Check out Lori Bradley’s recent piece on Bella Online’s Married No Kids Site. She interviews a childfree colleague, who talks about his decision, relations with friends, workplace issues and more.
The piece brought to mind things I’ve learned from childfree men in developing Families of Two to date. When I’ve asked men about why they chose not to have children, I’ve been surprised at how many tell a similar story. From an early age they saw their parents’ struggles (their father’s in particular) — having enough money to raise the kids, working two jobs, never home, etc. that they decided then this was not the kind of life they wanted for themselves when they grew up.
While we might think that with couples the woman more often than not drives the decision about having children or not, I was surprised to learn that this is not the case. Even though more men than not talk about being able to go either way (if she wants them I would, if not, I am fine not having them), some have very strong feelings about not having children, to the point that if his mate wanted them, it would be a deal breaker.
In talking to childfree men I’ve also learned that they tend to have been raised to value their independence, and are comfortable with more egalitarianism in their relationships. Domestics are more evenly split, and his income being more than hers is not a given; it is not so uncommon to see the women making as much or more than the men…and they are fine with that (research suggests that it is Not fine for a lot of men).
So often men talk about wanting to have kids to carry on the family name and leave a legacy. Childfree men are less traditional when it comes to family name stuff, and may want to leave a legacy, but do not see reproducing themselves as the only way a person can do this.
While childfree women and men share similar experiences and concerns, they have their own as well. Kudos to Lori and her friend for letting us hear more from childfree guys…
And we need to hear more. To childfree men out there: tell us your story–how did you decide you did not want to have children? What is the most challenging about having made this choice?