Friday, April 05, 2013

Full Time Job

I already have a full-time job. Two, on many days and nights. I work from home, often for very long hours fueled by lots of late night coffee, and because I generally make my own hours, when I can choose my hours I work into the wee hours of the night. I'm a textbook night owl, preferring to work late and wake late.

Because I love my job, my career, this is perfect for me.

The moment I consider how a child would change the way I live my life, my work is the first thing I think about. I think about the long days, the crunch time nights where I get three or four hours of sleep because I'm balancing so many clients, and know that there's just no room.

In addition to all this work, I have a marriage that I treasure. Our couple's time is very important. Even after 10 years together, we program in snuggle time into the morning alarm. We enjoy gourmet food and entertaining friends, and traveling is a huge part of our life together. To give up the vacations we take, to use our treasured vacation time to manage sick kiddos, I can't imagine that.

You make sacrifices, moms will say, and it's worth it.

But what if I don't want to make those sacrifices? What if the price is too high?

This is something I have a hard time explaining to people who've known all their lives that kids would be a big part of their life. Of course you can't explain to someone whose kids are their world just how much you value your time. When you don't have the drive to be a parent, there's nothing a parent can say that can make me want to change my priorities.

I know amazing parents who do it with grace. I know others who struggle. The consensus is that there are sacrifices involved, of course. Some work part time or fewer hours. Most who work full-time have family who cares for their kids. But all understandably devote an incredible amount of time to their kids' lives.

It's like adding another job to the list. I mean no disrespect when I say that, because I understand that everyone's kids are far more than just a "job", but that's just it. Because I don't have the drive, all I see is the work involved. As my mom said when I was younger, I'm "more of a career girl."


Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog a few days ago and I have to say I love what I'm reading! I'm probably on the younger end of the spectrum of your readers. I'm a female in my early twenties and thinking ahead about major life decisions I will be making in the years to come. I have never had the desire to have children, and can't see myself changing that in the future. I've heard the whole spectrum of arguments of "Oh you're so young, you'll change your mind", but I know if I told those same people that I wanted to have 3 kids someday the comments I would receive would be much different. I am young, and yes I may change my mind. The only anxiety I have about my choice comes from the fact that I am not yet married, but have been dating a wonderful man for 2 years who I wish to marry in the near future. The only issue is, he would like to have children someday. We have discussed this issue at length, and to my great relief he knows exactly how I feel and it's not a deal breaker for him. I still worry, however, that someday down the road he may decide that being a father is an experience he just can't live without...and I may lose the love of my life...

Anonymous said...

I was one of those girls who knew how many kids they were going to have. What their names were and everything. Then reality hit. I became a nanny for 2 really small kids and I felt my patience leave me. (I ended up quitting when the older boy who was 1 1/2 took his poop and smeared it all over the walls and his brother,who was 9 months old. ) Still I was hopeful. And then some deep convos with my bf happened and my bipolar really began ramping up again,and made kids out of the question. Also I became very scared of having an autistic child,runs on my bf's side. And afraid I would be too distant to my child,after reading Broken for You. That I decided I didn't want to mess up a kid. This past weekend my bf was very sick,so we spent the weekend in bed together. Just laid around. We spent a few hours outside the house on both days but most of the weekend was in bed. AND IT FELT WONDERFUL!

Anonymous said...

Your blog struck a chord with me. What made me google the word 'childfree' this morning? Probably the fact I am going to my 1st (British) baby shower this afternoon for a close friend in her mid-30's who is expecting her 1st baby in 3 weeks, and that a work colleague is 28 weeks pregnant with her 1st, I suddenly seem to be surrounded by baby talk.
I'm 41 and childfree. By choice? Yes. Well sort of.
Like Stasha I had no desire in my 20's (during a 7 yr marriage) or in my 30's (during a 6 yr relationship with a guy with children) to have my own family. In fact looking after someone elses children every other weekend was a decider that I love my free time and don't want the ties of family life.
I openly state (a bit rudely I guess - diplomacy never was my strong point) that baby talk is boring and I have absolutely no interest in cooing over a newborn.
But sometimes in my more honest reflective moments I wonder whether I should have/would have been a parent (a good one too) but circumstances and the lifepath I chose did not lead me into motherhood.
All I know is that the saying about a woman really growing into herself and blossoming in 30's/40's is true - I have never been happier, I love my independence, I never envy my couple friends going home to each other - I prefer my own space. I'm in a serious relationship but we dont live together; things are so good why change them?
I feel a little sorry for my parent friends who can't at 1 minutes notice wander into town, drink cocktails in the middle of the afternoon, enjoy last minute holidays in 'term time', dine in fine restaurants at midnight - the list is endless.
I am sad that I can count one, JUST ONE married friend who is happily married, not having relationship problems, and is it coincidence they have chosen not to have children? They are very happy but certainly in the minority in their choice.
I suspect, truthfully, that if I was careless and became pregnant (lets not get into abortion issues here) and a baby was thrust upon me (is 9 months thrusting?!) I might embrace motherhood and it might be the best 'mistake' that ever happened to me. But I like to be in control. I dont like 'might', 'ifs', 'buts' and 'maybes'.
So I choose to be me, & as I approach middle age (eeek!) I find myself doing more and at a greater pace than in my youth, because life becomes more precious as you age and I dont want to waste a moment.


