“When are you having children” has been the go-to question my friends and family have been asking me after I announced my engagement last month. Out of all the ridiculous and absurd questions they have asked me, the question of children is the one that bothers me the most.
The truth is, my fiancé and I do not like children and we do not plan on having any either.
I was raised in a large Mexican American family. My paternal grandparents had seven children, and those seven children had their own children which added up to 15 grandchildren.
By the time I came along, most of my cousins were older than me and soon had their own children. When my sister and I were old enough, our cousins used us as babysitters and dumped their children on us for the weekend.
Those years of babysitting made me realize that I never wanted to change a diaper or try to put infants to sleep again.
In the past, I have been adamant about my decision to live childfree; but now that I am in the process of achieving a life milestone, I am more persistent with my choice and vocal about it too. Of course, there are a handful of people who disagree with me and here are some of the most common assertions I’ve received when I share my decision:
“You’re so young; you’ll change your mind!”
Yes, I am young, but I’d rather spend my prime years traveling. My fiancé and I have a long-term plan to visit all 50 states before we turn 40. So far, we have traveled to nine states in the past four years. If we had children, we probably would not accomplish our 50-state challenge until we are 60-years-old. Raising children would take time away from our travel and freedom to pursue our various hobbies.
“What will happen when your friends have children and you don’t? ”
My immediate response will be to congratulate them and send over a gift, but do not expect me to show up to the baby shower and future birthday parties. As mentioned before, I have a lot of cousins and they have their own children now, so I am used to seeing children run around at family gatherings. At most, I engage in small talk with them until I can no longer tolerate them.
“You’re being selfish”
Yes, yes I am. The financial stress of raising children is no joke. We are currently attending school and have acquired loans and debt through our higher education journey as a couple that will take over a decade to pay off. Not only are loans and debt weighing us down, but attempting to plan a wedding and buying our first home together seems more important than stocking up on diapers and baby formula. The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a study estimating that the cost of raising one child through age 17 is about $233,610. I would rather use that money to pay off debt, buy a home and travel.
“Your ‘biological clock’ will run out”
All of my life, my aunt and female cousins have told me that one day, babies are going to be irresistible to me, and then I’m going to want one. I’ve seen many babies in my lifetime, and they are dull — including theirs. In most cases, what they defined as “irresistible” turns out to be spoiled rotten children who have to be told a fictional character is watching over them so that they behave. How can I make my “biological clock” run out faster?
Not now, not ever will you see me obsessing over children or expressing a desire to know what motherhood is like. To ask anybody why they do not want children is rude and above all, none of their business.
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