to ask you to talk to me about people who DON'T have children

(179 Posts)
Officedepot Fri 04-Jan-13 12:06:27

I am 30 and not sure whether I want kids, mainly for the following reasons:

- I am not actually that sure I like kids that much. As in when I see kids out and about in shops or on trains etc my normal reaction is to be annoyed by them, ie. if they are making a noise, running around getting in the way. Although I know other people who say they felt like this about other people's kids but love their own.

- In my 20s I lacked the confidence to travel, pursue hobbies etc but now I have developed a bit more confidence and have a really fulfilling life and loads of hobbies, mainly adventure sports. I also travel a lot to weird and wonderful places. I think if you are the kind of person whose hobbies extend to shopping and going for coffee and you only holiday in mainstream places then you would be fine having kids but my hobbies / travels are not really stuff that could work around younger kids.

- I worry babies might bore me and teenagers would be too stressful.

- I am lucky that I have a good career and get paid well so I am used to having the money to do pretty much what I want (within reason!). Not sure I want to live the rest of my life on a budget (sorry if that sounds selfish!).

- I actually rather like spending time with DP. Just the two of us grin

- I have also battled with some mental health issues and have anxiety and worry A LOT about various things so not sure how I would cope with kids. I am also someone who NEEDS 8 hours' sleep per night or I really struggle to function / cope.

DP feels the same, although we both acknowledge that we might want kids in a few years' time.

However it does concern me what life would be like without kids, especially when I am older (like my parents' age). I do like the idea of having adult kids I have to say.

Please talk to me about the lives of people (either yourself or someone you know) who does not have kids.

Ephiny Fri 04-Jan-13 14:46:15

I think Ambersocks comment was completely out of order, and unjustified. OP, I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be a good mother if you did have children. That's a different question to whether you want to have them, of course.

I am in a similar situation actually (same feelings about other people's children being annoying, worries about MH issues) and what we've decided to do is wait a few years. I think we can afford to wait because it wouldn't be the end of the world for us if it turned out we couldn't have any. If you were 30 and definitely wanted several children, I'd say get on with it sooner rather than later, but if it's a case of only maybe wanting one, you have more time. We should be in a better situation financially in a few years as well, and I imagine a lot of the stresses of parenting are easier when you can pay for help (night nanny if needed, babysitting etc).

I guess we're a bit different as we're already quite restricted by having dogs, obviously it isn't the same as children but they do cost us a lot and need a fair amount of care and attention (especially as we tend to take on the older ones or those with health/behaviour issues), and restrict whether we can go out for the day spontaneously, the holidays we can go on etc.

Do you normally travel with your DP or alone though? There should be no reason you can't travel if he's at home with the child - plenty of men do this, both for work and leisure, and it's considered perfectly normal (so don't let anyone tell you it somehow becomes wrong when you happen to be female).

Oblomov Fri 04-Jan-13 14:49:10

I too thought that Ambersocks comments was really nasty. shock
I have 2 children. Sometimes I do question whether I should have had children. Because I find parenting quite alot harder than I thought it was going to be, and quite a lot harder than I think you are supposed to.
And I often think dh and I would have enjoyed things so very much if it had just been us.
And I do feel like OP, in that I am not that keen on children generally. Quite often, I am not that keen on my own!!
I have many many friends, who are all turning 40 now. 3 of them jetted off to Budapest today. Soooo jealous. They are totally happy not having had children.
This is perfectly fine Op. How you feel is perfectly o.k. And you may still feel this way in 5/10/15 yrs, or you may feel differently. Either , there is no issue.
Don't let anyone persuade you otherwise.

ppeatfruit Fri 04-Jan-13 15:08:35

I saw a programme featuring the "old" (she was 61 I think) mum who had special treatment to have her first L.O. her DD is 4 or 5 now.

