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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.

AKissIsNotAContract Fri 04-Jan-13 12:38:52

I have lots of friends who are childfree by choice, as well as my best friend who has had 4 failed IVF attempts and desperate to be a parent.

I'm the same age as you OP and not quite ready yet. I wouldn't worry, lots of women leave it until 35 or beyond to have children. When I think of how much I changed from 25-30, if I change that much again, I'll probably be ready in a couple of years.

Megatron Fri 04-Jan-13 12:39:45

I didn't have my first til I was 37. I was pretty unsure up until that point as I had a great career which paid really well, found children a little trying and didn't want to change my life too much. Then I met DH and everything changed for me as I felt that he was the one I really wanted to have children with even though I didn't know that was what was holding me back.

My life is totally different now as, to my surprise, children turned out to be 'my thing', I re trained and I now work with children. If you had told me that 15 years ago when I was 30 I would honestly have laughed in your face. grin. I am more than happy with my choice but you should also be happy with yours.

Aliglobetrek Fri 04-Jan-13 12:40:10

I was exactly like you when I was 30. I had a lot of the same concerns as you too. I'm now 35 and have a 4 month old baby boy. We've done loads of exotic holidays and have a pretty good income but I just started to feel over the last couple of years that something was missing.
Now he's here I love him to pieces and don't regret it one bit.
The thing is you can still travel etc with children and we still eat out - we just go earlier than we used to. We're going on our first holiday in a couple of weeks and are planning a trip to the Far East next year.

Overall it's a massive decision but you've still got loads of time so just see how you feel in a few years.

TheFallenMadonna Fri 04-Jan-13 12:46:37

You don't sound like you would be a terrible mother, I hope. You sound a bit like me. I have two children, adore them and am happy with my choice. I have a colleague who has made a different choice, and I am sometimes wistful when she describes her lifestyle though. And her relationship with her husband reminds me of the intense relationship I had with DH pre children, that has now changed, not necessarily for the worse, but changed for sure. I am sometimes wistfully nostalgic for that too.

Gooshka Fri 04-Jan-13 12:47:06

I don't think you'd be an 'awful mother' at all; on the contrary you'd probably be a good mum on the basis that you've given it a great deal of thought (and considered the sacrifices/major life changes that parenthood entails rather than going into it blindly/with rose tinted glasses like a lot of people do).

As I see it, you're more likely to regret not having children than to regret having them (once you have them, you cant imagine life without them and your biggest fear in life becomes losing them!). The important thing is to make sure (as far as you're able to) that you're with the right partner.

Give it time and see how you feel but don't listen to people who say you'd be a bad mother (if only more people were like you before they decided to have kids, the world might be a better place). In the meantime, enjoy your freedom and try not to let other people's kids cloud your judgment - it's TOTALLY different when you have your own!

KenLeeeeeee Fri 04-Jan-13 12:49:07

Ambersocks that was a dreadful thing to say! hmm

OP, if you don't want children, you don't need to justify it. You sound like you enjoy your lifestyle as it is, so carry on! You're only 30, so nowhere near leaving it too late to chsnge your mind if you did.

motherinferior Fri 04-Jan-13 12:49:37

I am madly envious of lots of people without kids. And when mine were smaller, was even more madly envious. And I do love my children, madly, but oh how I fantasise about just bogging off, on my own, quite a lot....

Hammy02 Fri 04-Jan-13 12:50:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Angelico Fri 04-Jan-13 12:51:31

At 30 you are still a spring chicken smile I was still single at 30 and the prospect of marriage / children terrified me. It's something that creeps up gradually I think. I am now mid-thirties and have just had first DC 3 months ago. It happened at the right time but it helps that I fulfilled a lot of other ambitions first, which have given me an identity beyond 'mum'.

