Having Kids is a Blessing, But So is Not Having Kids

Published June 15, 2012 by Maryanne

vintage children

When I was a child, I played with toy animals, not baby dolls. Becoming a mother was never on my “to do” list, and the thought of becoming pregnant repulsed me. While many women worry about their biological clock, I can’t wait until mine ticks out!

Does that make me a bad person? Absolutely not!

But some people have tried to make me feel like a bad person for my personal choices. I’ve heard ignorant negative comments like, “People who don’t have children are selfish.”

However, it’s the opposite. I’ve heard many childless women say they feel they can give more to society by not having kids. I feel the same way, as I am a giver in every sense of the word.

Some people implied that I “hate” kids. That is not true either. I love kids.

Some people implied that I’m not interested in having kids because I’d be a bad mom. People who really know me say that I’d be a good mom. I may have to disagree with this one, because I’m too much like a kid myself — it would take a lot out of me, emotionally, to discipline a kid. Seeing a child cry breaks my heart, it’s something I just can’t see myself living with.

But then my husband always points out that our cats are so good because I raised them from birth — and imagine what I could do if I raised a child from birth? I could have been the mom of a kid that grew up to move mountains!

Mind you, this article is not meant to be a competition of moms versus non-moms, but that women who choose not to have children should be equally celebrated and honored — not disrespected with ill comments from strangers and acquaintances. Because we all have so much to give to society. Non-moms are not sitting around in bed all day eating bon-bons!

On a positive note, when Mother’s Day comes around and strangers wish me a “Happy Mother’s Day” I kindly accept the compliment because I do feel like I am a mom in so many ways.

I’m a mom to two beautiful cats who — at ages 16 and 18 — have lived a lot longer than most cats. People who have children tend to “give up” on their animals, giving them away when the going gets rough. I’ve yet to know a non-mom who has done this. I have non-mom friends who should get a medal for their love for animals — going above and beyond the call of duty.

I may not have children, but I have articles — hundreds of them — that are informative and inspirational to society. (And trumping my own accomplishments, I know another woman who once said, “I don’t have children. I have albums.” You go girl!)

I may not have children, but I’ve influenced the lives of children. I used to baby sit a young girl named Claire (who is now of college age and still keeps in touch with me). When she was a little girl, she had to write a paper on someone who inspired her. She said that everyone was writing about their moms, but she wanted to write about me! So she interviewed me. A few weeks later, she asked if I could come to her class and give a lecture of journalism. With permission from my editor at the time, I gave a lecture to a class of fourth grade students. It was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. After the class each kid lined up to shake my hand. One boy even asked me if I’d babysit him too! LOL!

Children always gravitate to me at parties and I’ve had parents thank me for playing with their kids when it was truly my pleasure. My husband’s niece has the cutest little boy named Brennan. When they come to visit, he always wants me to sit next to him. He knows he can count of me to play with him, something I really look forward too.

By not having the responsibility of children, I can be the best friend in the world! I’m the one who always answers phone calls and emails — at any time of the day no matter how busy I am (yes, childless women are very busy too!)

I pride myself on how emotionally giving I am to everyone. I’ll always be there to listen and go that extra mile that someone who has children just can’t do — and rightfully so because if you have kids, damn straight those kids should come first!

I get extremely defensive when children are being mistreated in public. I used to work part-time at Bath & Body Works. One day a mom was shopping and her little boy accidentally sprayed perfume in his eyes. I immediately ran to the sink to get a paper towel and water to help rinse his eyes.

To my horror, the mom said, “Don’t help him! Let him suffer! This way he’ll learn!”

I said, “No! It’s his eyes!” And I helped the little boy, disobeying the mother’s wishes!

I’m not looking for kudos here, I’m just illustrating how a non-mom can be extremely loving, regardless of what moms think of us.

And that while people tell others that their kids are a “blessing” — don’t forget about us who don’t have kids, because that is a blessing too!

