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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.

Mumblepot26 Sun 06-Jan-13 22:29:52

ambersocks what an outrageous thing to say! Hang your head in shame. OP keep an open mind....

JamieandtheMagiTorch Sun 06-Jan-13 18:43:58


JamieandtheMagiTorch Sun 06-Jan-13 18:43:41

I identity with a lot of that thread. The early years are so hard, so relentless, at times, boring, and shook my confidence (SAHM). You are having to learn a new identity, and integrate into your old one. When mine started full time nursery/school I felt like a person whose head was above water for the first time in years.

But for all that, even in the worst times, I never regretted it, and the older they've got the more I've enjoyed it/them. You teach them, and you learn just as much. I can't think of anything else that would do that for me.

PacificDogwood Sun 06-Jan-13 08:53:33

I read that thread at the time and identify with a lot of the feelings on it. At times. Not most of the time.

So much depends on what kind of a baby you have, what support there is in place, where you live, how you life, what your expectations are, what personality you have.

It's an interesting debate to be had, but at the end of the day everybody needs to make the decision whether or not/how many children to have for themselves. And once you've decided, it may not work out the way you thought.... it is a leap of faith, no doubt.

higgyjig Sun 06-Jan-13 04:40:21

For all the twee/smug discussion going on in this thread:

Sunnywithshowers Sat 05-Jan-13 23:20:01

Pacific I'm 41 and not remotely hip. grin I love my classmates, my cat is older than most of them.

I embarrass my niece and nephew when I can. It's my solemn duty as an aunt. grin

PacificDogwood Sat 05-Jan-13 22:59:11


Sunny, my dad was a university lecturer and I have really notice how he lost the ability to see young people as people first and foremost since he retired. Now all he sees is piercings and tattoos as 'ridiculous headphones' and weird fashion choices. As long as he still taught I never heard him comment on that kind of stuff. He is almost 80 now, mind... I am sure you are a hip young thing, yourself!

Btw, I have never with wiv it in my entire life, so have no illusions really on that count. Also, I think, as a parent it is my goddammned duty to mortally embarrass my children when the occasion arises grin.

Sunnywithshowers Sat 05-Jan-13 22:30:24

Arf at 'with it' Pacific. No kids but have just started uni - I'm finding my fellow students are keeping me young. Or at least I hope so smile

PacificDogwood Sat 05-Jan-13 22:04:57

Oh my, epic post, sorry blush

PacificDogwood Sat 05-Jan-13 22:04:27

To this day, I don't really know why I had children, wanted children.
I was never broody.
DH and I had a really rather nice life together.
There was nothing 'missing'.
I certainly did not have children to have them 'look after me' in my old age which must (in the wealthy western world) be the most crap, selfish reason to create new life of them all IMO.
I am not fond of babies.
I can take or leave most Other People's Children; although some are very lovely and interesting people in their own right.
They are expensive.
And noisy.
And ruddy annoying at times.
When there is more than one child, the possibilities for conflict are almost endless.
My fridge is full of junk food mainly DH's.
Getting up several times at night does not go well with wine.
Although there are 3 computers in this house, I struggle to get to use one as long as they are awake.

I could go on grin.

And yet - I wanted them. More than 1. I have 4 shock.
So, apart from some kind of atavistic need to procreate which I am certainly not aware of in my emotional armory, what on earth possessed us??
I had a very philosophical 5 minutes recently, walking back home from work in the dark, where the thought of my ageing and eventually not being here anymore felt really ok and almost comforting, as just as my 99 year old gran is sure to die sooner rather than later, yet I am still here, when I am no more, my DSs will (hopefully) still be here. Does this make any sense at all??

I also like the idea, particularly as a rather geriatric mum grin, that having children who will grow and develop, will allow me to be 'with it (or at least know what IS with it) a teeny bit longer wink. Maybe I am deluded, but no matter, I am enjoying my pack most of the time.

zapotek Sat 05-Jan-13 21:51:31

I like most children- it's some of the parents I object to!

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 05-Jan-13 21:11:03

dismissing I mean!

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 05-Jan-13 21:10:30

I find it weird when people say they don't like other peoples children. Isn't that really saying you don't like children, since only a tiny proportion of children will be yours!
I agree with GwendolineMaryLacey, that desimissing a whole swathe of the population simply because of age is peculiar.
Some children I like a lot, some I am indifferent to, others I don't like much, just like anybody.

Grapesoda Sat 05-Jan-13 16:54:59

Thebody: all the time, the worry. Yourmiddle sentence brought tears to my eyes (but i am pregnant and so hormonal)

legoballoon Sat 05-Jan-13 16:43:35

The couples I know without children seem to have more money, less stress, smarter homes, good marriages, more (and more exotic) holidays etc. They may look at us and think 'They have it all: cute kids, cosy clutter, fun etc.' More likely they may step over the threshold, glance at each other and think 'Thank god that's not us'. Who knows? You never know what really goes on behind closed doors.

From what I do know, some of our friends wanted to have kids, but couldn't; others chose not to. That probably plays a big part in whether these couples have any 'regrets' about being childfree.

I think I wasn't particularly clucky, but there was an element of 'the path less trodden' - I knew that if I didn't have kids it was an experience I'd never be able to replicate. As it happens, I fell in love with the DC and despite the stress, lack of sleep, negative effect on finances, necessary lack of spontaneity etc., it still somehow seems like a good thing.

As for not really enjoying being with other people's kids - I read once that Kids are like Farts - you can tolerate (or even like!) your own, but other people's... So, your feelings about other people's kids does not necessarily mean you'd be a rubbish parent.

