I, like many other women my age, chose not to have children, hell, sometimes I think it may have been easier succumbing to motherhood. I have worked, without a career-break since age 16, no maternity breaks for me, no justification for going part-time and no phoning in work to take the day off due to sickly offspring.
Despite aforementioned ‘hardships’ I endured as a childfree woman, I wouldn’t actually change a thing. My life is my own, my money is my own (well the part that doesn’t go to paying off the mortgage, bills, car repayments etc) and my nice (usually) tidy, toy-free house is my own.
I never considered motherhood as an option in my life, I was far too busy travelling the world, enjoying my career and making bad relationships choices to think about procreation. As a child myself, I was never one for baby dolls, in fact my parents bought me a beautiful toy pram which I ruined within 24 hours of Christmas when I ‘painted’ it with a liquid glue I found in my Dad’s shed (my favourite part of the house).
I am an only child, from a very small, not particularly close family, I have eight cousins (I think) of those, I have only actually met three, one at my wedding when I was 36. So I have never really been around family babies.
Sadly some good friendships fell by the wayside after the friends had children, while I made an effort in the early days, the endlessly interrupted conversations when said child demanded attention tried my limited patience and relegated the friendship to Facebook status.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a child-hater! I actually have a good relationship with the teenage children of some friends and similarly with a couple of sweeties who are the offspring of my gym buddy. Babies, I am less keen on, I was the air stewardess in the galley who busied herself with the nearest coffee pot when a child wielding mother, travelling alone needed someone to hold the little mite while she used the bathroom.
I have never changed a nappy and have no intention of ever doing so. I have held a couple of babies, for ten seconds or so, before swiftly passing them back to the proud parent.
I don’t get the whole, ‘babies smell lovely’ thing. They don’t, they smell of poo or sick or icky baby food. Toddlers are messy and noisy and get into everything with sticky hands.
Give me a moody teenager any day, at least I can make an effort and chat about things I DO know about, like music, fashion, social media. (Maybe I can relate to teenagers more because deep inside my 50-year-old brain, I am still 19. In fact my husband would back this up as he has had to deal with many a freak-out when I find myself in an area with no 4G coverage and no shopping mall within reasonable reach)
Even in this new millennium, being a child-free woman is some what of an enigma for many people. They ask: “Do you have children?”, when I reply, “no”, their faces come over all sympathetic-like as their mind instantly conjures up visions of failed fertility treatments, deep maternal yearnings and unfulfilled womanhood. The simple fact is, I have no time or space in my life for another human being (apart from my husband of course). I enjoy my freedom, my own space, my tranquility and plenty of me-time whenever I want it. Does that mean I am selfish, probably, but to whom? My parents have never expressed a desire to be grandparents and my husband enjoys our life as much as I do, so if that’s being selfish, long may it reign.
So while I am delighted for my friends who bring their little bundles of joy into the world (hey I am a great baby-gift buyer!). I remain happy in my childfree life.