I used to be a nanny and a camp counselor, but I don't think that those experiences are what put the nails in the coffin of my childbearing aspirations. I am a single, 30-year-old woman, living my dreams in New York City. I have great friends, a loving family and an awesome apartment; the only thing missing is Mr. Right. I have been searching this very small, but dense, island for my match and what I have learned is this: men want children. This may seem obvious to most, but I was under the impression that women's ovaries yearn to be fertilized while men are simpler beings happy from sports and beer. These ideas sound feeble and very generalized, yes, but as a woman who is confident in myself and has no trouble getting dates, my track record for long-term relationships is minimal. As I reflected on my single status, I realized that the common factor consistently points to my dating men who want that ideal family portrait someday.
Sigh, dating. Dating with this huge CAUTION sign at all times. I mean, when do you inform someone of life choices like not wanting to have children? I'd assume this is a similar feeling to someone who maybe has been in jail. When do you inform the girl in front of you, "So I just got back from doing time..."? My favorite part of dating (I'm being facetious) is when men tell me about their desires for a wife, white picket fence and three small children running around. In that moment, I know the date, the relationship, the potential break-ups and make-ups are all over because I don't want this. This is a huge non-negotiable! When I bravely, yet loosely, throw this IMPORTANT piece of information out there, do you know what their next comment is? "Oh, I don't need to have kids!" Well, now what do I do with them? Yes, they do want to have children, and it's alright. I mean, I know this date is fun, and I'm cute and bubbly, but let's not pretend that we have a future together. I don't need the heartbreak in two years from now when we wake up and you're leaving me because you want to play catch with your future son.
People love to tell me, "you'll change your mind." Forgive me, but why do I have to? Am I less of a woman with fewer great qualities to offer because I don't want to raise children? Surely, there must be men out there who could see a fulfilling life with culture, adventure, love and happiness sans screaming babies and obnoxious teenagers. I often wonder if men understand the level of commitment it takes to raise children. Perhaps if they did, they would understand my view and agree that a childless life would be quite wonderful.
Before you assume that I'm damaged from a terrible childhood, let me say that my upbringing was great. I grew up in an affluent community outside of Boston with married parents, an older brother, flute lessons, soccer practice, arts camps, gymnastics -- I mean you name it and I was doing it. So, no, it's not like I was deprived and that's how I arrived at my decision not to have children. My parents were and are the best. To be honest, I think it all began when I started watching some of my teenage friends causing strife for their parents. Rowdy, restless teens whose parents were arguing because they couldn't agree on how to parent. In the image of having a lasting love, I thought, why bring a child into the world who could cause so much pain and heartache? I mean, teens are rude, and children are expensive! No one can deny that parenting is hard work. It's 24-7 (forever not just 18 years,) and it's a huge financial commitment. My respect goes out to all parents. You're amazing. I just want to know why people think it's so strange that I don't want to sign up for this.
I know other women like me exist, but I would like to know if there is some sort of support group for us. For example, there could be a club where we can get drunk, and go skydiving and then get on a plane and go to Fiji the next day because we don't have any responsibilities besides a job. We have the money to spend on ourselves! Perhaps we could then have happy hour where we meet men who also feel the same way. Shouldn't some techie out there be creating an app where I can swipe right on cute guys and the main thing we have in common is that we all want a child-free life?
Even without my own children, I believe that I can have a positive impact on youth in my lifetime. I don't think I have to be looked at as selfish because I don't want to procreate. I'm pretty confident I can be an outstanding member of society and lead a fulfilling life. In fact, I will experience things that other people cannot because of my financial freedom and not being tied down. Is traveling the world to experience how other people live, try new foods and seeing amazing sites not a rewarding way to live life? Won't I still get the great joy of watching my nephew and all my friends kids grow up? I'm pretty sure that coming home to a dog or two and a wonderful husband can be gratifying. And if I'm wrong, then I will come back to inform you all. For now, I will continue on my path, searching for a partner who feels the same and I will be so delighted when the day comes that people don't question my life preferences, but rather celebrate them as much as the common course.