It made me very judgey I'm afraid because the woman said her reason for wanting a DD was to be like the 'other mums". Nothing about whether the child will be happy having a very ill and old mother (the mum was ill anyway). IMO she is selfish. I think the child's life is very important. The O.P. is NBU if in doubt, don't.

Ephiny Fri 04-Jan-13 15:11:18

When I said 'wait a few years', I was thinking more like mid/late 30s, not 60s! The OP is only 30...

fatcuntroller Fri 04-Jan-13 15:12:23

I have a cousin who was always very vocal about her dislike of children and her decision to stay childless. She gave birth to her dd just over a year ago, a month before she turned 46.

I have an older friend who is in her mid fifties who bitterly regrets not having had children. To the point where she has never met my young dc because she finds it too painful sad

Crinkle77 Fri 04-Jan-13 15:12:24

I think it would be completely selfish just to have children for when you get old. Just cos you have kids does not mean that they are going to love and care for you in your old age. The are lots of old people who have families that can't be bothered with them.

If you are happy without children then carry on as you are. AS you say you may change your mind in a few years but don't feel pressurised by those around you or by society in to having kids.

ppeatfruit Fri 04-Jan-13 15:20:54

Yes I know ephiny how are you BTW?! it 's just that that particular woman really got to me!!!!

ppeatfruit Fri 04-Jan-13 15:24:11

Oh crinkle you reminded me about an old woman who was being nursed in the long term ward in hospital by my friend, she had 10 shock DCs and NOT ONE ever came to visit her!!!

BadLad Fri 04-Jan-13 15:25:30

I have never wanted kids.

I can appreciate the joy kids bring to other people but it holds no appeal for me.

I like my life now.

JanuaryJunes Fri 04-Jan-13 15:27:37

Children are a choice not an obligation.

shotofexpresso Fri 04-Jan-13 15:28:43

you sound like you would be an awful mother!

I agree but not in a nasty way, but the choice to have kids has to be in good spirit of the things you will have to sacrifice along the way, even just for a short time,
You're not doing anything wrong you're just being honest, but no from what you wrote no you would not make a good mother, at this moment but that could change, I think you would just resent them tbh.

chandellina Fri 04-Jan-13 15:35:03

You sound like a lot of people I've known and in some ways like me, who didn't really want kids until we started trying and found out it might not be possible. It's totally your choice, the most important thing is your dh feels the same way. Lots of blokes are happy to indefinitely delay but actually do want children later on.

Yakshemash Fri 04-Jan-13 15:37:56

It is the MOST annoying thing in the world to be pitied for something you're very happy about.

No kids - no problem here!

WelshMaenad Fri 04-Jan-13 15:40:01

My aunt and uncle are in their late 50's and child free by choice. I confess I am envious of their lifestyle. They are off to Antarctica in February, it was the Galapagos last year. They have never regretted their decision and gave four nieces/nephews to keep an eye on them in their dotage. Mind you, their dotage will likely be spent climbing in the Himalayas. Again.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 04-Jan-13 15:43:56

By all means don't have children, or do - no-one else's decision but yours.

However, don't make out that the reason you are not having them is because you are so creative, and special and have such a fabulously interesting life - thereby indicating that people who do have children are boring hmm

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 15:49:20

Alibaba - if you read the rest of the OP's posts you'll see that she's not sayng that other people can't have fabulously creative interesting lives with children just that her mental health issues make her feel that it would be too much for her to try to do it all at once.

CailinDana Fri 04-Jan-13 16:01:38

The really hard thing about deciding to have children is that being a parent looks completely different from the inside than it does from the outside. From the outside, it looks like all change and hard work, and that you sacrifice so much. It's easy to forget what you gain from parenting, and you can only really appreciate that gain when you actually are a parent.

