A quick note: this is an update and expansion of a guest post I wrote for The Childless by Choice Blog. A big thanks to Laura Scott for letting me re-use it!
Guys & Dolls
Since I’ve become more involved in the childfree – dare I say? – movement, one thing is glaringly clear to me; There are a lot more women invested in this thing than men. Like way more. Like really, really, way, way more. I have a few theories on this…which you can read here.
Now one of these days women won’t be the only sex that can give birth…I f’n love science. And one of these days men or robots will relieve women of some of the burden of child-rearing, but probably not anytime soon. And hopefully one of these days women who do not want children will stop receiving a shit for the decision.
But until then, it does seem that women have more skin in this game. While seemingly true, it does not mean that men have no investment. I for one would like to see more men engaged on the topic if only cuz it gets lonely out here. I hope that sharing how I made my childfree decision will inspire other men to think about why they do or do not want kids and to share their decisions.
My Childfree Decision Process
Growing up I knew that I’d have kids of my own. The path was obvious: grow up, date, get married, have kids and be a dad. Preferably in that order. No steps optional.
This is how it works.
I’ve occasionally been wrong, but for the sake of this post I’ll assume that many guys have a similar mindset.
I first actively questioned this obvious path around nine when I realized kids are a LOT of work. I have first hand experience of this. You see I have four siblings, all older sisters. Yes, four older sisters; thanks for the sympathy.
When I was nine, two (only two!) of my sisters still lived at home with yours truly. We were an absolute handful, or more truthfully, I was an angel with two wicked, older step sisters.
I kid, I kid! Love you, my actual real, not step, sisters!
Where was I? Yeah, well, I watched mom and dad try to deal with angry, petulant, self-centered tweens and teens – I include myself here – with endless needs and demands for time, food, money, laundry, etc. I thought to myself, “Why would you do this to yourself?”
Yes, I know. Wise beyond his years, you say.
Speaking of, I’ve always been a pretty logical thinker (he says about himself). Illogically, I often assume others to be the same. Logically/illogically I figured I must be missing something. People put themselves through so much effort and heartache while giving up so much freedom, and time, ergo there must be more to the story…
I chalked it up to not understanding; to being young. I sez to myself “When I’m more mature I’ll get it, and when I get it, then I’ll want kids”.
Because this is how it works.
Time rolled on. I grew up (arguably). I dated. I got married. It never happened though. I’ve never wanted kids. And it’s not because I never saw an upside – I do see how meaningful kids can be to parents that really want them, who can and do care for them. I have the utmost respect for the good parents that I see and I even enjoy being around some kids, sometimes.
No, I’ve never wanted kids because I clearly see the downsides for me and for me the cons outweigh the pros.
Now I’m in my early 40’s. I’ve been married for 18 years. I love my life as it is, childfree. Funny thing…I almost wrote ‘I couldn’t imagine having kids’ right here but that is completely wrong. I can imagine having kids and that is what makes me so happy about my decision to not have them.
For me, this is how it really works.