child-free zone: fines double

Not that we’ve fielded many questions about this (at least not yet), but I’ll answer the unspoken question preemptively: we have consciously decided not to have children.

I know, I know, it goes against the “next logical step”…you know, the whole conventional “graduate from college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids”–wait–when were we ever known to be conventional?  What logical steps?  Whose logic?  (Hint: not ours!)

Not that I dislike children; quite the contrary, actually.  I like children a lot.  I often want to hang their (non-)parents from tall hickory trees on remote rural acreage, but that’s beside the point.  Kids themselves are fine; I just don’t see the need, nor do I have the desire to have any of my own.

At first I thought my hormone levels were a little off.  After all, doesn’t there come a point when the biological clock starts ticking, and it gets so loud that it starts to run a woman’s life?  Mine had always seemed like this nearly-inaudible sound that every time it so much as threatened to pop up, I hit the snooze button.  Now, I don’t even need to go that far.

And apparently, I’m not alone.  I unexpectedly stumbled upon an internet community, a plethora of websites, devoted entirely to this one single decision: the non-desire to have kids.  It’s a diverse group, too.  Contrary to the vibe that the most militant of its members portray, I respect the decision of most everyone to chooses to have kids.  I have nothing against them (as long as they actually parent them, that is – to raise them, pay consistent attention to them, teach them basic morals and values, and lest no one forgets, provide proper guidance and supervision).  I just choose not to join their ranks.

I’ve done some soul-searching and the closest basic “it all boils down to this” theme is: I’m honest with myself.  I don’t think I’d make a bad mother, per se, but I wouldn’t make a great one.  My life has taken a different path than that which would provide the proper amount of time and energy it takes to raise a child properly.  I’m supposed to do accomplish different goals with my life, at least this time around (I believe in reincarnation).  The clincher, though, are the biological issues, from both sides–mine and my partner’s.

At first I thought it’d be neat to bring a creation into the world, to contribute something to society, to somehow make it better, even after we pass on.  I thought it’d be interesting to see how our genes would come together, what we’re capable of.  I thought it’d be cool to raise a child properly, to compensate for someone else who hadn’t been.  I don’t need anyone to call me mommy, follow me around, shower praises on me, love me unconditionally, depend on me for survival, look up to me as their idol, or anything else.  I didn’t want to make any decision mindlessly, just because it’s what society expects will happen next. I most certainly didn’t want a child in order to strengthen a relationship, secure a commitment, to change a man (these aren’t problems for us), or to change myself.

I really cherish freedom–so much so that I’m almost anal about retaining lots of it.  If we want to take a weekend trip to San Antonio just the two of us, I’d rather not think about trying to persuade my parents to take them for the weekend.  I’d rather not get woken up by some reverse gastrointestinal mishap in the middle of the night.  I don’t want an intimate moment to get interrupted by the fearful possibility that little eyes might’ve prematurely seen too much.  I want to be able to watch a rated-R movie in its entirety, without concern.  I’d rather hang on to more disposable income, using it to take a trip abroad or maybe retire a little more comfortable.  I’d rather not worry about how a rambunctious toddler might (inadvertently or not) harm the cats.  I enjoy having late nights, extra home office space, sleeping through the night without interruption, sleeping in on a weekend, listening to the music I want, deciding on a whim to stay out with our other (child-free) friends a little later.  This is a semi-carefree lifestyle that I’m not just going to give up.  It’s peaceful.  It’s cheaper.  It’s one less source of stress.  And what does my partner think about all this?  Actually, this is his stance also, only he’s fairly hardcore about it.

Thank *insert deity here* that I haven’t had to endure the interrogation by the self-righteous among us who can’t imagine that a couple would decide to actually not want to have a little bundle of joy or two running around.  I’ve heard the stories of those who proclaim to a child-free woman that she’ll “change her mind!”.  These poor women (the child-free) have endured a lot.  I totally draw the line at homosexual accusations.  Just because a woman has not decided to use her reproductive organs does not mean she is a lesbian.  I hope, for their sake, that the militant few who are so sure we’re going to “regret our decision later” don’t direct their questions at me.  Don’t make me locate a few more of those handy hickory tree branches!

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