted kids. People would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and I would answer “A mom.” I have them, 2 beautiful, special, amazing souls. One of them has special needs, and, while her spark inspires me, it is sometimes challenging and demanding. However, my kids give me purpose and hope for the world. I teach, and I am so grateful to be allowed the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives every day, but, I see so many other parents who have no appreciation of their kids, and I wonder why on earth they had them. If you don’t want kids, I don’t believe that’s selfish at all. If you change your mind in the future, that is also your prerogative, but at least you know that you made a conscious and informed choice, which is more than so many people do. Kudos to you for recognizing that and not bringing a totally dependent person in this world, who has no choice in the matter.

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Thanks for your insight, Rae. I agree – like anything, to be invested in something for a long time (like raising a child), it’s something you should be passionate about/interested in. And if my heart’s not in it, why woud I bring a child into this world?

  6. Jay says:

    Is ”give back to the community” bolded so you don’t seem quite as self-absorbed as you are? This article presents a ridiculously weak case for not having children. A ridiculously selfish case. Wine? You basically say that you’re too selfish to share your time, energy and attention with kids. You definitely should not have kids, so it is a blessing you acknowledge that fact.

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Actually Jay, ‘giving back to the community’ is bolded because it’s a link to another piece of content. And if choosing not to have children makes me selfish, well so be it – but at least I won’t do a shitty job of raising kids because I couldn’t stand up to the fact that I want a different life for myself. I’m pretty sure this article wasn’t entitled ‘I love wine, so I don’t want kids’, but thanks for picking out one line out of 300 to focus on. And whilst nowhere do I chastise anyone for having kids (in fact I respect that decision if that’s what they choose for their lives), you’ve decided that it’s okay to shit all over my life choices as though you know anything about me.

      Thanks for coming out – go troll somewhere else.

  7. Meg says:

    Thanks, Lauren ! I will share this with my daughter and her friends. I can’t believe there is still any question in this day and age. Some people can’t have children but they are also subject to rude and prying questions. Live and let live and MYOB !

  8. Katie says:

    I’m so conflicted with posts like this. I never wanted to be a mom or at least didn’t think I did. I too cringed every time someone told me I was being selfish or naΓ―ve for thinking I didn’t want any. My husband & I were together for 10 years before we got married so you can imagine how often we got that question. My parents were also really cool about the fact that I might never have kids. Fast forward 3.5 years after marriage & we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting. My son is now 3.5 years old & I couldn’t imagine my life without him. But… do I think that my life would have been incomplete without him? I don’t know. Do I think everyone else should have kids? Definitely not.

  9. Sheila Wood says:

    I have two kids I wouldn’t trade for all the adventures in the world, but I see no need for people to have children if they don’t want them. Don’t want to eat meat? Coolio. Not a fan of hockey? Okay. Don’t want kids? Perfectly acceptable. What isn’t acceptable is the assumption that your life is somehow incomplete if you don’t. Whyzzat? If my kids weren’t grown, I wouldn’t have them now….it’s a pretty scary world right now and I was a tense mom then…now, i would fret myself into a heart attack. I have no “granny lust” going on…and neither of my kids seem inclined to produce any clones which is perfectly fine with me. Also, asking is rude…what if you’d been trying and not succeeding or had succeeded and lost it. Oh, what a can of worms.

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Love this, Sheila – you made so much sense of it with the comparison to becoming a vegetarian or not being a sports fan. It’s a hugely inappropriate thing to ask/comment on or urge people that they’ll change their mind because, yes, what if they’re not able to??

  10. Kayla says:

    I’m 26 and have been with my boyfriend for 5+ years now. I know nothing is set in stone in my life and my feelings could in theory change, but I so agree with everything you said. I’ve always been vert vocal about the fact that I don’t want to have kids and I’ve never seen myself as someone who wants to have kids. I really really really want to be an awesome aunt though and can’t wait for my brother to get kids someday.

    I’m happy my mother always instilled in me the belief that you don’t need a man or kids or anything society tells you you need to be happy and fulfilled.

  11. Vick says:

    One of your best! Being a mother of two (one decesed) I appreciate the honesty of a true decision. Not every woman is cut out for this. I love my son, and of course my grandchildren, but, I still ponder … Was this what I,wanted or was I swayed by society.

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      Cheers Vicki! Totally agree – it’s a MASSIVE job to be a mum, and I am so aware of that… and amazed by mums every day. But definitely not for everyone. πŸ™‚

  12. I love this post Lauren!! As a mom of two I can totally appreciate this and not be uncomfortable at all, I love how confident you are in your choices and the amazing impact you’ll make in your nieces lives. Ps can’t wait to see your new fur baby!!!!! Xo

    • Lauren | This Renegade Love says:

      And you are super-mum! I love seeing the relationships that mothers have with their children and think it’s so special and one-of-a-kind…. luckily, we’re all able to experience different kinds of love and I’m totally happy with that πŸ™‚

  13. I saw you post about this a while ago and was meaning to read / comment. I fully agree with EVERYTHING you have said in this post. Literally since i was like, 14 years old, i’ve said I didn’t want kids. I dont like em, they dont like me, i dont think they’re cute/funny, whatever haha. I just can’t get on with the idea. And I hate that even now, people are like ‘ohh you say that now but in a few years you’ll change your mind.’
    Like, no. I’m 99.999999999 % sure nothing will change my mind.
    I love the part where you say what you’re going to do with your life, because to me, that is BLISS. Dealing with temper tantrums and listening to a kid read a book at one word a minute does not sound fun to me.
    Also fur babies are the absolute best.

  14. Kate says:

    Thank you for writing this post. I feel exactly the same way, though have always been even less into children (never really babysat, nephews live halfway across the globe), and I am okay with that. I am baffled at people who throw the whole selfish thing at women who make this choice, but not at women who have a child because they want someone to take care of them when they’re older or want to create ‘a little me and you’. Ultimately, these are such emotionally-charged life decisions, it’s important to remember it’s a lot more emotional for the one making the decision than anyone else who feels it’s their right to pass judgment. Rock on in your child-free life, sister! And come visit Berlin in your travels – it’s awesome.

  15. Tracy says:

    I’ve written so many posts about this very topic. I’m 40 (although people think I’m much younger) and on a weekly basis I’m asked when I’m going to have children. I even tell them I’m 40 and they say I still have time. Both my husband and I have very demanding careers which we love and we’re happy with just us. We also like the freedom it gives us financially to do what we want to do. I like having my hair done twice a week, he likes to play golf. We both like to stay up until 3am binge watching shows and sleeping in until 2pm. This is our live and we love it just the way it is. Most recently when asked why I don’t have kids my response was “because I like money and sleep”.

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I'm a Brand & Content Strategist with 15 years of experience in helping businesses craft their brand story and build trust through authentic storytelling.

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