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18 comments on “Having Kids is a Blessing, But So is Not Having Kids

  • There is nothing selfish about not wanting to not have children. In fact it is opposite of being selfish, since like you wrote it gives you more time to help others. Helping others is not what I would call selfish. It is much better than having children, just because it is the expected thing to do. I had an argument with my first wife over wanting a fourth child, when we weren’t financially set to have the three we already had. That is what I call selfish for her to want a fourth child, when we couldn’t give a fourth child the home he or she deserved. It may have led to our divorce, when I didn’t give in but still think I did the right thing by saying no.

  • I love this article. It says so much for Moms and Non Moms alike. I believe it is a matter of personal choice. I knew from a young age I did not want to be a Mom. I thought my choice was selfless. I also did not want to be pregnant. Choices of raising a child in a loving family always doesn’t work out like some may think. I didn’t want to be a BORED
    housewife & although I do not have a specific degree in education, I also did not want to get married and have children for a man to support me or for me to feel whole. I am not saying all woman get married & have children for this reason,however so do. What I am saying is for me life was an adventure, FREEDOM of movement, It would have not been an ideal place for a child. I have settled down in my later years now with my wonderful man and have become a parent , A PET PARENT to my special adorable loving dogs who mean the world to me.
    world. Giving to children, caring and being a part of their lives can still be accomplished through family, friends, volunteer work, etc.

    Thank you for your amazing blog… xox

  • Mary Anne, you had me in the first few words. For such a young woman you have the wisdom of an old soul. Most important, you made the decision that is right for you. Please keep doing that for the rest of your wonderful life. With my very deepest, heart-felt regards. Viriginia

  • My husband and I were married 5 years before we had kids. People would often ask us when we were going to have kids. We weren’t sure we wanted to have kids. When I would tell people this many would look at me like I was crazy (ha – this after hearing THEIR horror stories about their own parenting issues) some would even tell me I was selfish for choosing not to have kids.

    You make good points about being able to give to others because, without kids, you have the time to give more to others, but I also think that if people chose not to have kids because they don’t want to make sacrifices in their lives (some might say “selfish”) I say SO WHAT? How many selfish people have kids? Too many. They probably should have never had kids because it is the kids who suffer for the parents selfishness. As parents discover this raising kids thing requires more money, time, energy, emotions than they realized – they soon grow tired of dealing with their kids and the kids become neglected, ignored, emotionally abandoned….you get the point. Unfortunately, too many selfish people have chosen to have kids, possibly because of pressure to do so.

    I know plenty of married couples who don’t have kids and to be quite honest they all seem happier than couples with kids. Less stressed, less financially strapped, happier.

    I can tell you are not a selfish person, very giving and live your life to the fullest and are involved in good causes and take loving care of your pets. You know this about yourself and you shouldn’t have to defend yourself for being a good, well adjusted person who has chosen not to have kids.

    so sorry about the long comment – i have so much more to say on this topic, but should probably stop now. 🙂

    • Great insights and thank you so much! I didn’t even consider the selfish parents when I wrote this. I have had parents tell me that their kids ruined their sex life, which I can’t believe because when there’s a will, there’s a way.

      I know some women who have married later in life and have adopted little girls from China, which is super cool — giving a child a fresh start on life. (Some of the background stories I heard were horrific!) It’s just so nice to hear other options that people can have other than rushing into something because of the biological clock factor. Children are worth so much more than being a product of a biological clock!

      I also know older women, in their 60s, that foster children until they mind permanent homes. Who knows, I could be one of those women some day.

      Life is amazing because we have so many beautiful options!

  • lol – just had a funny thought – It’s Friday night – you are most likely out and about meeting friends, seeing a show… here i am on my computer at home – my daughter is grounded and therefore, so am I. Enjoy!

    • LOL!!!! Last night we just went food shopping! We’re having a houseful this weekend, so all week it was about cleaning the house. Tonight we’ll have a “cool” time though — my husband is going in the recording studio and sometimes I get to sing back-up! (I can’t sing, but I’m learning very slowly! LOL!)

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