I'm thirty-three, and have zero children, unless you count the two chickens we inherited when we moved to Asheville, but judging by people's reactions when I respond, "I have chickens" when they ask me if I have children, chickens do not count as children.
A couple of weeks ago, I listened to an episode of Longest Shortest Time that featured an interview with NPR legend Terry Gross regarding her decision to not have kids. In the interview, she discusses choosing a career over motherhood—a novel decision for that generation, and a decision that helped pave the way for women to feel like they have a choice. She also openly admitted that kids were just never really her thing.
As someone who doesn't have kids, and doesn't plan to have kids, I can relate. Though, I wouldn't say I chose my career over motherhood, given I don't really have a career to speak of at the moment. I don't remember at any point in my life aspiring to be a mother—mind you, I'm not saying I actively aspired not to be a mother, the idea of motherhood was just never an idea that I had. And, it's not to say the thought of a life with children never popped into my head, it just never stuck.
I don't remember at any point in my childhood pretending to have a baby, or playing with dolls. In fact, I remember having a blonde haired doll with eyes that opened and closed. I thought her name was China, because that was the name stamped on her back, not realizing that's where the doll was made—probably by children. That doll creeped me out so badly, I'm almost positive I made my mom keep it in her bedroom closet so it wouldn't kill me in my sleep. If that wasn't some sort of psychological red flag indicating my feelings toward parenting, then I don't know what is.
I don't dislike kids, although maybe my first job at 16 as a cashier at Toys R Us acted as a subconscious form of birth control. My current job has me working with children on a daily basis, and for the most part, they're all hilarious and adorable little creatures. Between the two of us, Casey and I have a bunch of nieces and nephews, and we adore them. Hopefully I have provided enough evidence to establish myself as someone who is not a child-hating troll. All that said, I don't know that I like children enough to have one of my own, and I don't think having one to see how I feel about it is a very bright idea. I love coming home to my quiet, cleanish home after a crazy day, and I appreciate the freedom of being able to walk away from someone else's kid when it starts to act like an asshole.
I also think about what the last 3.5 years of my life has entailed—getting divorced, finding love, quitting my job, moving to a new city, taking a 2 month road trip before settling in a different new city, and making the decision to go back to school—I'm not saying that it would have been impossible to do all these things if I'd had kids, but it was a lot easier to make and act on these decisions without children. If that makes me selfish, then I guess I'm selfish.
Anyway, that's my story. I'm planning to write a couple more posts from the perspective of a childless 30-something, and thought it would be helpful to offer a little background. This isn't meant to serve as some anti-motherhood manifesto, so hopefully it doesn't come off that way. I think, as a whole, we are way too judgmental as a society, especially when it comes to women and reproduction—whether it's that group of primarily old white dudes we call a government, assholes on message boards, or even our own friends and family— so, as someone who is childless by choice, but not anti-child, I'd like to openly and safely share my perspective and experiences, and maybe even have a chance to learn a thing or two from others whose perspectives and experiences vary from my own.