Not married, no kids, no regrets
Stop pressuring people to have your “happily ever after”
Three months. Three condos. Four mortgage training classes. Three moving truck visits. And a 30-day wait for the condo board to approve my bid. I earned my way into buying my condo, and I couldn’t have been more elated to finally own instead of rent. I was so proud of myself.
Recommended Read: “5 lessons I learned as a first-time homebuyer”
I’d had several visitors come over and compliment the artwork, the furniture, even get mad at why my place smells like cake but it’s really Bath & Body Works candles. Whenever family and friends walked through the door, I always got an “it looks like you” as soon as they took off their shoes. (I have had a no-shoes policy for 18 years and counting, renting included.) I was so smitten with this place that I got arrogant enough to buy four plants, knowing good and well I have a black thumb.
I was quite giddy to have visitors come hang out with me. That is, until one family friend stopped by. After sizing the place up for a few minutes, her response was: “I had a dream you got pregnant. Why don’t you have an extra bedroom? Don’t you get lonely here? When I go home, I have my husband and my kids so I’m never alone. You should have some kids. I want you to be happy like me.”
My godsister’s response: “Why would I expect you to get married and have kids? I’ve never heard you say you wanted either one.”
And I simply sighed. I’m not sure what it is in a person’s makeup that makes them believe that their “happy” must match your “happy.” What perplexed me even more was this was someone who has known me for more than 20 years. I mentioned these comments to my godsister, another visitor, a few weeks later. My godsister’s response: “Why would I expect you to get married and have kids? I’ve never heard you say you wanted either one.”
I gave her the biggest hug just for getting it and getting me. And she was saying this as someone who is both happily married with two kids. She just gets it in a way some women (and men) simply don’t. For women who choose not to have children (or be married), please keep these tips in mind. And for those who don’t understand why women feel this way, I wholeheartedly hope you read on too.
Every woman does not want to be a mother. Whenever I read stories about women who don’t want to have children, there’s always this need to rationalize why they don’t want kids.
- “I love kids, and my kids are my students.”
- “My dogs/cats are my fur babies.”
- “I have nieces and nephews instead.”
While all of these reasons may be true and valid, women should stop trying to defend their decision to not be mothers. We are not required to be parents simply because we are born with vaginas. Women who want to be mothers should be. And those who don’t have every single right to say, “Hard pass. I’m not into it.” I don’t want kids for the same reason some people aren’t into pets. It’s just not my cup of tea. I was in the hospital when a former childhood friend gave birth, and I cried harder than she did. I was horrified by the entire experience. That’s an 18-year commitment that you should absolutely want to take. And if you don’t, it is a dangerous game to play with someone’s heart to not want him/her after this person is born. According to Children’s Rights, “On any given day, there are nearly 443,000 children in foster care in the United States.” No child should have to deal with a parent who does not want him/her.
Alone doesn’t mean lonesome. The dictionary definition of “lonesome” is “sad from being alone.” And yes, there are people who are genuinely sad if they’re alone for too long. However, a “loner” is someone who is “a person who is often alone or likes to be alone.” It is extremely difficult to explain why a loner enjoys her own company to someone who is lonely while she’s alone. About the best way to explain it is to say you cannot make a social butterfly into a homebody anymore than you can make a loner into desperately needing attention. This personality type just doesn’t work that way. I’m not opposed to dating or relationships. I’ve done both. I’ve been a smitten kitten over a childhood crush who I thought was better than hot water cornbread*. I’ve had traditional relationships and even participated in online dating. (No “Catfish” results, thank goodness.) But I have never felt unsatisfied while single. I am as comfortable in a relationship as I am not in one, and honestly my mind is a bit more at peace while single. More importantly, being unmarried does not mean you ban yourself from all humankind. When the family friend asked me do I get lonely, I pointed to the big rectangle in my living room. I told her, “You know that opens, right? I turn that circular gold thing in the middle of the rectangle, and people appear. It’s amazing!”
Stand your ground on safe sex early. I had several conversations with the most recent guy I dated about how I absolutely did not want children. He went from agreeing with me to showing me photographs of his nephew and saying “someday.” I explained to him immediately that he should date someone else then because I was not changing my mind. Soon after, for a variety of reasons, we parted ways. There is this misguided belief that you can magically make a woman want to be a mom. Do not ever try to trick someone into having children. Both of you will be wildly disappointed in each other when the person who didn’t want kids stands his/her ground. I’m a walking talking condom commercial who spent many years volunteering and promoting an HIV/AIDS awareness organization in Chicago. If you’re unsure of whether you want to be a mom or not, use protection and make sure that your sexual partner respects your decision.
Stop trying to guilt trip people by using their mothers as examples. Although this doesn’t happen often as an adult, when I was kid, I heard this line a lot: “If your mother felt that way about you, you wouldn’t be here.” Key phrase here “If she felt that way about me.” She didn’t and now has two adult children. And that just as much her decision as mine is. My mother is my very best friend and I love her to pieces. Although she’s been married for almost 40 years, she’s also someone who never pressured me to have kids nor get married. Would she like me to? Absolutely. But she’s also the daughter of a woman who never got married. My father is the sibling of a woman who never got married nor had kids. Both of them have already seen how this crazy other side lives. They’ve seen women thrive and be happy rolling solo. And in their own words to me, “Whatever makes you happy, that’s what I want for you.” And so I shall live my happily ever after, not yours.
* My favorite meal