As a never married nearly 30-year-old, the question I have always dreaded most is, “Don’t you want kids?” To this, my response has always been a hard “no.” Then the most dreaded statement is typically most people’s response is, “You’ll change your mind.” I think I just heard the collective worldwide groan of all the women who have chosen to be childless. Nothing used to put me on a soapbox faster than that statement. The childless woman has to constantly fight for her right to choose to be so. And yet, I think I’ve changed my mind. Disclaimer: I’m not saying women will or should change their mind, not even close. This was not a simple mind switch for me and as I’m still, unmarried and childless it could change again. Here are the things that led me to change my mind:
- WATCHING BAD PARENTS. I am a teacher, so I see the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to parenting. I also go to stores and restaurants and see the result of parenting. Now, I know I am probably going to come under fire for this. I’m childless and judging other people’s parenting style. No, I understand that it is very difficult. I have a very fortunate position with my job that I get to see the result of different parenting styles on a daily basis. I get to see how children act when they have a parent who is clearly more focused on the tiny screen in front of them as opposed to a parent who takes their kids to the park and plays with them. To be able to provide a fun, stable, positive home environment for a child someday is a new goal for myself. Yes, I know I’ll fuck up sometimes, and sometimes in big ways, but I want to try to be the best parent I can.
- THINKING ABOUT MY OWN CHILDHOOD. While my mom maintains I was easy to parent, I also know I was an introverted anxiety case. However, my mom made childhood fun. We were always doing things on weekends. We would be at the park or zoo or driving around sightseeing in our own state. I was also always outside with my friends. Being creative and using my imagination was highly encouraged by my mom. I never had to grow up too fast and I got to be a kid. My mom was the most incredible mom in the world, I still maintain that. I want to be able to give that amazing gift to children. I watch way too many kids having to grow up too soon, it hurts my heart.
- MEETING A MAN WHOM I COULD SEE AS A GREAT DAD. In the past, when I dated men, the idea of raising children with them never crossed my mind. They were not men I would ever want to raise children with. This is not to say they were bad men, I just couldn’t imagine them being a father. Then, I met someone different. This man is clearly going to be a great father someday. We also have a lot of the same values in life. Important core values that need to be aligned to parent together. I am not saying this is the man I will or won’t have children with, but he definitely made me entertain the possibility. This was a new experience for me. He is also someone whom I think of more as a partner than a boyfriend. He is someone who I could picture taking on the unglamorous task of raising children with.
- MY FRIENDS STARTED HAVING CHILDREN. When some of my wonderful friends started having children or adopting children. I saw the great lives they were building. My friends are also rockstar moms. They are crushing both their work and home life. They inspire me every single day. Plus, their kids are turning out to be some awesome little people.
- IT IS A DIFFERENT KIND OF HAPPINESS. I always saw myself traveling around the world, going on epic adventures and never having kids. That is what I thought my ideal life looked like. However, the older I get the more I realize that being away from home for an extended period of time stresses me out. I’m definitely a homebody. And I am a family person. Personally, I don’t like being far away from the people I love most, this includes my “created” family of friends. I watch my friends who have kids and, yes, it is extremely difficult and yes, they’ve wanted their free time back, but they are also a different kind of happy. I truly do not think I would mind being rooted in a place with people I love more than life itself, even through all the messy, crazy and difficult times.
**This was originally supposed to be published on Bolde.com, however it’s been sitting in editing for a month and a half so I’m taking it back**