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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.

AmberSocks Fri 04-Jan-13 12:12:59

yeah i think its best if you dont have kids,you sound like you would be an awful mother!but you obviously know that.

I know a few people who are in their 40s and 50s who chose not to have kids,the ones i know well enough to comment on seem very happy,i guess its a big decision to make so the ones who do make it know that kids arent for them.

I do know a lot of people who decided never to have kids and then changed their minds at the last minute and had a baby at 45 +

MrsMushroom Fri 04-Jan-13 12:13:43

Well in all honesty you've still got a bit of time! You're only don't sound ready for children at all and it's not at all unusual to begin trying at 35 plus these days.

I would leave it for may feel differently in a few years....we change a lot in our 30s.

I was very ready at're not so don't go there!

I know a number of women of different ages who haven't had children and don't regret it. One woman I know is 40, lives alone, amazing career in the arts...loads of mates and nieces and nephews....she's happy and single too.

Another woman...she's 60, divorced, retired, lovely home, two dogs...shes very happy to be allone as she has friends and relations to be with.

AN aunt of mine never had DC though and later said she regretted it. Her and my Uncle had great careers and an amazing home, lots of travel....when they got older they used to worry about the other one dying and leaving one of them alone.

That should go along with your instincts and leave well alone as you're not ready yet.

Strangemagic Fri 04-Jan-13 12:18:20

If you don't want children don't have them,you don't need to justify your choice to be child free .Oh and by the way children are nice,not all are annoying ,just like grown ups really.

lynniep Fri 04-Jan-13 12:19:23

I have a fairly close group of friends ( can't see each other much these days due to location) whom I met back when I was in my mid-20s. We have all taken different paths. Some of us have married and had children. Others have married and chosen not to have children. Others have not married and chosen not to have children. The couples I know who have not had children have done so for exactly the reasons you have stated above. (Not necessarily the anxiety issue - although one friend has MS and this is part of her reasoning) Quite sensibly (unlike me who didnt really think about it at all) they weight up their options over many years and decided that it was just not for them. Their lives are just as fulfilling but in different ways. Like you one couple have been bitten by the travel bug. Other friends plough their hard earned into doing up houses. I think its very brave to decide that you are fulfilled enough with the life you have. There is no need to reproduce after all. You never know what will happen - its a lovely thought that your children will be there in your old age - but they may not be anyway for all kinds of reasons so I wouldnt dwell too much on that idea.

Sunnywithshowers Fri 04-Jan-13 12:20:44

I don't have children, not through choice but circumstance. At 41 I've just started university full-time and I'm really enjoying it.

I'm sad that we won't have children, but it doesn't stop us getting on with life and making the best of it. We have friends and family with children so can be part of a child's life without being their parent.

BunFagFreddie Fri 04-Jan-13 12:20:45

I think those are all valid reasons for not having children. You have to breed to have a happy and fulfilled life.

I'm friends with a couple without children. The man would like them, but the woman has her reservations, as she would have to stop shopping at Waitrose and that sort of thing. They are also having trouble selling their house and finding somewhere bigger.

SIL has decided not to have children, her and DH are on good wages and they can do what they want, when they want.

Tbh the childless couples I know have less stress and more quality time together, but life is what you make of it. People with children can still have an amazing life and good times.

BunFagFreddie Fri 04-Jan-13 12:21:59

I meant you don't have to breed to have a happy life.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 12:22:16

you sound like you would be an awful mother!

Really Ambersocks? hmm

LovesBeingAtHomeForChristmas Fri 04-Jan-13 12:25:34

You don't like kids, you don't want kids, neither does your partner so I'm not sure what you are looking for.

Whatdoiknowanyway Fri 04-Jan-13 12:26:08

When I was first married my stock response to the 'are you planning a family' question was 'when I'm forty'. That was actually code for mind your own business, I was in a competitive industry and didnt feel like discussing my family planning with all and sundry.

I remember one childless by choice woman saying to me that she never regretted her decision not to have children until she saw all her friends enjoying their grandchildren and then she felt she was missing out.

