One of the most annoying things about being a woman who doesn’t have children is that everyone is constantly asking you if or when you’re going to have children. I’m 34 years old and I’ve been married to my husband for almost eight years. We don’t have any kids, and we don’t want any kids. Every time I meet someone new, they inevitably ask me about the kid thing.
“Do you have kids?”
“Do you want to have kids?”
“Oh, why not?”
This is such an uncomfortable question to answer. I don’t want kids because I don’t want kids. It’s that simple. But no one can ever just accept that as my answer. They don’t understand. Don’t all women want to have children some day? Don’t all women grow up dreaming about the day when they finally become a mother? People seem genuinely confused as to why a 34-year-old married woman doesn’t want to have kids.
I don’t want kids because I don’t really like kids that much. They are loud, messy, and require constant care and attention. I like my quiet, clean house and the ability to do whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t want to take care of someone from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed and then be woken up throughout the night to take care of them. I love my sleep too much. In the morning, I like to have a quiet cup of coffee with my dogs. I don’t want to wake up to screaming, crying children who have to be changed and fed and dressed, while blasting some annoying kids’ show on TV.
I know babies and toddlers will eventually grow up, but I find older children and teenagers to be equally annoying. For one thing, children are always sticky. Why is that? They are also loud and rambunctious and have absolutely no awareness of personal space. The only good thing about older children is you get to send them to school all day. But then I don’t want to be responsible for helping them do homework or science projects that are due tomorrow. I don’t want to attend parent-teacher conferences or PTA meetings. And I certainly don’t want to spend my nights and weekends schlepping my kids around to practice, games, or little Billy’s birthday party, which I also don’t want to buy a gift for.
Don’t even get me started on teenagers. They either smell like B.O. or too much cologne. They are moody and rebellious and have a bunch of stupid teenage friends. The only good thing is they’ll eventually be able to drive themselves to school, practice, and parties, but then you have to worry about them drinking, doing drugs, and having sex. I mean, what if your teenage daughter gets pregnant? That is just too much drama for me.
Naturally, I don’t feel comfortable saying any of that to someone I just met. I would be judged and criticized like nobody’s business. I would be labeled a selfish asshole. I’m not opening myself up to that. The problem is when you tell someone you just don’t want kids, it’s not good enough for them. They don’t understand, and they want to know why. But when you tell them it’s because you don’t like kids, they get all offended, like it’s a personal insult to them and their kids.
The other irritating part of the “kids” conversation is that people are always telling me I’ll change my mind someday. Or, they attempt to change it for me by listing all of the reasons they think I should have kids. Well, I guess it’s possible for me to change my mind. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow morning a totally different person. Maybe I’ll suddenly have baby fever and a British accent. Anything is possible. However, I’m 34 years old, I’ve been married for almost eight years, and I still have absolutely no desire to have a baby. Not now. Not someday. Not ever. So please, for the love of god, stop telling me that I’ll change my mind one day. And please stop trying to convince me to change my mind. Stop telling me what a great mom I would be or how much I would love and adore my children. I don’t doubt any of that, but it also doesn’t matter because it’s simply not what I want. Trying to get me to change my mind implies that there’s something wrong with my choice not to have children. It makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me for not wanting what so many other women want. It makes me feel like I must be less of a woman for not wanting kids. None of that is true, so stop making me feel like it is.
I don’t understand why anyone even cares. It has zero impact on their lives. I enjoy my life and my alone time so much that I don’t want to sacrifice it to have kids, especially since I don’t like kids that much in the first place. I don’t think there’s a parent out there who can say they didn’t have to sacrifice a whole bunch of shit when they had kids. For them, it was worth the sacrifice because they really wanted to have kids. For me, it sounds like an absolute nightmare. And again, it has zero impact on anyone’s life. I have two dogs who I’m completely obsessed with, but it’s definitely a lot of work. I can totally understand why someone wouldn’t want to have dogs, even though I couldn’t imagine my life without mine. I don’t go around asking everyone why they don’t have a dog. I could give a shit whether or not they want one because it has absolutely no effect on my life. Why would I care? So, why should you care whether or not I want to have kids?
Here’s the thing. Women can still be nurturing and motherly without having kids. I fulfill my motherly instinct by nurturing my dogs, my friends, and my family. And while I love my nieces to death, the best thing about them is that they don’t live with me. Women are capable of doing far more things than just popping out babies. Not all women want to be moms when they grow up. Not all women have baby fever. And not all women are eager to attend PTA meetings and soccer practices someday. We all want different things. What I want is an empty uterus and for people to stop asking me about it.
So, please, stop making jokes about how the spare bedroom would make a nice nursery or how I look good holding a baby in my arms. Stop telling me that I would make a great mom or that all of the sacrifices will be worth it. Stop telling me how much I would love my children or that I’ll regret it if I never have any. And stop telling me that I’ll change my mind someday. My mind is made up. It’s my life. It’s my choice. I choose to be childfree. And frankly, it’s none of your business.
Lauren Dykovitz lives in Florida with her husband and two black labs, Oakley and Lucy. Lauren is a writer, wife, dog mom, sister, aunt, and Alzheimer’s daughter. Aside from writing her own blog, Lauren has been a contributing writer to several other websites and blogs. Lauren also self-published her first book, “Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s.” It is available on Amazon. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.