Childfree Wisdom of the 20 Somethings

I get lots of emails from 20 somethings who have lots of questions about the parenthood decision or who have made up their minds they don’t want the parent lifestyle, and are getting pressures from others. I also get lots of wisdom. 20 somethings wisdom is out there in the blogosphere too as I am sure you know..
A favorite wisdom quote of mine is by 20 something Ranelle. She makes a salient point about why the childfree are judged:
Ranell: ” To be honest, I think it all goes back to cultural norms. We are driven by an unwritten set of guidelines from the day we are born (go to school, graduate, go to college, graduate, get married, have 2.3 kids, work at a job for 30 years, retire, die), and if you are bold enough to step up and say, ‘that’s not what I want for myself,’ it makes others nervous and uncomfortable around you. You have ventured outside the bounds of these unwritten cultural standards, and that cannot be tolerated. But, we call this country the ‘land of the free,’ don’t we? So, why are we so judgmental when people grasp hold of that freedom to venture in a different direction? Especially when they’re not breaking any laws or hurting anyone else?
And, ‘no,’ I don’t have anything against other people having kids. I think it’s wonderful to watch parents who seem truly fulfilled. But, if you happen to see me around, don’t feel sorry for me, and don’t judge me. Just realize that I have found my own happiness…one that doesn’t involve the title of ‘mother.’ “
You go girl. So well said.  She has clear, straight ahead reasons for not choosing a childfree lifestyle:

–Too much responsibility – I do not want to create someone that I will have to dedicate the rest of my life to. Being responsible for my own life is already a lot to be responsible for.

–Relationships are important – I believe my partner and I should be mutually involved and not have to dilute our love and attention to make a new ‘family’.

–Career focused – Making money is great, but I want to gain the knowledge and respect that makes me a star in the workplace.

–No drive – Changing diapers, teaching morals, going on field trips, the constant mental strain, etc. does not sound appealing to me. Therefore I choose not to opt-in.

–Have fun – Ultimately my moral in life is ‘do what makes me happy’. If traveling, working, sleeping in and spoiling my partner and friends are things that make me happy, then that’s what I plan on doing for the rest of my life.”

On her site she has insightful posts, articles and host of things for the interested childfree. In the last ten years following the childfree, I hear from more 20 something women who know who they are and what they want…in generations past, many women might not have been able to say that about themselves in their 20s!  I also notice that many women in their 30s who have yet to decide one way or the other feel very stressed by it. They often get caught in analysis paralysis and just not be able to decide.

My take: sometimes the level of desire is not that great to tip it to a “yes”, but they have not settled this within themselves because they are still grappling with the idea they “should” want kids.  Our heart knows the answer, and for some it can take longer to accept and go with that heart, and as Ranell says, have the courage to venture outside the bounds of strong cultural standards.

20 Somethings out there–or those who know them–when did you decide not to have kids? Why? What dollups of wisdom can you pass to others?

2 thoughts on “Childfree Wisdom of the 20 Somethings

  1. I just turned 30 a few months ago (so I’m not in this category any longer), but I made the conscious decision never to have kids when I was a young teenager. Before that, I was never a dolls and nurturing kind of girl, so it was something that I felt was natural. When I began to speak about that ideal to others, however…well, that’s when I realized it wasn’t seen as “natural” to those around me. *shrugs* To each her own.

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