Believe me, I have heard them all. I’ve never wanted children. As a teenager, it was understandable I was not ready for the burden and most people assumed that was all it was – teenage angst about growing up and how I would change my mind when I meet a girl I love. Well, I did, twice, and I still have not even come close to changing my mind. As I stare my 40th birthday in the face, I realise that it is getting rather late if I was ever to change my mind.
I feel compelled now to list all the arguments I’ve heard and impart you some advice when others try to use these on you. These can be gender-neutral, but some are specific to men.
You’ll Feel Different When You Have Them
That might be true, but it’s a reckless social experiment to attempt because if you have them and decide afterwards it was a bad decision, you’ll look like the worst father in the world. I take responsibility for my life and my actions – that’s why I won’t want to try out being a parent just to see if I genuinely do not want to be a parent.
What About (PARTNER NAME), Don’t You Care What She Thinks?
Of course I do, she knows how I feel and has known since day one. If she’s the sort of person who thinks she can nag, bully or blackmail me into changing my mind then she’s not the person for me. If she decides her biological clock is ticking and she couldn’t bear not to have them, we’ll deal with that when we cross that bridge. Oh and please don’t imply that my life choices are unimportant compared to any woman’s life choices. It’s my body, my decision. She can take it or leave it at any time which has been her option since we met.
Don’t You Want a Family?
Yes! But “family” means different things to different people; mine happens not to be me, partner and 2.4 children. Mine happens to be a girlfriend/wife and a couple of dogs. I have come to realise there is more to being a man than being a patriarchal provider and protector.
It’s a Great Life Experience You’re Missing Out On
And cruising the Norwegian Fjords is a great experience you’re missing out on because you’re making your travel plans based on what the kids will and won’t find exciting. I can wake up on a Sunday morning and just travel to London for the day for the sheer hell of it and I can ready in under an hour without small people sulking that they don’t want to go.
What About Your Mother, She Wants Grandchildren!
She already has some and I expect my currently childless siblings will have them in due course. Besides which, it’s such a big life decision that it shouldn’t be made for other people and it would be irresponsible to let a prospective grandmother nag me into changing my mind. I love my mum, but there are things I won’t do – including changing the course of my life.
Who Will Look After You When You’re Older?
I can take care of myself. I have friends and if I’m in good health, I’ll make new friends – whether widowed or other fellow childless people. I expect to be financially better off for not having children, more so in view of my qualifications and that I run my own business. I could probably take care of myself and have a good life with it.
It’s Because You’re Too Selfish
If by “selfish” you mean “an introvert for whom personal space and quiet time is as vital as oxygen, food and water” then, yes. I need to know I can retreat from the world, lock myself away for a few hours or a day without being constantly hounded by noisy small people. Sorry, that’s the way I am. It’s not an affliction you can cure by foisting your children upon me.
Being a Father is the Greatest Decision I Ever Made
I’m sure it was, for you. But what is good for you is not necessarily good for me. I don’t get this “it worked for me so it’s right for everybody” narcissism. It’s the written word equivalent of the selfie, people use it when looking for validation and nothing more. I’m pleased for you that parenting gave meaning to your life but the meaning in my life lies elsewhere.
But You’re So Good With Kids!
That might be a good reason for why I should try Primary Level school teaching, but it doesn’t work for parenting. When I’m good with your kids, it’s because I know I’ll only get to spend a few hours with them at a time – and if anything goes wrong, they’re your responsibility. I just get to be the cool uncle, the cool daddy’s (or mummy’s) friend or the friend of the family who is always nice and friendly and willing to spend time with your kids… for a few hours maximum.
So that’s it! This is mainly aimed at men because there are so few articles like this for males who don’t want kids, so ladies and gents please offer any patronising or nagging nuggets of wisdom you’ve had from parents trying to change your mind!