No, I Don’t Want Kids. No, I’m Not Sorry. No, You Don’t Need to Worry About It.

Next Life, NO Kids is doing this cool #Mommitment (dang, I have to get on the Twitter now, don’t I?) thing to end the Mommy Wars. Whether you have kids or not, the idea behind this movement impacts us all. Check it out–it’s smart and there’s likely going to be a lot of swearing, so you know I’m in. To that end, here is my humble contribution:

There’s no doubting the existence of the Mommy Wars. What I sometimes see and hear mothers doing to one another both online and in person turns me WHITE. Happily, there is a growing chorus of voices saying, in one form or another, that it’s time to cut that shit out.

I submit that there is a broader conflict, the Uterine Wars, if you will. Heated battles include, but are not limited to:

  • Who’s using theirs?
  • How?
  • Why or why not?
  • HOW DARE SHE?

I think we’ve all seen this, including smaller but no less nasty skirmishes about breast-feeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing… the list goes on. But if you think you’ll avoid this kind of BS simply by not having any kids, think again.

After a great deal of time and consideration, my husband and I decided years ago not to have children. Making that choice has brought its own brand of shitstorm.

People think they can say the most amazing things to you when you are a woman who does not want children of her own. Here are just a few cherry examples:

“Well, what’s wrong with you?” (This immediately after I said to the woman, “Some people actually come out and ask what is wrong with me.” Brilliant.)

“Some of us never grow out of that ‘selfish’ phase.” (PLEASE don’t make me enumerate the reasons this is obnoxious, condescending, and simply wrong. I don’t have the bandwidth. Some other time.)

“You should have them anyway. You’ll regret it later if you don’t!” (1. No, I shouldn’t. 2. Now, THERE’SĀ  a good reason to reproduce: fear of possible future regret. Way to possibly ruin everybody’s life there, genius. “I call this one ‘Fear and Regret Insurance’.”)

“Oh, that’s probably because of your childhood/broken home.” Not all women who don’t want kids are broken, PERIOD. Parenthood is not for everybody. Yes, I have a uterus; no, I’m not using it to have kids. I also have legs; I’m not using them to run marathons but no one’s giving me any shit about that. YET.

“I’m sure your husband would love to have kids if you wanted them.” Nope. No, he wouldn’t, not even a little. The man gets downright nervous about my motives when I show him cute pictures and videos of my friends’ kids.

I love my nephews and my friends’ children. I love seeing their pictures and hearing about school and their latest tot obsessions. I don’t have a problem with kids; it’s their parents who are sometimes insufferable.

My point is this: whether or not you choose to have children, there is enough insecurity and emotional baggage in the world so that everybody gets a turn in the Uterine War trenches.

But wait… what if we just… didn’t?

Bear with me for justasec. What if we decided to make an effort to just CALM OUR COLLECTIVE BALLS? Your decision to have kids or not, how they sleep, what diapers they wear, etc., actually has no bearing on my life whatsoever. The odds are great that the woman who is doing things differently than I would IS NOT HARMING ME. Or (and most importantly) her kid. So… how exactly is it productive for me to shoot my mouth off about how she’s doing it wrong?

Before we get too het up about another person’s life choices, let’s first pause and ask ourselves: Is this any of my business? If the answer is no, AND IT USUALLY IS, then don’t worry about it. Truly. It can actually end there.

I’ve got about a million other things to do besides worry about what the next person is doing, and how that somehow detracts from what I’m doing. It doesn’t. It’s time for us to cut the shit and keep our eyes on our own papers. Who’s in??

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14 thoughts on “No, I Don’t Want Kids. No, I’m Not Sorry. No, You Don’t Need to Worry About It.

  1. No worries my friend. I have six children. I reproduced enough for you and me both. The few people I know personally who do not have children, I HAVE asked if they think they’ll regret it. But I can’t imagine stating that they WILL as fact. That’s insane! Six kids! *points to self* And I know insanity–quite well.

