My Friends Started Having Kids And Staying Childfree Is Looking Better Than Ever

Once I hit my late twenties, I was suddenly surrounded by babies. My siblings and close friends had kids, and my Facebook feed filled up with pregnancy announcements and baby pics from high school classmates I’d long since lost touch with. While I knew this stage of life was inevitable, seeing everyone venturing into the world of parenting has only strengthened my resolve to avoid it altogether.

I like sleeping in on the weekends. If there’s one thing that gets me through even the longest work week, it’s knowing I can sleep in on Saturday and Sunday. No alarms, no early morning plans—it’s just me and my pillow for hours on end. Even the thought of forfeiting my leisurely weekend mornings makes me feel panicky. Plus, nothing screams, “Don’t have kids!” like the dazed, sleep-deprived faces of new parents. Kids mean restless nights and early mornings without the beauty of a snooze button. I’ll pass!

Traveling with kids is a total nightmare. Travel is one of my true loves and greatest passions. As soon as I get back from a trip, I immediately start planning my next adventure, and I’ve always dreamed of a life in which I can travel whenever and wherever I please. That dream would be next to impossible with a family. There’s no way to pack light with kids, and even on vacation they require constant entertainment, diaper changes, feedings, naps, etc. There’s nothing like exploring a new city with nothing but a backpack in tow, and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to give that up.

I relish the ability to be selfish with my money. Kids are seriously expensive. According to a 2015 report issued by the US Department of Agriculture, kids cost $230,000 to raise from birth to age 18. Unless I win the lottery, suddenly find myself at the top of the corporate ladder, or marry super-rich, that expense would really put a damper on my lifestyle. Between paying bills, saving for retirement, and occasionally treating myself to a night out or a new lipstick, I don’t have much left over to spend on a kid.

I never want to have to sacrifice my spontaneity. One of the best parts of my life right now is being able to do what I went when I want. My evenings and weekends are totally my own. I fill my schedule with eating at new restaurants, hanging with friends, binge-watching the latest Netflix release, devouring books, or just chilling on the couch. Having this freedom is just that—freeing. Kids require strict schedules and their needs are always the top priority. I don’t think I’m willing to give up my autonomy for parenthood.

I don’t love the idea of squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a quarter. I’ve literally never felt the desire to be pregnant. Not only does the thought of a human growing inside of me give me the creeps, knowing that childbirth lies at the end of the whole experience is downright horrifying. I’ve had enough people tell me the ugly truth about giving birth to know that it’s not really the beautiful, transformative experience that movies and magazines would have us believe. Most moms I know say it’s worth it in the end, but I’m not so sure about that.

I don’t want my career to suffer and I don’t believe women can truly “have it all.” I hear all the time how hard it is for parents, especially those with small kids, to strike a work-life balance. While many companies today are implementing more flexible work options, it’s still a constant struggle for people with children to juggle the demands of both their careers and their families. The result? Parents fall behind at work or give up their full-time gigs for less demanding roles. I’m still a young professional but I already feel like I’ve worked too hard and have too many career aspirations to risk throwing it all away.

Parenting brings a whole new identity and I like the one I have now. I’ve always found it interesting how many parents seem to lose themselves in their kids. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve asked someone with kids how they are, only to get a long-winded response on the current status of their children’s lives. Kids become the center of their parents’ universe, leaving little room for moms and dads to be themselves. Their independent hobbies, social outings, passions, and interests become things of the past. I already feel like a whole, wonderful person, so the thought of losing part of myself to be just “Mom” doesn’t sound all that appealing.

The time I spend on self-care isn’t negotiable. Whether it’s meditating, getting a facial, or simply kicking back on the couch, my overall health relies on my ability to take care of myself. If kids entered the picture, I know my own needs would be put on the back burner. Children are needy, dependent beings who require care 24/7, which would make getting some me time a challenge. I love spending time with kids, but I always appreciate being able to return them to their parents when I need to get back to my life and show myself a little TLC.

Let’s be honest—kids are kinda gross. Have you ever noticed how small children are always slightly sticky? They get into literally anything and everything—and don’t even get me started on the bodily functions. If I’m never near a diaper blowout in my life again, I’ll be a happy woman. There’s a certain tolerance for nastiness parents seem to have (or acquire!) that seems totally foreign to me. The thought of repeatedly blowing noses, changing diapers, wiping mouths and cleaning spit-up makes my stomach turn and I’m not sure I want to sign up for any one of those jobs.

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