Anonymous said...

Your sentiments are exactly like mine. I feel richer for not having kids. I have better couple time with my husband, keep our nestegg for ourselves and not having to slave for and worry about the welfare of kids. To me the returns does not match what I have to put in. Rebellious teenagers, opinionated adult kids not what i need in my life.

Better Read Than Dead said...

You have such an uncanny knack of summarising my own feelings almost exactly and my life and relationship with my husband is so similar to yours (typing whilst basking in the post-snuggle glow).

The crux of the matter is that we can't have it all. In an ideal world where we have an extra 20 years in the biological clock, more hours in the day and more money in the bank then yes maybe experiencing parenthood would be "interesting" perhaps even "nice" but looking realistically about who we are and what we want out of life, I can honestly say that there are many things that outweigh this curiosity – and for me it is "curiosity" and not a "need" for a child – and these are things that we, personally and as a couple, are not willing to sacrifice.

On the other hand I have friends and relatives who feel the same way about the things that *we* find important in life. Those people who say, "Well, we'd love to visit Barcelona but would rather raise a child" These are the people who seem to understand and accept our stance on this issue and I truly value those friends. Unfortunately there have been a few incidents with other people who will not accept that this is a viable option - perhaps it is envy, foolhardiness, anger... who knows. All I can say is that we need to make our own choices in life and it is an important thing to recognise your own dreams and comfort levels.

Anonymous said...

We are cut from the same cloth Stasha -- love your take on the child-free life. :)

I am a married designer as well, my husband an engineer, and I think we are at the point where we just feel out-of-sorts being OK with not having children. And that's because all of our very "traditional" friends are popping out kids left and right right now. I even had a random text last week in the middle of an important meeting, from a wife of my husband's friend, who gave me prenatal vitamin advice! Note that I didn't say she was my closest gal pal. Awkward!

We come from a southern town where getting married and having babies is your duty. We have a great new house, upgraded a car, love our jobs... so does that mean we have a kid checkbox remaining hollow on our list? Truthfully, for me that box never existed.

I was always upfront with my husband, as our dating grew serious, that I was pretty darn positive I did not want kids. And when he put a ring on it I reiterated this same message. I allowed for the "never say never," but I let him know that there was more of a chance that I would choose to forego kids in place of my career. I felt he got the message loud and clear, and my instincts said that he probably held the same sentiments.

Two years into our marriage today (I am 33, he is 32) and we still feel the same. We love our couple's time, travelling, being spontaneous -- or just vegging out in our PJ's watching zombie movies undisturbed. The heart of our marriage is enjoying one another and being a part of each other's happiness. There is no void in my uterus. It's just a nuisance every 28-30 days!

I do fear our biggest nuisance in the future will be when we become more vocal about our decision and therefore lose some of those "traditional" friends who just can't wrap their head around our lifestyle. But there's a silver lining to every cloud -- we will have less invitations to toddler's birthday parties, and fewer uncomfortable silences when we can't swap a potty training story for a "guess what Little Susie did..."

And they all lived happily ever after. :)

Anonymous said...

Its amazing to me that I have friends that HAVE NEVER babysat a day in their life and they went ahead anyway and had kids. How can you jump into the biggest commitment of your life and not even dip your toes in the water first? Many of them admit that, although the love their kids, they had 'no idea' what they were getting into... and judging by the antidepressants and anti anxiety meds they are all on... its not all 'worth it' after all.