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    1. ASKING a personal question of a friend is totally fine, and I think shows genuine interest in learning about someone else’s life! But to assert knowledge of someone else’s feelings and experience is just obnoxious and the height of arrogance. I have a friend with six kids; I tease her that she lives in a shoe BECAUSE WE’RE FRIENDS and give each other shit regularly. It’s how we show love. šŸ˜‰ Also? She and her husband are such good parents, and their kids are so awesome, I have actually begged her to have more, sooo…

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  2. I love this. And I want to say that I think the decision to have children (biologically) is mire selfish than deciding not to. That might make people defensive, but let’s face it, this world is overpopulated, and there are so many unwanted children. I have two kids, and I’m definitely not saying it’s a wrong decision — I desperately wanted them — but I was fully aware that I was doing it FOR ME. And my husband. To create the kind of family we wanted. For anyone to say it’s selfish not to have kids is completely ridiculous.

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  3. Having kids is a very narcissistic thing to do. That doesn’t mean it’s bad but there is a lot of baggage tied up in influencing small human beings that “belong” to you. I never particularly wanted kids, but always worried about whether I’d regret it later. So maybe that’s why I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, and ended up having a daughter after I had basically decided that it wasn’t something I was going to do in my life. In retrospect, I think it was very selfish of me to go ahead and have a baby. I wasn’t the least prepared for how life changing it was going to be, nor did I factor in the cost and sacrifices that it would ultimately entail or what I’d be up against to ensure a decent existence for us. I was extremely optimistic and naive and the thought of having a cute little baby to dress up and play with was a wonderfully exciting thing to jump into. Guiding and molding a young life over time, imparting my wisdom, tastes and talents to leave behind my “legacy” seemed feasible and important. Didn’t millions of others do it every day?

    But if I’m honest, had I known then what I know now would have shouted NO WAY JOSE! Had I known the about the sacrifices, worry and hard work paving the way ahead of me, I would have bailed. Because it was a lot more than I imagined and not something that could be taught. I’m very glad I didn’t know, and going through with what the doctors called “my geriatric pregnancy” was meant to be and an inspirational gift from the universe. However, I’d be the first to say that it’s not for everyone, and if you think it’s not for you, it’s probably good to go with your gut instinct.

    It’s not integral to one’s life as a woman to give birth and it’s most definitely not a requirement for married couples to reproduce. It puts a huge strain on relationships (I used to wonder why so many people divorced shortly after they had babies, and I found out quickly why it’s so common once I brought one into my relationship). In addition to what it does to couples, having children also kills off many friendships inadvertently AND directly. It is what one old boyfriend called “a time sink.” It radically changes one’s relationship to one’s self permanently. But more than anything, If you don’t want to throw yourself into it it doesn’t bode well for the child and it’s not something you can take back. You’ve got to be prepared to be “on” for the rest of your life. It’s not something you can do half assed. If people were more careful about breeding, I think we’d all be better off. It’s important to respect that there are many ways to be or not to be, and not being a parent is a responsible decision that more people should make because I’m pretty sure the world would consequently become a much happier place.

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    1. Thank you for your response! Having kids is a massive undertaking, and I marvel at the people who do it well–and realize that it is impossible to do it perfectly. Everybody has their story and their reasons, which is why we need to quit throwing each other under the bus. As my buddy Katy over at I Got a Dumpster Family! says, YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB.

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  4. Holy fucking balls! I think I’m in love with you. FO REAL. In a totally non-stalker, I love your attitude and writing style way.

    This is a fantastic perspective on this entire deal that most of us never even think about. Mommy Wars extend to non-Mommies now? Like there’s not enough judgement going around, we gotta sling it everywhere. I say we cause I know I’m not perfect. Just trying to be a better person.

    You rock my face.

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  5. Love this. I didn’t have my first and only son until I was 40 and can completely relate to the whole “You don’t need to worry about it!” thing šŸ™‚

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  6. Omg why haven’t I seem this? ?? I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. thank you. I can’t belive the obnoxious comments you get but then I can!! can’t wait to read more . I totally respect and understand your decision . bravo

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