And small children generally annoy me too but your own really is different. Ditto the sleep thing - but you adapt so quickly - and if you're lucky like us they start sleeping through fairy soon! smile

Oh and agree with others re Ambersocks - fucking obnoxious comment - you are no more likely to be a bad mum than any of us! confused

baremadness Fri 04-Jan-13 12:53:19

Not everyone wants kids and you should never have them if you dont want them. HOWEVER the fact that you are asking this question on mumsnet says to me that you want to be convinced....

redrubyshoes Fri 04-Jan-13 12:54:53

try this website


Can be very, very anti-children though hmm

fromparistoberlin Fri 04-Jan-13 12:55:13

i have a friend who has no kids through choice, neither she or her DP wanted them

1 100% respect their decision

I hate it when selfish fucks have kids as its the next thing on their to do list

I also work with alot of happy 40-50 something women who are childless

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

I was a lot like you before I had children except I didn't find children annoying, as such, they just weren't on my radar and I was all too aware of the things I'd have to give up.
We decided to have them as my husband wanted them very much.
I would say that I could be happy without children but not without my children. So, I wouldn't miss them if I hadn't had them, but I couldn't be without them now I have had them (as you'd expect!)
I do sometimes wonder now though whether I was doing loads of stuff to fill up a bit of a gap in my life that I don't have now (although I didn't feel like it at the time.
I'd say don't have them yet or even ever, especially if your partner's not bothered. You probably won't regret them but you will regret having to give things up that you might be too old to go back to when they're more independent.

festivelyfocussed Fri 04-Jan-13 12:57:52

I wanted to reply flippantly aand tell you that all my childless friends are thin, rich, young -looking with fabulous socail lives and exciting sex
Iives. But I'll just give you my own POV: I didn't have my PFB until I was 39. Many of your reasons for not having children resonated with me. In many ways I really I wish I'd started earlier in life but DH and I didn't marry until I was 37 and I guess I wasn't ready.
We all assume we have a choice but of course for some ppl that's not the case. It's easy to see the downside of parenting ((some of which you've highlighted yourself)finances, nappies, less time with dp, changes to your body, lack of sleep.........)) but until I had my son I couldn't appreciate the overriding, ovwhelming joy he's brought to my life.
I don't think my (deliberately) childless friends are any less happy Than I am, it's just a different way of life.

Lottapianos Fri 04-Jan-13 12:58:46

'I also work with alot of happy 40-50 something women who are childless '

Please can I come work with you fromparistoberlin smile

My friend told me that she was talking with her neighbour about this recently. He said he and his wife are going to start TTC even though neither of them are all that bothered about having a baby and have no experience of being around children. He said it's just because 'that's what you do' after a few years of marriage, you 'change up'. Sounds like a really well thought-through plan eh? hmm

Momsnatter Fri 04-Jan-13 12:59:05

Actually, you're 30 so you could go back to adventure sports when they're older (but you're tastes might change)

Lottapianos Fri 04-Jan-13 13:01:17

The thing is, everyone has their issues. Childfree people don't all have holidays in Barbados or quaff champagne or drive fast cars. Parents don't lie around gazing at their baby all day, plumped up on white soft pillows and feeling blissed out 24/7. There are losses and gains with every choice, it's just a case of finding out what works for you. Oh and trying to ignore pressure from other people - not easy smile

HeadFairywithacapitalHandF Fri 04-Jan-13 13:01:47

I was going to be very sympathetic until I read this " 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"

So people who have children are boring are they? In my time I've been a scuba diving instructor, worked a ski season, worked around the world, sailed 40,000 sea miles, travelled extensively in Borneo, south America, south east Asia and Nepal, almost all of it off the beaten track. I've spent months barefoot in jungles and living on beaches.

If you think the way your OP makes you sound like you think, then no, I don't think children are for you, but mostly because you seem to carry around a huge amount of prejudice about what being a parent actually is. My children have travelled with us, ds was skiing at the age of 3, and hiking in the alps, they've both travelled long haul, been to festivals, done adventurous things and as they get older we'll have more and more opportunities to do exciting things. I can't wait to teach both of them how to dive and sail.

If you think having children limits your horizons then perhaps you're not ready for them.

RobinsBaubleSparkles Fri 04-Jan-13 13:02:25

Just because of the way you feel, it doesn't mean that you will be an awful mother - what a horrible thing for AmberSocks to say!

YY to finding other people's children annoying! I do and I have two!

