7 Reasons Why I don't have Kids

As a 32-old married, but childfree woman, I’ve noticed a number of articles, books, and Facebook posts lately about people choosing to have kids later in life, or not at all.  Most of these articles document studies and research as to why people aren’t having kids.  Based on some of their findings...like the smarter the woman the less likely she will have children...I’m not so sure they get it.

Cover of Time magazine, August 12, 2013.

Cover of Time magazine, August 12, 2013.

So here’s 7 REASONS WHY I HAVEN’T HAD KIDS:

1) I’ve got shit to do.  

Unfortunately, I struggle with the belief that having a family means you no longer care about your career.  Even when I worked in a TV newsroom, bets went around as to whether or not female anchors would return after their maternity leave.  As if all the years they put into their success would be thrown out simply because after a baby, nothing as insignificant as a career matters anymore.

2) My marriage sucked.  

I didn’t trust it to last and I wasn’t going to bring a child into a marriage that might not make it.  According to a quick google search, the 80’s appear to be the decade where divorce rates peaked the highest.  Lots of us are now adult children of those 80’s divorces and don’t want to repeat that life on future kids.  

3) Money.  House.  Paycheck.  Car.  Yard.  Money.  

Enough said. There’s always a bit of a fear that I won’t be able to pay for the thing once I get it.  Unlike the housing market, I can’t say, “Oops. We bit off more than we can chew so let’s do a short sale, take a dive in our credit, and then in a few years forget the whole thing ever happened.”

4) I know what a 2-year old looks like.  

I was the oldest girl in a family with 19 grandchildren.  There wasn’t a birthday party, holiday, or football Saturday where I wasn’t handed something to take care of that could scream, crap, or disappear at a moment’s notice.  It’s exhausting.

5) Freedom.  

I spent three amazing weeks in Europe last year.  Last Saturday, I was out all day eating, drinking beer, and hanging with friends.  I love sleep.  Can’t blame culture, upbringing, or fancy marketing campaigns for this belief.  It’s a fact.  Life isn’t as free with children.  

6) The purpose of my life can’t be about the child I raise.  

When I was in college, an older cousin got married and had a baby.  I remember my aunt saying in reference to her daughter-in-law that, “Hopefully she won’t have to work.”  I was appalled.  Were her career and dreams less important than her husband’s? It’s as if being a woman means you can find a cure for cancer, become president, or preach to the masses about the love of Christ...that is...until the day you have a kid.  Then all that is secondary.  Theologically, I don’t agree with the idea that life is all about your children.  If following Jesus means my life isn’t about me, then why is it okay for it to be all about my children?   I think women can use “my kids are my purpose” as an excuse not to step out in faith in areas where they could make huge differences.  

(Please note that I understand a number of circumstances, including disabilities, hardships at home, and actual “callings” for a child to be a woman’s ultimate purpose for her life, or a season of it.  I’m just saying I don’t like this standard as the expected norm for all of us.)

7) I won’t be a good mother.

Because I believe raising children is not God’s big plan for my life, even if it’s in the plan, I fear I won’t be a good mom to them.  I will choose daycare, travel, book promotions, and working for a living over making every soccer game and cooking well balanced meals every night.  Not to mention the damage I can bring in from my own jacked up upbringing.

But in life, everything changes, and I give you a second list.

7 REASONS WHY I’M NOW TRYING FOR KIDS:

1) I can still get shit done.

In my opinion, probably the best book of the year.

In my opinion, probably the best book of the year.

Thanks in large part to Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller, Lean In, I no longer believe having a child will stop my career dead before it even get’s off the ground.  I’m trying to publish a book, build a blog following and take on numerous new roles in my church...all of which would have my previous thinking warning me it’s a bad time to have a kid.  But I’m pretty sure that’s a fear-filled lie.  Yes, I will have to make choices, but having a baby won’t kill my career.  It just won’t.

2) My marriage is in a great place.

After a few years of counseling, both together and individually, my husband and I are finally on the same team.  Someone said that we did the hard work to have an easy marriage.  There’s truth in that.  And it’s not just that I feel safe with my husband, but I also feel safe with myself...no longer looking for a self-destructive route to ruin it all.

3) Money.  House.  Paycheck.  Car.  Yard.  Money.

Eh.  Whatever.  We’ll be able to pay our bills even if we can’t afford yearly passes to Disneyland.  This is just one you have to choose to let go of.  We’re finally letting go.

4) I know what a 2-year old looks like.

I actually love the toddler stage.  They’re no longer just a blob that takes and takes from you.  At this age they’re interesting, learning to talk and walk while exploring their world.  Not to mention the hugs and kisses they give.  It’s my favorite age to babysit for family and friends.

5) Freedom is a trade off.

I will lose out on sleep and spur of the moment travel, but I will gain a dozen other moments in exchange...such as the sound of my baby’s laugh, the look on my husband’s face when he falls in love, and Gabbie, the world’s greatest pug, finding a new cuddle buddy.  Not to mention, I’ve put in a lot of babysitting deposits for friends and family over the years, and I will shamelessly be expecting future withdraws for a few freedom filled nights on the town.

6) The purpose of my life won’t be raising children.

This was such a deal breaker for me that I told God, “If the minute I have kids, my life must become all about being a mom, then I don’t want it.”  

I heard him answer back, “It won’t be.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the blessing of children.”

That’s all He needed to say.  I can be blessed by them, but not be required to lose my destiny because of them.

7) I will be a good enough mother.

Those I love, I love with all my heart and will sacrifice greatly for.  My kids will know that, without feeling like my life is all about them.  I’ve no doubt I will make horrible mistakes, but those mistakes will build character in my kids...and all of us could use a little bit of character.  Besides, how do you even gauge a good mother other than to compare her to everyone else?  I have to turn off that comparison switch, and know that even in motherhood, who I am is good enough.

 

What do you think?  What are your reasons for choosing to have or not have children?