Saturday, March 19, 2011

I don't want to have kids.

I make a point of saying that out loud (or in this case, writing it down) every now and then because it's taboo but shouldn't be. Not wanting to be a mother does not make me lazy. It just means that I realize how much work it is, and would rather be productive in other ways. Many of my friends are parents. I respect the hell out of them for it. But parenthood just isn't for me.

No doubt some people saw the title of this blog post and chose not to read it. You're not supposed to tell people that you don't want to have kids. And this is especially true if you're a woman.

Usually, two things happen when I mention that I don't want to have kids: People assume that I hate children, and then they tell me that I'll eventually change my mind. (Would you really want someone who hates children to change her mind? Just sayin'.)

I don't hate children. Please. I used to work at a vocational preschool. And since August, I've been babysitting two girls, ages four and seven, three times per week. While the job sometimes makes me feel like some kind of premature soccer mom, I do love the girls. And because I realize that they are the future, I make a point of treating them with respect. This is a concept that seems to be lost on a lot of people.

As for the people who tell me that I'm just too young to understand that I'll eventually want children, well. That's offensive. For one thing, I may very well change my mind. Life happens. But I'm 22. While I'm young, I am of child-bearing age. Who are you to tell me that I don't know my own mind?

It's especially fun for me to pin this argument up against the backdrop of my grandmother's wish for me to find a man, marry, and reproduce, ASAP. If I'm old enough to do that, then I'm old enough to decide not to.

And really, this is something that I've thought about all my life. My mom told me recently that she saw signs of my feminism very early on. She noticed that when I was a kid, I had a fascination with women who worked outside of the home, likely because she herself did not. I was in the first grade when I realized that many of my friends' mothers did things a lot differently than my mom. I also have an aunt who lives in the Yukon. She never married and doesn't have kids. And she has always been one of my favorite people on Earth. My mom assumed (accurately) that it was because her reality was vastly different from anyone else's.

The unfortunate thing about Kerrie (aforementioned aunt) is that her parents and siblings (all of whom did the whole get married & have kids thing) treat her as if she's some kind of overgrown child who just refused to grow up. Respect others' choices. Kerrie can do a lot of things that they can't, because she lives by herself in a very cold, remote place. You have to be really freaking strong and independent to pull that off.

I want to be strong and independent too, and am still figuring out what that means for me. I doubt I'll ever move to the Yukon--super low temperatures aren't really my thing. Nobody's shaking their finger at me for saying that. So I don't see how it's so unacceptable for me to say that I don't want to have kids.


  1. I think if you don't want kids don't want kids. :) Simple as that.
    I want kids, someday. I want a mini-me running around bashing asshat women-haters.
    But I know that isn't everyone's choice and I think it's awesome that you said (typed) it out loud. :)
    Not having kids means WAY more personal freedom, more money in your pocket to exercise your freedom, and you are contributing less to your carbon footprint!
    Not having kids is eco-friendly, since every kid raises the global temperature. :D

  2. Hey, could you send me the book I requested from you on BookMooch? Thanks :) also, holla! Fellow feminist!