1. You get to be the center of your own life, not a supporting role. This is an incredibly powerful notion.
2. You’ll be the best aunt/uncle/godparent/friend to parents ever. When you don’t have kids of your own seeing them is a special treat. You have extra money to buy them presents and probably don’t mind babysitting for free every once in awhile. And when you do, you have boundless energy to play with them and support the parents.
3. Having a consistently healthy relationship with your partner. Parents, especially new parents, operate on some next level shit. I don’t know how they do it but they are dealing with little human(s) who demand constant attention in addition to every single other task they have in their lives. Because of this, your relationship with your partner can often suffer because it’s health is secondary to the kids, keeping up with work (so you can pay for your kids, keeping the home clean (since kids make it messier), etc. Not having kids allows you to focus on your relationship and ensure you’re growing together, not apart.
4. And if you can’t have a healthy relationship — you can leave if that’s the right thing to do. You’ll never have to stay with anyone because you’re worried about your children’s emotional health, or worse, whether you’d ever get to see them again.
5. You are mobile. If you get a great job opportunity in another city, it’s relatively easy to pick up and move. On a smaller scale, if you’ve had a rough week, it’s easy to get in the car and drive somewhere relaxing for the weekend. Or say yes to a last minute happy hour, another glass of wine at dinner, or hitting the snooze button for the 10th time on Saturdays.
6. Realities that are not a part of your life: diaper blow outs, constant screaming, nonsensical crying, accidentally getting peed on while changing a diaper, dragging a screaming child around Target and getting The Look.
7. Since having kids is the de facto path that most people choose, there’s a certain kind of authenticity to your choice not to have them. The fact that it would be easier to have kids adds a little weight to the “yes” column whenever you wonder if you’ve pursued the things that really matter to you in life.
8. Anecdote: I had a bad day, so to relax I spent the last three hours reading instead of going to bed (which I’d have to do if I had kids so I could wake up with them). In the middle of that very peaceful time the answer to what I was stressed out about occurred to me out of nowhere. I texted my (also childless) friend who was also awake at 2am (because again, no kids) and we talked about a plan of action. By having the luxury to take mental space the minute I felt like I needed it, I turned a seemingly unsolvable problem into something I won’t ever have to worry about again.
9. $$$. It costs $234,900 to raise a child until it’s 18 (and that’s just if you make under 100k to begin with).
10. People will take you more seriously at your job if you’re a woman. Okay, this is actually really icky because I wish women who had kids all had partners who were willing to be at least 50/50 — so this would apply to both genders equally at least. Regardless, there is a cache in people knowing you’re never going to have to duck out of an all hands on deck scenario because your kid has pinkeye.
11. Your conversations with your friends are not entirely monopolized by your children/breast pumps/parenting stuff. Since you have the time to read actively, you can talk about that.
12. Adult vacations like backpacking, relaxing on a beach, exploring historical Europe > Disneyworld or any other vacation that needs to engage a kid’s brain instead of your own.
13. A lot of parents I know, in speaking talking about childless people focus on what is going to happen when childless people are old — don’t they want family around them? And that’s great, that that is (hopefully) going to be a reality for everyone who has kids. But it also forces you to think about your mortality and pursue whatever it is that is going to make you feel like you spent your life right when you’re looking back on it. You can’t assume you’ll be able to be distracted by family, you need to really investigate those questions.