Image courtesy of Janine James.
As we end the month of May, we're reflecting on motherhood and gathering perspectives from mothers of all kinds. How are their experiences the same? How are they different?
Though not everyone mothers the same way, one person's parenting journey is never any less valid than another. We talked to some women with differing opinions on how being a mom (or not being one) has changed their life.
What I am about to say may stun and horrify readers...
I do not want children.
I know some of you are probably wondering why I would deny myself the joys of motherhood, or have already written me off as a bad person. But before you brand me a total reproduction witch…hear me out.
I had an ideal childhood, but knew from a very young age that I did not want kids. I had a collection of baby dolls as a kid, but the stuffed animals got way more attention (I actually have two little schnauzers now whom I treat like babies; I suppose some things never change). Once I hit my pre-teen years I became vocal about not wanting children. At first my friends and family figured I was going through a phase, but as I got older it became apparent to both my family and myself that my mind was not going to change.
Contrary to popular belief, maternal instincts do not strike every woman like a freight train. I’ve never been a “kid person,” and to be honest, I don’t really enjoy their company. Sure, I have met some cool children over the course of my life, but deep down, I just know it’s not for me.
However, just because I do not want children does not mean I am any less of a woman: I’m still nurturing, supportive, and loving. Still, some people take my choice to not procreate very seriously. I have personally offended quite a few individuals by stating that I have no desire to carry a baby for nine months and then raise it for 18+ years.
What do I love about my child-free lifestyle? It’s a three-way tie between sleeping in as much as possible, binge-watching Netflix while crafting, and planning my next big adventure. On top of all that, I’m incredibly career-driven — I currently hold a job at a prestigious company, and am also a professional makeup artist and a part-time alternative model. What can I say? I enjoy staying super-busy. I know it’s perfectly possible to juggle work and have a little one...and I have nothing but total respect for those that can have both, because I don’t think it’s something that I could pull off successfully.
But not everyone is so understanding. Sometimes when I tell an individual I don’t want kids, I get one of these responses:
“You’ll change your mind.”
I can be indecisive about plenty of things...hell, sometimes I have a hard time deciding what shoes I should wear for the day. This decision, however, is something I have not changed my mind on for over a decade.
“Your parents had you.”
This is true...because they wanted children.
“That’s really selfish.”
I think it would be more selfish if I had a kid and hated motherhood.
“You’d be such a fab mom, though!”
I have no doubt that I’d be an amazing mom: I love Disney movies, toys, bright colors, and I have a ton of energy...I’m pretty much a toddler’s dream come true.
“Who will take care of you when you’re older?”
I do occasionally think about that, but even if I did have a kid...that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll take care of me when I reach my golden years.
“So you don’t want a family at all? No marriage?”
Our society frequently fails to realize that ‘family’ can be defined in so many different ways. Just because I don’t want babies does not mean that I don’t want to get married or surround myself with relatives and very close friends.
If there’s a woman in your life who does not want children, don’t bash them for it. Chances are they have had some of the same thoughts I’ve touched on. Our culture needs to come to the realization that womanhood and motherhood are not interchangeable.