OP, you don't have to have children but I can understand why you would feel pressured to. My next door neighbours are in their late 30s and don't have children. I don't actually think that they want them (I haven't asked as that would be beyond nosy) but my ILs are constantly asking me about them "does she want children? Are they trying for a baby? Do you think they'll have them? If they want them they're leaving it late!" I always want to scream, I DON'T BLOODY KNOW!

How would you feel if you were to suddenly find yourself pregnant? Would you be horrified or would you be ok with it? You've got a bit of time yet though.

motherinferior Fri 04-Jan-13 13:07:55

Oh, come on, children do limit your horizons. Well, they've limited mine, anyway. (Possibly I was limited before, granted.) They are exhausting and expensive. One fritters away attention on phonics and becomes obsessed by school league tables. You have to think about food, constantly (I am uncomfortably aware I ought to be going downstairs and doing lunch rather than doodling on the computer. Then I will have to think about supper. My partner is away and I am already grimly resenting this food planning.) My life has changed, hugely, since I produced my beloved Inferiorettes and much as I love them, I have at times resented the realities of parenthood quite bitterly.

wherearemysocka Fri 04-Jan-13 13:18:34

I'm in the same position as you, OP - stable relationship, early (well, mid) thirties, I'd step up if I accidentally got pregnant (although I'm very careful) but can't see myself making an active decision to have them.

I completely see the point a poster made upthread about the difference between children in general and your own children. For all I know I could have decided to move to Australia when I was 20. It might have made my life better, might not have, the point being I'll never know and it's harder to miss something you never had. Of course the thought of not having your child is unthinkable to most parents - it's your child, it exists, totally different to the existence of a hypothetical child.

I find the pressure of colleague and friends to justify our decision really frustrating though. I've taken to smiling and saying 'because we choose not to.' Any argument you try to make gets dismissed out of hand with the usual 'oh, you'll change your mind...' Grrrrrr!

GwendolineMaryLacey Fri 04-Jan-13 13:21:55

I don't like women in their 30's who do adventure sports. I'm worried I might find them really boring...

Whether you want them or not, I would love to slap people who roll out a blanket "I don't like kids". Try looking at them as individuals and not basing your like or dislike on their age and you might get a bit further. Otherwise you might as well say you don't like pensioners, you find them annoying. But you'd get your arse kicked if you said that. Funny eh?

FeijoaVodkaAndCheezels Fri 04-Jan-13 13:23:04

My sister and her husband are both in their late thirties and don't want and won't ever be having children. They have a life that suits them perfectly and honestly doesn't have room for kids. I once asked her if she would take my children should something ever happen to myself and DH and she said no. She was very honest in her reply about no wanting to be stuck with a child she would resent for ruining her career and lifestyle. I was fine with that.

Now I know people will read that and think wow my sister is selfish. I think not. She is happy to give short term help should it be needed and I have a friend whose parents never wanted children, but obviously weren't careful enough. This poor girl has some terrible self confidence issues as a result. Not all parents who didn't want children change their mind when they do end up with a child and it is very unfair on the whole family.

That said you don't sound 100% convinced you don't want children. It maybe in a few more years you will be ready for them (just don't leave it to late), but if you don't change your mind and kids aren't for you then that is okay too.

GwendolineMaryLacey Fri 04-Jan-13 13:24:28

redrubyshoes Why on earth would you link to that site? hmm They're not anti child they're absusive, nasty fuckers. There is no need for the language used there and i seriously question the decency of anyone who feels the need to join in.

DragonMamma Fri 04-Jan-13 13:24:28

I don't know many child-free couples, most of my friends are early 30s and haven't even began to think of settling down. Out of all of my friends it's only me and one other who have them. The rest are travelling, doing what they want and basically living a Peter Pan lifestyle - it's enviable at times but I do often wonder what will happen if they carry on these lifestyles and forgo having a relationship/kids in the longer term. There's only so many wild nights out you can have without the shine starting to wear off.

Re the only holidaying in child friendly resorts, this is absolutely not the case for a lot of people. There are some really interesting blogs of families that travel the world with their kids in tow, so it is doable if you get creative.

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