Talk

Advanced search

To think having kids relieves you of self responsibility

(130 Posts)
GlitterUnicornsAndAllThatJazz Tue 06-Feb-18 19:49:04

Dont lambast me, I was discussing this with a childfree friend and I'm interested to hear what you think.

Dont you think that to a certain extent having kids gives you a kind of "get out of free" card? The rhythms of your life, your finances, your lifestyle are dictated by the kids to a certain extent. You dont have as much pressure to face as many existential questions because you've already fulfilled qhat we're biologically programmed to do. You don't have the scary directionless of choice, because your life is somewhat funneled by what the kids need.

My friend is childfree and I have yet to decide, but it also seems like if you're childfree you alao have to be "living the dream": you have to be a hardcore career woman or jetting off left right and centre "making the most" of your "freedom". If you're just living a "pedestrian" life on low income, its like you havent met society's ideal of what they would want you to be living as someone without kids.

It just seems like subconsciously (because obviously most parents love their kids and their kids bring them joy) having children is a kind of solution to the meaning of life. Once you've had them, your purpose and meaning is justified and anything else you might do is a nice extra raison d'etre.

Meanwhile without children, you need to answer those questions for yourself: who am I? What do I live for? What meaning does my life have?

What do you think?

confusedandemployed Tue 06-Feb-18 19:51:37

I disagree. I love my DD more than I know but she doesn't define who I am.

afrikat Tue 06-Feb-18 19:53:58

I don't feel that way at all. I love my kids but I am still a person over and above 'mum'. I still have hopes, dreams, aspirations outside of parenthood and there is so much more I want to achieve out of life

Believeitornot Tue 06-Feb-18 19:54:11

I disagree.

If anything, having children has made me ask these questionable because I see that life is short and I want to enjoy it as much as I can. Having children has made me realise just what is the point in many things and I need a good reason to be doing something. Eg sitting there slogging away in a crap job which takes me away from my dcs. I would rather do a decently job or no job at all - and need to find a way to make either happen.

clippityclock Tue 06-Feb-18 19:54:39

Slightly off point but on Radio 2 this morning there was an old woman (100) speaking about how people have it harder now, even though some things are better, because everybody has to be ambitious etc. She stated people seemed happier back in the day because people accepted their lot and were more content. I'm not very good at writing exactly what she said.
It did seem true though, nothing is ever enough nowadays and unless we are earning loads or in high powered jobs we are not deemed successful to some and ourselves. No-one seems to just live and enjoy what they have.
I agree with you to a point and have even known women to have kids because they didn't know what else to do or what they wanted to be.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 06-Feb-18 19:56:35

I disagree.

You dont just yourself to be responsible for, but the sole responsibility of other people too.

ruleshelpcontrolthefun Tue 06-Feb-18 19:57:35

I've been less bothered about dying since I had my DC because I feel like I won't actually be dead...I've passed my youth or whatever on to them. Hopefully I've got a few years or decades left though.

WhooooAmI24601 Tue 06-Feb-18 19:58:55

Meanwhile without children, you need to answer those questions for yourself: who am I? What do I live for? What meaning does my life have?

I think those questions are for everyone, children or no.

I have two DC. I have friends with no DC. All of us are fucked-up and foolish in our way, we all question what on earth we're doing with our lives at times. There's no difference between someone with a child and someone without a child other than perhaps less cash (I'm perpetually broke thanks to DS1's gigantic shoe situation) and less sleep.

I don't truly believe that many of us are 100% fulfilled by our DC to the extent that those questions no longer exist.

GlitterUnicornsAndAllThatJazz Tue 06-Feb-18 19:59:20

@ruleshelpcontrolthefun
Yes I can imagine that, and its a big part of what i mean when I say your existence doesnt need justifying to yourself.

Trills Tue 06-Feb-18 20:00:31

I think it's definitely true that it is more acceptable to be childfree if you are doing things with your life that are incompatible with children.

Sometimes people say "I'd done all my clubbing in my early 20s, I was ready for nights in with a cup of tea" when they talk about how they chose to have children.

It's perfectly possible to like a child-friendly life (cups of tea, gardening, no dramatic travel or dedicated charity work or all-consuming hobbies) and still not want to have children.

bigmouthstrikesagain Tue 06-Feb-18 20:01:12

Having children doesn't give you immunity from existential crises. I have three and I am 40 something and looking back at my life wondering what I have achieved, what I can still do with my life. It is also an odd presumption, to say people are exempt from having to worry about they have done with their life if they have children. Men rarely get defined by their parental status, is your question aimed only at women?

coldstreams Tue 06-Feb-18 20:01:15

I agree.

GlitterUnicornsAndAllThatJazz Tue 06-Feb-18 20:01:49

"I have two DC. I have friends with no DC. All of us are fucked-up and foolish in our way, we all question what on earth we're doing with our lives at times. There's no difference between someone with a child and someone without a child other than perhaps less cash (I'm perpetually broke thanks to DS1's gigantic shoe situation) and less sleep."
@WhooooAmI24601
Isn't that a little (unwittingly!) disingenuous though? There has to be a difference, otherwise why did you have them? If you really liked kids and thats all there is to it, you could have just chosen a career that involved working with them?

