I’m going to start this off by saying a phrase that apparently no woman is ever supposed to say. I don’t want to be a mother. I hope that I never have to become a mother. I don’t have the passion, desire or want to be a mother. I think that my life would be better off without any children.
If you know me in real life and you just read that, I’m sorry that society has made me feel that I can’t be open and honest with you about my life choices. I’m sorry that unless you know me on a deep and personal level, you probably believed up until this moment that I wanted to be a mother.
If you don’t know me, here’s some background on me, I’m almost 24 years old. I graduated from college, I’m in grad school and I’ve gotten what I think is a good start in my career. But, for some reason, I can’t seem to speak my mind about this important life decision without feeling dismissed, criticized or asked to explain myself.
I don’t hate kids at all and I don’t think I could ever hate kids. I just don’t want any kids. I certainly don’t look down on anyone who has chosen or will one day choose to be parents. If anything, I admire their decision and commitment to raise and care for another human. It’s not a job I dismiss or take lightly at all. My mom was a stay at home mother, I know the work it takes to be a successful parent.
But, motherhood isn’t for me. It should be as simple as that. But for some reason, it’s not simple at all.
I’m just so sick and tired of hearing the following comebacks: “you’ll change your mind”, “when you meet the one, you’ll want to have it all” and “why do you hate children?”
Why does having a family meaning “having it all”, can’t I just have a fulfilling life with the one and not want the family part? Can’t I just be extremely successful in my career and still feel like I have it all? When did having it all meaning having a child?
And then there’s the casual “when you have kids…” comment that people always slip into conversation as if they aren’t making a major assumption about my life. It’s not socially acceptable to assume someone’s sexual orientation, sexuality, religion or political party, why is it socially acceptable to just assume that one day I’m going to be a mother?
I have a problem with anyone who thinks that these are acceptable ways to respond to anyone else who holds the same viewpoint as me. Each of these responses is irritating in their own way. They either demand an explanation from me or dismiss my views as if I somehow am incapable of knowing who I am or that I can’t decide my own fate. If I don’t even have the ability to know what I want then how could anyone else possibly have a better idea? Oh wait, I get it, you once thought like I did. You used to think you didn’t want any children and then it happened, you woke up and something made your entire world change and now you have a beautiful baby and everything is great in your life. Or better yet, you never thought like I did, you just know from personal experience that having a child is the way to go and I will one day realize that in order to get anything out of my life, I have to be like everyone else.
Thank you for enlightening me. I really hope that one day, you also wake up and realize that shoving your ideals down someone’s throat isn’t polite.
But, then there’s the conversation we have with people my age who think they want to have kids one day. Hardly anyone ever asks them for an explanation. Everyone just gets really excited that one day, they will have a family and their lives will be “complete.” No one ever tells them, “you just wait, you’ll change your mind one day.” Why is it that they are taken seriously but their counterparts who don’t want to start that family are dismissed and at the exact same age are told that they don’t have a clue?
I personally believe that the best judge of you is you and the best judge of me and is me. Regardless of how much someone claims to know you, the person who knows your the best is yourself. I believe that if someone believes something about themselves then people should just accept that and leave it be.
The decision to become a parent is a big one. For many, it can even be a touchy subject. Yet, people throw around the “when will you have kids?” “why haven’t you had kids?” like they’re asking someone what do you want for dinner. And you better answer those questions the correct way. If not, be prepared to deal with so much judgement that will immediately follow. In my opinion, the only person that should really be involved in your decision to have or to not have kids is your partner because your decision impacts them.
I think you can break the non-solicited advice down to a simple “you should do this because I do this and I’m happy.” In this particular case, “you should be a parent because I’m a parent and I’m happy.” Now, think about how that would sound if I changed the phrase that I said, ”you should vote republican because I vote republican and I am happy” or “you should be straight because I’m straight and I’m happy” or “you should be religious because I’m religious and I’m happy” Each of those just sounds ridiculous and I can bet on the fact that I would offend someone because I’m dismissing their decision to do what they want. Well, the phrase “you should have kids because I have kids and I’m happy” also sounds ridiculous.
There are a number of very valid reasons not to have children. I can’t afford them, I want to focus on my career, I want to travel, I’m not into parenting, I have other things that I want to do with my life, I’m happy with my life, I physically can’t have kids, I hate my parents, I had a traumatic childhood, the world doesn’t need more people. The list could keep going. But, the best reason of all: I don’t want to. It’s as simple as that.
I just don’t want kids. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Can we just leave it at that?