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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.

mrsjay Fri 04-Jan-13 13:24:54

I have 4 friends with no children in their 40s 1 set of friends is a couple they have a fantastic fulfilled life can go where they like at a moments notice have spare money and all of that envy

EuroShagmore Fri 04-Jan-13 13:33:51

I could also have written your post OP (with the exception of the mental health issues).

I decided when I was a teenager that I didn't want kids. By the time I was 30, I had a great job, was earning a 6 figure salary and in a good relationship with someone else who didn't want kids either. Some time in my early 30s, my biological clock kicked in. My head still didn't want kids but some inner part of me really, really did. We started trying when I was 34 (still quite terrified) and 2 years later are still trying. Children are now what I want more than anything else in the world and I am about to have IVF to try to get them. People change. You might. But if you don't, that's a valid choice. You still have a bit of time to make up your mind anyway.

(Amber what a horrible and childish thing to say.)

redrubyshoes Fri 04-Jan-13 13:36:16


Mumsnet has often been accused of being nasty and bullying. I have found the opposite but that is because I stick to the 'safer' topics and stay out of bunfights. The Childfree Life is the same, some nasty, horrible abusive people and some great support networks.

I linked because TCL site features many articles and books from posters who are genuinely undecided as to whether or not they want DCs and their reasons for and against.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 13:36:46

they're absusive, nasty fuckers. There is no need for the language used there

Sounds like the sort of thing people might write about MN after having read some threads.

Lottapianos Fri 04-Jan-13 13:39:44

Gwendoline, I think it's fine for people to say that they don't like children. I work with parents and lots of them give every impression of not liking children, including their own - that's when it becomes a problem. Children aren't for everyone.

waterrat Fri 04-Jan-13 13:43:11

erm, sorry Op but it's pretty ridiculous to say that all people who have children and enjoy it must only like going for coffees and package / mainstream holidays - most people (ie. statistically the vast majority of people on this planet) have children - many of them have very interesting hobbies just like you do!

I like lots of things and I can't wait to introduce my children to them.

Officedepot Fri 04-Jan-13 13:43:18

HeadFairywithacapitalHandF I am not suggesting parents are boring people one bit. Many of the people I know who have kids did really interesting and adventourous stuff before they had kids, but most of them were at a stage of their lives where they were ready to leave that behind one they had kids. And I am not suggesting their lives are 'boring' now, just different.

Re your example of skiing - yes I know a lot of families with kids ski but that does depend on money. Whilst I am in quite a good financial position now (because I work long hours and have no commitments) and can afford skiing, I doubt whether DP and I would be in a financial position to pay for skiing holidays if we had kids. I imagine that is the case for lots of parents and I think it is reasonable to assume that lots of parents (although not all) would have to go without skiing holidays and other such expensive luxuries once kids come along. If you are in the financial position to take your kids skiing then great, but many people would have to go without.

I don't think I do "carry around a huge amount of prejudice about what being a parent actually is" as you suggest, I am just realistic about the fact that if I did become a parent it would involve making some changes as I could not lead the life I lead now with kids (and if I tried it would make me a very bad parent). I am not saying my life would become boring, but it would be different.

wherearemysocka Fri 04-Jan-13 13:46:28

I have looked at the childfree life site and they do seem to spend a lot of time being quite angry about things. I guess some people are under a lot more pressure to have children and need support for that, but there does seem to be a lot of energy spent on justifying a personal decision.

Have to say I much prefer Mumsnet - so many of the posts have nothing to do with children (and as a teacher I'm genuinely interested in 'the other side' anyway). In some threads like this one my childfree status is relevant, in most it isn't. But it doesn't define me as a person.

edam Fri 04-Jan-13 13:52:53

Having children is not obligatory, and you've got plenty of time to make your mind up - it's not a decision you have to make today, this month, this year...

Children are amazing, joyful, entertaining and fascinating. And equally they can be very frustrating, tiring and irritating (as can the related chores). I'm not particularly fond of other people's children en masse, btw, although some of them are interesting or good company as individuals.

t's not so much that having your own child limits your options for holidays or whatever, but it changes them. In many ways they change your life for the better, but there are downsides.

If you are thinking about grandchildren, there's no guarantee even if you have your own child that they will reproduce in turn...

Officedepot Fri 04-Jan-13 13:52:53

waterrat not saying that all people with kids only like shopping and coffees as clearly that is not the case, just trying to make the point that if you have those hobbies you can probably just take your kids along (although they might get bored so it wouldn't be the same) whereas I have some hobbies that I would have to give up (even if only on a temporary basis) as they would not fit in with kids at all and I probably wouldn't be able to afford them anymore if I had kids.

One of my friends with kids has numerous hobbies, she is very talented at crafts especially sewing and baking, but as these hobbies are home based she can work them around her kids and indeed her kids compliment the hobbies as she makes her DD lovely dresses and bakes amazing cakes for kids' parties

PiePoPiddlyPo Fri 04-Jan-13 13:57:39

I can't afford to go skiing. In fact I haven't been abroad since DD came along, mainly because we can't afford too. Childcare costs are crippling if you work and earn a low or average income.

Callycat Fri 04-Jan-13 14:00:01

I don't think anyone should have to set out why they don't want, or want, kids. Isn't it instinctive - you either want them or you don't? All else is just rationalising.

On the subject, though, it worries me when people have children in order to give their life purpose, or meaning. That puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the child to live a purposeful life, I think. Better to find your own meaning - your children's lives, in the end, are separate from yours.