Ultimately it's your choice. 30 means you still have time.

thegreylady Fri 04-Jan-13 12:26:56

I am good friends with two couples who have chosen not to have children.One couple in late 60s now and the other early 60s.
Both are much better off financially than us and do lots of travelling ,have nice cars and big houses.
Both have cats which appear to be child substitutes.
I would say that they are very happy and their choice was mutual and agreed very early.
All were teachers so certainly had children in their lives.
I wouldnt swap with them for anything-for me the joy of children and grandchildren far surpasses anything money can buy.

HollyBerryBush Fri 04-Jan-13 12:27:05

I have three close sets of friends without children

Couple A - in their 60's now - a conscious decision for medical reasons - doesn't regret not having children, has a very fulfilling professional life and now occupies time with with hobbies and church

Couple B - in their 70's - fantastic lifestyle, well travelled etc etc - now realises that they are very lonely and wish to acquire my children as proxy grandchildren - have absolutely no idea what having children entails - and I think they only want the proxy grandchildren because they can't join in any conversations with their peers.

Couple C - touching 50 - (our age) - fantastic life, well travelled, professional career at a high level, amazing amount of investment and property, came out with the comment 'who am I going to leave all this to? What does my life mean?'

sooperdooper Fri 04-Jan-13 12:27:15

Are you me???

I feel the same, I'm 34 - I think it's so preconditioned that everyone expects everyone to want/have children that it's easy to question whether reasons for not wanting them as valid

If you don't want children, don't have them, it's not essential in life, it's a choice you can make, just because most people do want kids doesn't mean that not wanting them is wrong

Megatron Fri 04-Jan-13 12:31:54

If you feel you can't still have a fulfilling life AND have children then don't. You would only resent them.

I would only add that you can have a happy, exciting, fulfilling lifestyle with children as part of that. It all depends how you want to play it really. If you want life to all about you and your DP then I think children may not be for you. Yes, you have to change your life and your priorities when you have children but your life does not end.

Lottapianos Fri 04-Jan-13 12:32:05

AmberSocks, I hope that was just a poor taste joke hmm

It's your choice OP and that's the greatest thing and the biggest burden about the whole situation. The choice feels overwhelming at times. I'm 33 and was stoically childfree until about 30, since then I've been questioning that decision. I would say I'm still 85 - 90% sure that parenthood is not for me but I'm a bit more open to the possibility of changing my mind. It's hard in your early 30s because it feels like absolutely everyone else is either a parent or planning to be a parent and it can feel a bit like there's a great big party going on that I'm not invited to!

Great things about my childfree life: sleep, money to spend on whatever I want, time to spend with DP, I can choose to spend time with children when I want to but have adult time too, can choose how to spend my time, can go out when I want to, can see my friends when I want to, time for hobbies (cooking, reading, watching films in my case), being able to have quiet adult time without interruptions

Absolutely nothing in your OP sounds selfish to me by the way - different things are important to different people.

lljkk Fri 04-Jan-13 12:33:17

then don't have kids. Honestly. It's a perfectly valid choice. Embrace or simply shrug your shoulders & stop worrying about it.

I know a fair few childless folk who regretted not having kids, but then that's easy enough to say.

It's very socially unacceptable to say that anyone regrets having children, so you can't know how many people feel like that (lots, I'll wager).

Tryharder Fri 04-Jan-13 12:34:02

Agree with others. If you don't want children, don't have them. About half of my friends from school are childless by choice. They have amazing lives, lots of travel, holidays, nice houses etc etc.

I am sure part of them wonders if they are doing the right thing and they may live to partially regret their choice. But you can't have everything. I sometimes hanker after my pre-children life: socialising, going to gym 5 times a week, lovely foreign holidays that don't involve Haven or Butlins etc etc.

PoppyWearer Fri 04-Jan-13 12:34:03

My DSis and her DP have decided not to have children or get married.

They have a lot of nieces and nephews between them, and see a lot of them, so get their fix of children that way, then retreat to their lovely peaceful house.

TBH, they are both late-30s and both big kids themselves, and can indulge their hobbies to their hearts' content. They also drive the cars they want, live in a smaller house than they would need if they had kids, and have zero anxiety about job security, knowing they have no dependents.

Other child-free friends (I prefer child-free to child-less, FWIW) indulge their pets or travel lots. Each to their own!