Love the username btw. "The summers die, one by one!"

BossWitch Tue 06-Feb-18 20:02:52

I think I agree... for me, it takes some pressure off. So I can accept that I hate my job and will be sacking off my career soon, might not be able to build a successful second career, but I am able to think of myself as not a complete failure because I am (hopefully) a good mum. If my professional life doesn't give me a sense of meaning and purpose, as at present, my family life does.

So yes, I can see what you're getting at OP.

wakemeupbefore Tue 06-Feb-18 20:03:12

Totally agree, OP. Then again, I had good few decades of debaucherous fun and bashing of the glass ceilings before the little darlings arrived so no regrets and so happy and content letting abovementioned darlings dictate my future decisions etc.

GlitterUnicornsAndAllThatJazz Tue 06-Feb-18 20:04:17

@bigmouthstrikesagain
I definitely feel men have less to answer to.

You could be a 45 year old guy working the tills at Sainsbury's with no kids and nobody would wonder if there was a "story" to it.

If youre a woman its like either you need to be a mother, or you need to be an exciting career jetsetter and artist or something.

Trills Tue 06-Feb-18 20:04:49

I had good few decades of debaucherous fun and bashing of the glass ceilings before the little darlings arrived

Was that deliberately proving my point? grin

It's not a straight decision between bashing debauchery and having children.

Fabellini Tue 06-Feb-18 20:05:26

I think I get what you mean op...it’s not that you’re defined by your children, it’s more that the greater society doesn’t expect you to “live your best life” because it’s a commonly held notion that once you’ve got kids you’re already doing that...or if you’re not, it’s because you can’t...because you’ve got kids.
If you’re child free, even though you might well be perfectly content living what others might perceive as a mundane existence, there’s an unspoken pressure to get out there and do stuff, exciting and interesting stuff, sometimes expensive stuff, that you’re not necessarily expected to if you’re a parent.

LastOneDancing Tue 06-Feb-18 20:06:16

Interesting...

I'd definitely agree that my children give me sense & purpose at the moment (they are small). They literally give me something to do all the time and being their mum made me whole (vom) - it is literally the best thing I will ever do with my life.

But despite this, I'm still left regularly thinking 'fuck I'm 40 this year and I haven't done anything yet!' And as they get more independent I will probably feel that more & more.

I think you're probably also right about child free people with lower incomes. The benefit of being without kids is all that glorious freedom, but without the means to travel or invest in a hobby, what do you do with it? DH dreams of our previous child-free travels... I dream of having the time and space to learn to sew... but it all takes money.

While kids tick an enormous box on my life 'to do list' they are not the only thing I need to produce to feel I have fully lived my life.

Trills Tue 06-Feb-18 20:06:50

Well said @Fabellini - that's what I was getting at too.

Cooloncraze Tue 06-Feb-18 20:07:44

Totally agree OP. I find it quite liberating to have loads of decisions and choices taken away even. I like how much less time I spend thinking about myself/ relationships/ career/ travel and all the amazing new experiences that having children bring. I like that my life has become smaller too.
Of course, I still work hard but life is different now and my career doesn’t define me like it used to. Which was pretty stressful.

GlitterUnicornsAndAllThatJazz Tue 06-Feb-18 20:07:46

@Fabellini
Exactly that. Like if you were just going to sit around in your dressing gown watching youtube on your friday night then why didn't you have kids? So let me get this straight - you havent changed the world? Because I mean Emma, well Emma has 3 kids, thats a lot of work, shes so stressed, she barely gets time to have a shower! But I mean, you...what do you DO with your life exactly?

Fabellini Tue 06-Feb-18 20:08:10

So I suppose what I mean is that, it’s not how you feel inside - whether you’ve got children or not - it’s the way you’re viewed by other people.

LtGreggs Tue 06-Feb-18 20:08:12

I can see what you mean a bit. In many ways, kids limit/direct your choices, and you can say less choices = simpler life.

I think pre-kids it was easier for me to be completely focused on one thing - for me that was job, but could have been hobby or whatever. With kids I'm always balancing many things. So in that way, life is more complicated (richer?) - but often manifests in much practical stuff to do, rather than existentialist ideas to pursue.

Also I think you are in some ways right about the 'meaning of life' - I've passed on my genes to an heir & a spare, so at one level that's Job Done. But I don't fancy sitting on sofa watching walls saying that's that for the next 50 yrs either!

(my phone autocorrects pre-kids to pre-Islamic. Wtf?)

CapnHaddock Tue 06-Feb-18 20:09:32

I totally get what you mean. I lie awake with far fewer existential questions nowadays. Not to say I sleep better - I just have more quotidian demands to worry about because I'm responsible for more people and more mundane things.

And I worry more about dying

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: