For about as long as I can remember, I’ve never wanted kids.
Years ago, I couldn’t articulate my reasoning very well. People always told me I’d change my mind later – I was too young to make such a decision.
Yet here I am today, still 99 percent sure kids aren’t part of my future.
Given that we’ve had many wonderful posts revolving around kids, money, and family here on Frugal Rules, I thought I’d offer up a different perspective. I believe it’s completely okay to decide to not have kids – even as a woman – and it’s important to shed the stigma associated with it.
With Mother’s Day just a few days away, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be a mom, and whether or not motherhood is something I’ll ever experience.
So, what’s behind my decision to not have kids?
Let’s Talk About Money
We might as well address the first (and obvious) issue of cost. There are many statistics thrown around about how expensive kids are for their first 18 years of life.
I don’t tend to fully believe those numbers, as parents are often tempted to go overboard when there’s no need to. Children, like most things in life, are as expensive as you want them to be.
There’s also the other issue of feeling financially prepared. It’s always best to start saving up for a baby beforehand, as unexpected medical costs can occur.
I myself spent about four days in the NICU, and went through a surgical procedure when I was hours old. The last thing you want to do is worry about whether or not you can afford the medical bills once you get to take your baby home with you.
I know there are a lot of parents who say you’ll never feel 100 percent prepared to have a kid, even when it comes to finances, but I honestly wouldn’t feel ready right now. Heck, I don’t even feel ready to buy a house!
The financial benefits of not having kids does factor into my decision (and yes, there are financial benefits to having kids, too). If we assume kids do cost upwards of $150,000, that’s a lot of money that could have been put toward retirement instead.
In a way, I see not having kids as a way to keep costs low in order to retire sooner.
That sounds pretty selfish, doesn’t it?
I Want to be Selfish
Well, I might as well put it out there. I’m entirely too selfish with my time to be a mom. There are so many things I want to accomplish in life, and it sounds cruel to say it, but having a child would get in the way of my goals.
I like being able to sleep in, I like being able to go somewhere on a whim, and I want to be able to change the direction of my business/career without having to worry about providing for my family.
That’s not to say you can’t do any of that with children, but I imagine it’s a little harder.
I have no plans to settle down right now, either. I want to travel, both internationally and domestically. I wouldn’t mind moving around and exploring different parts of the country.
If I were to have kids, I’d rather give them a more stable lifestyle. Not one where they’re uprooted every year or so. I moved once when I was younger, and I remember being terrified of going to a new school and having to make friends again.
I Don’t Have Any Motherly Instincts
I really don’t. It sounds awful, but if I hear a baby crying, my first reaction is to run in the opposite direction.
That’s not to say I’m ruthless, of course! I do love my family and my partner (and my cats), and I try my best to take care of them. That’s nowhere near the same as being responsible for a newborn, though.
The thought of being responsible for the type of person I manage to raise terrifies me.
Do you know anyone (or maybe you can relate) that just knew they always wanted children? Girls that would play with their dolls, and make them interact as one big happy family?
That was never me. When I was younger, I thought it was much cooler to play with Legos, Hot Wheels, and Kinex. I didn’t exactly take the best care of the dolls I had.
Mom’s Are Amazing
Don’t get me wrong here. While I may not have any desire to be a mom, I give a lot of credit to those who are. Being a mother is not an easy job, and I don’t think moms get thanked enough for all the work they do in raising us.
I am forever grateful to my mom (and dad!) for all the lessons they taught me as I was growing up. They weren’t perfect parents, and I wasn’t a perfect kid.
Yet, we turned out fine. When they retired and moved away, I missed them more than I thought I would. My mom and I Skyped every day, and continue to do so even after I moved to be closer to them.
I do have to admit one thing: I have zero experience with kids. I was too young to babysit my youngest cousin when she was born, and I never thought to try babysitting while I was in school (wonder why!).
However, one of my cousins gave birth to an amazing little girl a little over a year ago, and one is set to give birth soon. Watching them go through the transition has been interesting, as it’s forced me to give more thought to the matter.
I know you can’t put a monetary value on your family, and I know the “price” of having kids is worth it to many.
There are plenty of parents traveling around with their kids and having fun. There are many more who run their own businesses and are successful entrepreneurs and parents.
I just don’t think it’s the right path for me.
What side of the fence are you on? Did you change your mind on having kids? Are you not planning on being a parent? Have you had to make any compromises since becoming a parent?