MardyArsedMidlander Fri 04-Jan-13 14:00:35

I really like children- but only if they are other peoples! I work with children, have done for twenty years, and it was a great liberation when I realised that I really didn't have to have a baby. I think the trouble with working with children is that I realised quite how much work and attention they need and deserve, and that there are some truly terrible parents out there.
My cats are not child substitutes- I swear at them a lot and leave them alone all day with just food and asofa and a garden. And I understand you can't do that with children wink

lovelyladuree Fri 04-Jan-13 14:03:25

I always feel sorry for people who don't want/can't have children. They are missing out on so much.

wherearemysocka Fri 04-Jan-13 14:06:34

I always feel sorry for people who can't imagine anyone could make a different choice to the one they did, and see that as just as valid.

Callycat Fri 04-Jan-13 14:07:34

Reserve your sadness only for those who want kids, but can't have them. Us childfree by choice types are fine, thank you lovelyladuree!

threestepsforward Fri 04-Jan-13 14:07:46

hear hear wherearemysocka

StellaNova Fri 04-Jan-13 14:12:38

I am 37 and the majority of the friends I had before I had children don't have children, if that makes sense. Obviously since I have had children I have made more friends,who do have children, as however much you love them your childfree friends are not going to be around during a workday to go for a coffee, and are not necessarily going to want to come camping with two under fives etc.

Anyway, what I meant to say was out of my six best friends from school and university, all my age, only one has children. If you don't want children, you don't have to have them.

On the other hand the one who does have children travels extensively to interesting places for her job so I don't think once you have kids you are stuck at home, the mall and Center Parcs.

Megatron Fri 04-Jan-13 14:12:51

You shouldn't feel sorry for someone who doesn't want children. They may feel that you at missing out by having them.

halcyondays Fri 04-Jan-13 14:14:55

Imo unless you have lots of money or lots of relatives who love babysitting, or preferably both, then having children will almost certainly stop you doing some of the things you like doing.

Trills Fri 04-Jan-13 14:20:39

I always feel sorry for people who don't want/can't have children.

Do you also feel sorry for people who don't enjoy skiing, or for people who don't like birdwatching, or who have no interesting in watching Downton Abbey, because they are "missing out on so much"?

Fair enough to feel sad for those who would like to but can't, but why would you feel sad for someone who just has different interests to you?

GwendolineMaryLacey Fri 04-Jan-13 14:23:09

It may well be a good site as far as suggested reading etc goes. But crotchfruit? Sorry, wouldn't want to be supported by people like that.

Nothing wrong with childfree at all. I hanker after it sometimes! I think it takes huge courage in this society to say actually, I've decided not to have them, I like my life as it is. That's not an easy thing to say with the amount of badgering the average person gets.

But I do not like a whole section of society being lumped together and disliked by all purely because of their age. It's an absurd thing to do.

moonbells Fri 04-Jan-13 14:27:10

At 20 I was adamant I was Not Ever Going To Get Married.

At 30 I was adamant I was Not Going To Have Children. DP (as he was) was of the same mind. We both liked doing stuff together and alone, I loved skiing and he didn't, so I went on my own. We have a large group of mates, of whom only a few are married let alone with kids.

At 36 I realised I wouldn't mind having one, and I'd really like to be married. Career was well-established (I still work f/t) and at 37 we were married and we had DS when I was 40, after deciding that it it happened, great, if it didn't, we could just carry on as previously. It did, we have him and it's brilliant, but yes it does turn things upside down rather.

No major regrets either way, but I do miss not being able to just go somewhere without having to plan the invasion of a small country. The three couples we know who chose not to have kids go on trips round the world, have latest gadgets, lovely houses etc. The couple who did have them apart from us are pretty much who we socialise with now. They understand. So it does drive a bit of a wedge in, admittedly.

adeucalione Fri 04-Jan-13 14:30:41

OP, I used to think like you but now, when I look back, I get that feeling that you get when you've nearly been run over by a car - I look at my DC and can't believe that I nearly lived a life without knowing them. My lifestyle was compromised for a few years I suppose, but I honestly didn't care one bit, and now they travel with us and the experience is a million times better than it used to be.

Having said that, I know three couples without children, two of them by choice, and they seem to be very happy with their decision too.

101handbags Fri 04-Jan-13 14:31:43

I don’t have children – by choice – but please don’t feel sorry for me! Also please understand that I absolutely respect the choice of those who do have children and see it as just as valid as my choice not to. I am in my early 40s and, apart from one divorced friend, all my friends either have children or are currently expecting them. I have two godchildren and a nephew and I love and spoil them all. I don’t dislike children, I have just never, ever wanted them – my opinion hasn’t ever changed. I fully accept that I just don’t have the right ‘character’ as I see it to be a mother – I hate mess, I hate untidiness, I am not that patient or tolerant, I love being able to do what I want when I want and spend my money as I see fit. My DP and I like the freedom of going away at short notice, going to the theatre, lazing around with a pile of Sunday papers etc. I also suffer from low self esteem and never think I am ‘good enough’ and worry how this would translate into being a mother. I tend to overthink things too as you can see!! I am sure some of my friends with children think my lifestyle is selfish/self-indulgent etc. However, I am tolerant beyond belief with some who talk literally non-stop about nothing but their children, literally nothing. I rarely talk about my own life for fear of boring them and they never ask about it (although they are happy to bore me with every minute detail!). I am also so confused by some friends with children who moan non-stop about them or the lifestyle they now have to lead. Is it because that's what they think someone without children wants to hear? I just don't know. So be confident in your choice either way – you never have to justify your decision to anyone – it just feels like it sometimes.

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