The following post will probably ruffle a few feathers but consider this your only warning…I need to get this off my chest.
Still here? Great! if you want a bit of a primer on the history of this post you can read this post from 2015 .
So Child-less versus ChildFree is something that’s been on my mind a fair bit as of late, especially with the usual “Christmas is about the children” crowd, but what is it I’m getting at? As someone who is part of a couple in their early 30’s I’ve found that most people expect you to have children, for various reasons covered in the previous post above it just hasn’t happened. Recently however I’ve realised there has been a change in my mindset on the issue which is where we reach Childless vs ChildFree.
I’d originally considered myself to be Childless, you’re supposed to get married and have children, your purpose is to procreate! I was missing this small creature from my life which was the saviour to give my life meaning. Time, as they say is a great healer and I’ve began to realise that I’m not Childless at all but rather Child Free. You could argue that I’ve subconsciously become hardened to the idea of not fitting the societal norms but a childfree existence has granted me the freedom to do more of what I would like to do. In a way it has made me a more selfish but more complete person. The point is, being childfree has enabled/forced me to give my life meaning without making my purpose to look after a small child.
This isn’t to say I am against the idea of having children, It’s to say that having a child isn’t the defining factor of my relationship with my wife, it doesn’t require a child for our pairing to have meaning, we are ChildFree and not Childless. Some people can’t have children while some people choose never to have children, these people are not broken or incomplete as I’ve heard thrown about but rather in my own opinion strong enough to deal with the societal stigma attached to not having kids.
I know every couple is different but I have known couples over the years who are together purely on the merit that they have spawned a child together before having a real basis in a relationship.
I see parents moan on facebook about “the clocks going back, I won’t get a lie in because of my child”, and I’m not going to lie that nowadays I do feel a small smug pull that I will get to enjoy my lie in if i choose. I can come home from a long troublesome day at work and can relax without the worry of looking after someone else. Back in my Childless mindset I would have seethed at these ungrateful parents lamenting the thing I myself was missing.
It’s not without it’s pitfalls, people don’t always understand that not having children at this moment isn’t a life ending problem. Maybe you really have to face the reality that it could be before you can truly understand on how it cannot be allowed to control you. People also tend to assume that you have alot more free time that they are welcome to try and utilise. Yes, I probably do have more free time, but the key point here is that it’s my free time to do with as I please. I work hard and therefore I’m entitled to play how I feel with my free time.
There’s also the assumption that if you do want children yet don’t have any that it’s therapeutic to spend time with other peoples children. It truly isn’t. I’m under no illusion that any children I may spawn won’t be little bastards at times but they’ll be my little bastards to discipline and the fact they would have grown up with my expectations of their behaviour and not someone else’s.
To summarise then, I would love to have my own children and I’m not a child hater as I’ve had levelled at me before (seriously people?!?) but for the moment I’ve accepted that it may not happen for us and I’m actually OK with that. I’m not missing a child,ergo ChildLess but rather I’m currently ChildFree and don’t need it to give my life meaning.
Phew, rant over…for now.