The other thing I would say is that, whilst DH and I knew we wanted children from the start of our relationship, we indulged our travel desires in our twenties and then reached a point in our early thirties where we were ready to put that behind us and start a family. You might find that you and your DP reach that point in 5-10 years' time. It's ok to feel like this now, as long as you are aware of and accept the possible consequences for your fertility (speaking as someone who took 4 years to conceive).

Nanny0gg Fri 04-Jan-13 12:34:11

Blimey AmberSocks don't hold back, will you? Horrible thing to say.
The OP has been honest about her reservations and is asking for, reassaurance, I suppose.
We are none of us perfect, even those with children, and we all have our own reasons for having/not having them.
I don't think I'm a 'natural' mother, and I never wanted children until I met my DH who wanted them very much.
Two DCs and twi DGCs later I am happy with my decision. But I don't know that I would have been unhappy if I'd chosen the other route - until now actually.
Having the DGC is just the best thing ever and it will be lovely going into old age having them (and hopefully more) in my life.
However, if you and your DP are happy as you are, whilst leaving the door open for further discussion in the future then you carry on as you are.

There is no right or wrong, it's whatever suits you.

Fenouille Fri 04-Jan-13 12:34:53

I was you 7 years ago (apart from the health concerns). What swung it for us was that we wanted grandchildren - or rather didn't want to be totally dependent on friends when we got old (I am an only with a very small family) - and while I wasn't (and still am not) massively keen on children my own one is different.

I am also in a well paid job. I'm lucky enough not to have to budget too much but I've found of the last few years I'm spending less on 'stuff' and concentrating spending on important things (like travel, nice food and drink and yes, good child care). I travel a lot for work and for pleasure. I've always had a tendency for slightly out of the way places. DH less so but he generally goes along with my plans. The only change we've made with travelling with DS is that we plan thingsa little more and take slightly more up market hotels than we did before. We've done Asia, America and Europe with DS and I can say that we haven't altered plans for the detinations because of him. We're planning to take some time off work in a couple of years and drive through Africa for example.

That's not to say that life doesn't change at all. Of course it does. And if children aren't for you then don't feel pressured into it. However the only regret I have had about having a child is that i didn't do it years ago when the grandparents were younger and my grandparents were still alive.

I wouldn't say your concerns indicate you would be a 'bad mother' hmm You've still got time to think about how you see your future and probably another decade before you have to rule children out of it.

cocoachannel Fri 04-Jan-13 12:36:32

I think that as long as you and DP are both happy with the choice you an have a very happy life without children. But you have to be sure it is what you both want. I have lovely friends (two couples) who are both in the process if divorce because the man in both relationships thought they would come round to the fact the women they loves didn't want children but in as both approached forty they realised they couldn't not be dads. (Obviously a decision men can make whenever they like...).

Hope whatever you decide works out well for you OP, and as others have said nothing has to be set in stone for now!

blonderthanred Fri 04-Jan-13 12:36:53

I felt quite similarly to you in my late 20s (now 36) and was in a similar situation apart from financially - my DH and I both had creative careers that were rewarding but not very lucrative. However I also had mh issues and never felt broody or particularly interested in children (apart from close friends') and worried about the stress and practical aspects so understand where you are coming from.

However I realised at some point in my 30s that I couldn't envisage myself never having children and after a year of ttc I became pg and now have a 10 wk old DS who is wonderful. I know I want another. I wish I'd started earlier. But I was worried about all the other issues and waiting for that 'I need' feeling to kick in which it never did.

I am not saying you should rush into it but the fact that you are posting this on MN seems that maybe you are considering whether you really do want to be child free.

LeeCoakley Fri 04-Jan-13 12:38:26

I was you at 30. By 34 I was craving a family and went onto have my 3 dds. It has been the best years of my life! I'm now 56 and in 3 or 4 years time they will all be gone and I'm already planning my (and dp's) next phase of our lives! Just be open minded. Children don't stop you doing anything, just a bit of rearrranging of priorities for a few years. The deeply satisfying times outweigh the hard/boring times a million times over! At the moment I wouldn't give it another thought though, you are still so young, just enjoy yourself!

motherinferior Fri 04-Jan-13 12:38:28

They're really not compulsory, children, and plenty of people have an enviably fabulous life without them.

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