Written by DiveThru Team
Reviewed by Natalie Asayag MSW, LCSW
Choosing To Be Child Free: Why No One’s Opinion But Yours Matters
Published Dec 23rd, 2020 & updated on Mar 19th, 2021
So, you’ve thought about it. Having kids. Maybe your whole life you’ve imagined getting married and immediately starting a family with five kids, three dogs, two cats, plus a hamster. You might have even had baby names picked out since middle school! Hey, we don’t judge. Unless you think Khaleesi is actually cute for a baby… then we might judge a lil’ bit. And now the words child free are closer to your heart than before.
Because as you got older, your dreams started to change. The thought of having kids doesn’t align anymore with your goals. Maybe instead, you wanna throw all of your time and energy into growing your own business, travelling the world, or opening your own art gallery. And you can’t imagine accomplishing those dreams on top of the huge responsibility of raising kids. Orrr, it could be you’ve come to realize the simple fact: you just don’t want to have kids. You’ve decided to live the child free life.
For so long, becoming a parent was expected of pretty much everyone. Like we saw with our grandparents, settling down with a partner and starting a family was considered the norm. Nowadays though, choosing to be child-free is way more common for tons of different reasons. But guess what? Both choices are valid! And it’s YOUR choice to make.
If you’ve decided to not have children, you might worry about what others will say, or if it’s gonna be a big deal for the rest of your life. Totally understandable. But here are 8 things to consider when deciding to be child-free that we think will help you feel validated! ‘Cause we’re here for youuu.
1. You’ll deal with people who don’t ‘get’ your decision.
When you decide to be child-free, you’ll probably hear a LOT of this:
But who’s going to look after you when you’re old?
You’ll change your mind. It’s just because you’re young.
Don’t you want to keep the family name going?
I don’t get it, you’re so great with kids!
You might think you don’t want them now, but you’ll regret not having kids one day!
Excuse us, who asked?! First of all, you don’t have to validate your choices to anyone. Ever. Ultimately, it’s your life. But hearing these kinda comments will definitely get old after a while, so it’s probably for the best to shut them down sooner than later. When you’ve had enough of explaining yourself over and over to Aunt Helen at Thanksgiving about your choice to be child-free, set those personal boundaries! It’s okay to say: This is my choice and I don’t want to explain myself to you anymore. Please respect that. Drawing that line will make you feel 1000x less on edge at family gatherings. Just pass the gravy boat and MYOB, thanks!
2. You can enjoy spending time with kids.
There’s this misconception that people who don’t want to have kids, hate them. News flash: you can still like hanging out with kids without wanting to raise one! WILLDD concept, right? You probably love spending time with your niece or nephew, or babysitting your neighbour’s kids. You might even want to coach for a kids’ soccer team or volunteer at the after-school program. Being child-free doesn’t mean your whole life can’t include kids at all!
3. You still have a family.
“But don’t you want a family?” is probably one of the worst things to say to a child-free person, ever. Actually you DO have a family. Not only do you have your parents, siblings and all of your relatives. But there’s also your partner, your best friends in the whole world, plus their families who treat you like one of their own. Family doesn’t just mean procreating. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re pretty great.
4. You can focus on having a strong relationship with your partner.
Sometimes people have a baby to save their relationship, or they think that having kids will bring them closer together. Yikes. Babies aren’t a band-aid, and they shouldn’t be used to improve your relationship with your partner. Since you’ve decided to be child-free, you’ll actually have more time to work on things with your partner when problems do come up. Plus, you won’t have to give up your quality time together! Your Friday night ritual of Netflix and sushi is here to stay.
5. You won’t deal with as much financial stress.
Making the decision to be child-free will reduce sooo much extra financial planning. All of your hard earned money can go towards vacations, growing your business, or any self-care needs like a gym membership or hair appointments. You can also put more money into savings for retirement or any possible emergencies in the future. Spend those dolla bills however you please!
6. Your time = yours.
Being child-free means you can make plans when you want, where you want for the rest of your life. Pretty sweet, huh? Nothing about your life is gonna have to change. You can still go on weekend getaways with your besties or have a spur-of-the-moment date night with your partner, without having to worry about who’s going to take care of the kids.
7. You don’t have to handle the extra pressure.
Parents can deal with a LOT of pressure to be perfect and raise their kids a certain way. If you’re child-free, you’re eliminating a ton of unsolicited parenting advice and the crazy amount of decisions parents have to make on a daily basis. Who knew there was so much debate over breastfeeding vs formula?! Or how much screen time is acceptable before you completely rot a child’s brain?! You probably have enough decisions to make for yourself as it is.
8. You can still live a fulfilling life.
Another thing you might hear a lot when you decide to be child-free is that you won’t be truly fulfilled in life. We think that’s a pretty messed up thing to 1) say to someone and 2) think in the first place. Maybe you’re working on publishing your own novel, starting a charity, or finding a cure for fucking cancer. Or maybe you just want the simple things in life, like stopping at your favourite coffee shop every morning. Those all sound pretty fulfilling to us!
A Closing Thought
Here’s what our in-house writer, Olivia, shared with us about her choice to be child-free:
“I’ve never wanted kids. I’ve known that since I was 6 years old. People give me funny looks when I say that I want to remain childless, but I couldn’t imagine my life with a child. I’ve never made a list of baby names, I’ve never looked at nursery decor, or even baby outfits like other people do. It’s just not in me.
I’ve been called selfish for not wanting a kid, but I think it would be selfish if I did have one. I wouldn’t be able to give them the kind of love that they deserve and would need. It also wouldn’t be fair to me because I wouldn’t be able to do everything that I want to with my life. I want to travel, I want to have a million pets, I want to explore every facet of my life and I don’t see a child as being part of that exploration.
I was really nervous to tell my partner that I don’t want kids, but he has been so amazing about it. He said that being able to love me means more than having a child and that got rid of all my fears. We plan on having a full and colourful life together. A child just isn’t part of that plan.”
Keep in mind that every person is different, and we support whatever decision makes you happy. There’s pros and cons to every decision! We hope this list reminded you that your choice to be child-free is valid, no matter what anyone has to say about it.