As others have said, at 30, no need to sweat it too much. Do some travelling, persue your career, have uninterrupted nookie at the weekends etc. If you suddenly feel the urge to procreate, I'm sure your ovaries will let you know. If you don't, all the better - put your energies and resources into hedonistic and altruistic activities of your own choosing.

twentythirteen Sat 05-Jan-13 16:35:15

I understand the question OP. I had it for a long time, was very similar to you, I was fulfilled by my life and not tempted by the lifestyle of being a parent. The biological clock kicked in big time rather unexpectedly a year ago, I'm 40 and suddenly needed a family. I couldn't have started trying any earlier but I wish it was otherwise.

ppeatfruit Sat 05-Jan-13 16:28:32

Yes I SOOO agree shebird. Chandon Not only would it be a hard slog it would be very unkind to the DCs who didn't ask to be born ( a cliche I know but a true one).

A poster upthread said she knows people who've TOLD their DCs they are unwanted how could anyone be so effing cruel?

Chandon Sat 05-Jan-13 15:33:06

I would advise anyone like OP not to have children, yet.

I think it would all be very hard slog if you did not really really want them.

I have friends without children, they seem to be more affluent, rested and better-off on the whole.

As to having children as a kind of insurance policy for company at old age, grandchildren etc. .....that is never a given. How much are YOU doing for your elderly relatives? ...

shebird Sat 05-Jan-13 15:32:56

When/ if you get to the point in your life where you really long for a child then yes you should have one. Do not have a child because its the done thing or because your friends are doing it. Unless you are willing to let hobbies, career, travel etc. take a back seat for the next 10-15 years then forget it.

I have friends who have children (all planned) and all they do is moan about how hard it is and how unfair it is that they can no longer do the things they used to do. These are intelligent people, just what did they expect life would be like? Being a parent will mean being unselfish and putting someone else's needs before yours and DP. If that's not for you then don't do it.

thebody Sat 05-Jan-13 15:31:09

If you want to preserve your health, wealth and sanity don't have kids.

If you don't want to experience the total and absolute agony and terror at the thought of loosing one of those children that you would absolutely die for at any moment then don't have kids.

But I wouldn't be without my 4 for all that.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 05-Jan-13 15:19:32

And FWIW you would be a fine mum, if you did choose that path. It's people who assume they would be naturals at it, and who have a Disneyfied view of parenting who end up resenting their kids and wishing they had never done it.
Realists are better at taking the rough with the smooth imo, which is actually the essential skill of being a good mum.

snowmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 15:15:11

I don't think you'd be an awful mum and Ambersocks was way out of order. You're only 30, you have ages yet. Don't overthink it and see what happens in a few years. You may feel differently.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 05-Jan-13 15:06:36

I like scuttlebutter's post of page 6.
I think when I didn't have dc I was a bit prejudiced about parents more than children.I lived somewhere quite well-to-do, and the place seemed infested with couples in their 30's and 40's loudly overparenting their expensively kitted out offspring.

When I accidentally got pregnant with ds, by the wrong man in the course of a fling, I thought "Fucking disaster" but I went ahead (against the advice of all my friends, who said things like you!? with a baby?!)
I think partly though, I went ahead because I knew deep down I wanted kids at some point, and it seemed wrong for me personally to not live with my mistake because the timing was very a bit off.
It has totally changed my life, but then I am single, and being a single parent can be quite hardcore, in that you have even less freedom at first.

As ds has got older it has got easier and easier, and I don't feel confined in the same way. We go climbing together, and camping. I go off for weekends with my friends occasionally (lucky to have willing grandparents).
I have ressurected my pre-children hobbies of dodgy theatre and unreliable men. I compartmentalise my life. Being a mum is part of it, as it is for most women in the world. It's not my whole life.

I don't really feel I have much in common with the other school mums. I still feel closer to my old friends.
The friends who told me I was nuts for having ds are now mostly single, and, for various reasons have no children, even though they would all like to, and I worry they may not get to do it now as they are 35-39.
I guess what I am saying is this:
People are all individual. Children can be lovely, or annoying, parents can be overbearing bores, or just people with kids, and who you are is who you are.
It doesn't really change. Children complicate things, yes, but in the end your child raising days are relatively short. You might live to be 100. Having children is another strand in life's rich tapestry, to misquote some geezer. grin.
If I were you I would think about how you would feel if you got pregnant.
Would it be " fucking disaster" but do it anyway, or would you feel differently?

Ephiny Sat 05-Jan-13 14:54:40

I've seen several threads on here about people who regret having children. It's probably more common than you might think, it's not exactly something most people would want to say in real life, if they even admit it to themselves.

I remember seeing a survey a few years ago that suggested generally having children makes people less happy not more (and the more children you have, the more unhappy and dissatisfied you tend to feel) so there probably are plenty of people who might have been better off not having any.

Also agree there are no guarantees that you're going to have a good relationship with your children when they grow up.

MardyArsedMidlander Sat 05-Jan-13 14:24:09

'Not many people regret having their children but I have known people who regret not having them at all'

Actually there was a heartbreaking thread on here a few months ago about women who regretted having children.

And I recently did a brief secondment to adult social care- and all the old people we were dealing with had children. And most of the children just didn't want to know sad. Not the work to do just before Xmas! One lovely old lady had two sons- the one in this country said he didn't want any contact o info about his mum, and the one living abroad said he was willing to take phone calls but couldn't come and visit at all. You do wonder 'what the hell happened there?'

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