Our Childfree Life
Life is good right about now. This post may come off as boastful, but I swear I have a point to make here and it isn’t how great or how lucky or how rich I am (I am actually none of these.) It’s about one single choice that my BF and I each made before we ever even met each other. It’s a choice that has defined who we are individually and together as a couple. It’s a choice that we owe the present state of our lives to. It was and remains to be a good choice, despite how often we have each been told we’ll change our minds.
My family has moved to our new home and we’re just about done unpacking. Our animals, our dear Molly and our recently-adopted Maine coon kitty, have settled in well. Molly loves her new yard, and she’s doing alright with her new family-member. As for our cat, B.C., now that she’s been released from her confinement in the guest room, where she had been staying in order to protect her from the stress of the commotion of moving, she has become comfortable with us, the dog, and her new surroundings. The cat seems to enjoy all the attention she’s getting, as well as toys, exercise, and her kitty-condo, all of which I’m sure is a fair step up from the cage she had been locked away in before we took her.
As for the BF and I, we love our new home. It’s away from all of those gripes I had about the townhome we were renting. It’s quiet and peaceful and all of the neighbors mind their own business. I haven’t heard one single screaming kid, revving motorcycle, or blaring horn since we moved. Not only that, but there’s no C/HOA to tell us what we can or can’t do with our home (I was able to get a proper security system installed – YAY!), the money we pay month to month is actually going towards something, and I can rely on having somewhere to park my car. It’s fantastic.
Our new house is a bi-level on a ¼ acre lot that has: four bedrooms and three bathrooms; a big, two-car garage with plenty of storage; a wood-burning fire place with a blower; central AC (we really appreciate that!); all of the appliances we need in good order; beautiful landscaping with colorful flowers and a lush, green lawn with an in-ground sprinkler system; a big back yard with a nice, high fence; mature trees including two; Golden Delicious apple trees; a large, wood deck, accessible from sliding glass doors in the kitchen and in the master bedroom; and last but not least, a hot tub. We love it. Our cat loves it. Our dog loves it. And I’m sure our guests will love it too.
Last Thanksgiving, when we still lived in the townhome, BF’s parents came to visit. They seemed impressed with how well we had our lives together at our young ages. BF’s mother was impressed that I even had all of the items necessary to serve a proper Thanksgiving dinner, and was able to coordinate dinner prep so as to have everything ready to serve at about the same time. If that impressed them last year, I wonder what they’ll think when they visit again this year. Last Thanksgiving, I told BF’s questioning family that I’d been fixed.
The other night, as my BF and I were enjoying our hot tub, we looked around in amazement at how well life was going for us. We were able to afford to live this well, and without over-extending our pocketbooks or finding ourselves in insurmountable debt, and all at the age of 23 and 24. We are still amazed. Once, we considered living in a small shipping container with one or two other soldiers to be living the good life as it was a step above living in a tent with dozens of people. Once, we considered living in a small room in the barracks good. That was only a few short years ago, but now it seems like another life. We’re amazed at how our lives are now.
I’m amazed by our happy family of four. I’m amazed by our well-paying, low-stress jobs. I’m amazed by our three nice cars together. I’m amazed at the quality, beauty, size, and comfort of our new home and all that comes with. And I’m amazed by our happy, healthy relationship together.
As my BF and I soaked in the hot water, remarking on how pleased we are with how things are turning out even at our young ages, I cuddled closer to my BF and told him something that I have told him many times before. I feel like we’ve gone over this point countless times, but it continues to be just as true and relevant. The reason that we live the lives that we do, the reason that we have the home, cars, and other material possessions that we have, the reason that we have this wonderful relationship together all comes down to one deciding factor: we don’t have kids. He agreed.
It might seem awkward that one single choice in a person’s life can mean so much, but this one particular choice (to breed or not to breed) is, I believe, the biggest factor in who a person is, what they have, and what they do in life. My life would be so different, were I a mother, that I can barely fathom it. I don’t think I’d be able to recognize myself. We’d have to give up a lot of ourselves, a lot of our things, and a lot of our happiness were we parents. We just could not afford our current lives.
We couldn’t afford to live in such a large, nice house in such a nice, low-crime area so close to work. We couldn’t have our two sports cars (one of which being a two-seater) and our Pathfinder for offroading. We couldn’t have the status as being such reliable workers, able to come in on short notice and stay after if needed. We couldn’t have a dedicated movie theater in our home. We couldn’t have an office each and a guest bedroom for company. We couldn’t be relatively easily able to go to school. We wouldn’t be able to spend lazy days watching movies, enjoying our hot tub, playing video games, or sleeping in. We wouldn’t be able to pick up and visit friends and relatives, or go on vacations to B&Bs just whenever we found a day off. We wouldn’t have a quiet, peaceful home life. We couldn’t go skiing/snowboarding, off-roading, or hiking with ease. We couldn’t eat at restaurants on a regular basis. We couldn’t have such a large yard. We couldn’t’ have a hot tub. We couldn’t’ have our beautiful collection of books on display. I couldn’t have the same level of heath or the same body. And our relationship? If my BF and I were together at all, our relationship would be strained and would have lost the intimacy that comes with privacy and exclusive attention. Worst of all, we would not have the same opportunities for our future. Our lives would be irrevocably changed, should we have kids, and not for the better. Not only we would not have our current lives, but the lives that we would live wouldn’t even be entirely our own any more. It’s a sad, scary thought.
And we wouldn’t even be satisfied with the trade-off, this “gift” I’m told, as a woman, that motherhood must be. I don’t buy the hype. It isn’t for me. No, the truth is that we’d be miserable. Our animals, if we were even able to rescue them at all, wouldn’t be as happy either as they would no doubt lose the love and attention that they deserve, that being replaced, no doubt, with screaming, tail pulling, and privacy invasion. No one in the whole family would be happy, were children ever brought into it. The hypothetical children would no doubt be unhappy in such an environment as well, so what’s the point?
When I think about having children, even if I somehow had the best children in the world, all I can think of is how much I would lose. And I would, indeed, lose. We all would.
As the human with the uterus, I feel the weight of responsibility for such an outcome upon me. Were this childed life to come to pass, all the problems that would follow would all be my fault. I have it in my power to ruin so much, my life, his life, the lives of our pets, and who knows what else. And yet I’m daily bombarded with messages that I should do just that – have a baby. Have a baby despite all of hardship doing so would bring. Have a baby for no other reason than simply because that’s what is expected of everyone. “Its just what you do,” I’m told. Even on the day of my tubal ligation, over a year ago, the day I took control of my life and underwent a surgery that protected more futures than just my own, there were people doubting my choice. I, however, have no doubts.
If, when BF’s family comes to visit this year, the topic of children comes up again just as it did last Thanksgiving, or if anyone else ever asks, we need only answer the question “why don’t you want kids?” by inviting the questioner to simply look around, to see my life. We’re very happy with our lives. Why should we ever want to change that? I laugh at the idea that I will one day change my mind. I laugh because the very notion is ridiculous to me. Why would I go and do a crazy thing like that?
Why don’t I want kids? Nevermind that. Why don’t you, hypothetical bingoer, want a hot tub? (They cost significantly less than children.) It turns out that a hot tub, by the way, is an excellent location from which to do some laughing at natalist expectations and bingos.