Yes you lose freedom, holidays, money etc, and while you might regret those losses and complain about them, in actual fact the vast majority of parents sacrifice those things completely willingly and without any real resentment. You give up those things because you want to. That's what I found quite overwhelming as a new mum - I wanted sleep, badly, but at the same time I wanted desperately to be close to my son, to smell him and hold him. I wanted to stare at him, I didn't want him to sleep because then I might have to spend time away from him. My needing sleep came very much second to my desire to just breathe him in.

If someone told me tomorrow that he was ill and the only way to save him was to remove my right arm and leg I would say "go ahead," and feel utter relief that I could do that for him. There is no doubt in my mind that I would give my life for him - I would stand in front of a gun to save him, I would be hacked to death if that's what it took. When you feel that level of love for someone, someone who depends on you so much, it can feel like a terrible burden at times, as well as gift. I do have moments where I wish I could care less, that I could back to being carefree and I do have definite moments of envy for people who don't have children and who only have to worry about themselves.

But those moments are pretty fleeting. Because what I've lost through being a parent doesn't even being to compare to what I've gained. I have a son and I will soon, all going well, have a daughter. How can a skiing holiday be better than that? If I really wanted to ski, I could. I would have a few days of fun, and it would be great. But can that compare to being handed my very own child, the child who looks up at me like I'm the most important thing ever to have lived? Not a hope.

peaceandlovebunny Fri 04-Jan-13 16:04:13

I do like the idea of having adult kids I have to say
that gave me a giggle!

babies and young children (one's own) are adorable. other people's, not so much. so its not possible to know until you try, and then its too late.

if you think you don't want children, don't have your own. leave it a while and adopt some older children.

peaceandlovebunny Fri 04-Jan-13 16:05:18

There is no doubt in my mind that I would give my life for him - I would stand in front of a gun to save him, I would be hacked to death if that's what it took
that made me cry. because it is so true.

missorinoco Fri 04-Jan-13 16:14:52

I can't talk to you about what it's like without children, but I can see where your question comes from.

Pre children I travelled, ate out regularly, worked abroad. I haven't been abroad now for 4 years, partly financial. I have eaten out with my husband three times in the last year. Do I miss it? I miss the sun and the sleep.

It's a different life, not worse, I wouldn't change it, but I can't say it's better because that would be my perspective.

But think you sound realistic rather than a potentially awful mother. Some parts of childcare are boring. I agree with those posters who say you don't have to decide yet. You could still try in a few years. In which case enjoy life now. I think I don't miss what i had in part because I got to enjoy it at the time.

Delayingtactic Fri 04-Jan-13 16:20:54

A number of your reasons apply to me (and I have a DC!). I'm not a fan of other people's children, the baby stage was pretty boring and I'm scared of the teenager phase. I have a good job with a good salary. BUT I have given up a lot for my DS. I don't regret it, but it is just par for the course.

Nowadays I think it is much more common not to have any children and for it to be perfectly acceptable. Out of mine and DH's groups of friend only about a fifth of us have children and we're all in our thirties. The childless couples are able to be much more spontaneous and take risks that I as a parent just wouldn't (take jobs abroad in far flung places for a year, go trekking, pop over to Europe on a weekend break at a moment's notice because they've seen a deal etc etc). It's deciding for yourself whether what you're willing to sacrifice - I would give up loads more for my DS if needed and wouldn't trade places for all the money in the world. But that's just me.

Saying that, I'm massively broody for DC2 so go on, have a baby - they're lovely grin

Sunnywithshowers Fri 04-Jan-13 16:28:13

lovelyladuree please save your pity for someone who needs it.

Being pitied for not having children is irksome. I don't pity parents.

CailinDana: that post is lovely.

WaitingForMe Fri 04-Jan-13 16:35:47

I think for a lot of people having (planned) children coincides with wanting a different pace of life. Shortly before TTC I went travelling on my own one last time but for me DS won't stop me doing things, I'll just do them differently.

PessaryPam Fri 04-Jan-13 16:37:18

You would feel differently about your own kids. However I wouldn't have them unless you feel that need/urge for them.

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