9 Perfectly Valid Reasons Not to Have Children

Linda Sharps | Nov 19, 2013 Being a Mom

Every now and then, the same sort of article makes the rounds online. It's written by a woman without children, and she's expressing her frustration with the people who ask her when she's planning to have kids or, worse, share their unwanted opinion that she'll surely change her mind eventually.

I totally sympathize with these folks and couldn't agree more that the decision not to have kids shouldn't be up for public scrutiny. It's not weird, it's not self-absorbed, it's not a choice that's inherently steeped in regret. My only criticism with these articles is that they invariably get defensive, as if the author has given up on trying to convince the world that valid reasons not to procreate even exist. For instance: "I need my sleep much more than I need children. Does that sound selfish? That's probably because it is!"

I don't think that's selfish at all. I think it's completely rational -- and so are the following "selfish" reasons.

  • "I don't want other people to dictate my sleep schedule."


    I love my kids beyond reason and I've never once regretted having children. That SAID, I can't understand why anyone has to defend their right to choose a child-free lifestyle. It seems like people are always looking for a way to fully express their personal choice in a way that's so incredibly insightful, it can't be argued against. But you know what? "I want a life devoid of sleep interruptions" is perfectly reasonable all on its own.

  • "I don't like kids."


    Hey, you know what? Not everyone does. It's fine.

  • "I want to focus on my career."


    Lots of people balance a successful career and motherhood (or do the best they can trying). But just as some women choose to stay home with their kids, some prefer to put the majority of their energy into the work they find personally fulfilling.

  • "I don't want to change the relationship I have with my husband."


    If you asked me how parenthood changed my marriage, I'd describe the ways it has deeply enriched our lives and brought us closer over the years. But I'd also mourn the lack of spontaneity and lost time together. There's no doubt that becoming parents affects a marriage in a number of profound ways, and it's totally okay to want to preserve the child-free relationship you have.

  • "I want to go on vacation whenever I feel like it."


    Valid. Also valid: I want to walk out my front door whenever I feel like it, without making complicated logistical arrangements in order to do so.

  • "I don't want the responsibility."


    Why do people feel the need to try and overturn this statement with platitudes about "But it's soooooo worth it!" Parenting is consuming, heartbreaking, stress-causing, environment-taxing work, and while I personally may feel it's worth it for my own life, I'd never decide it's what EVERYONE should do.

  • "I don't want the expense."


    According to BabyCenter.com, the cost of raising a child from birth until age 18 is $241,080. That doesn't even include college expenses, by the way. Not having kids means being in a better position to save for retirement, not to mention having a lifestyle that's far more affordable all the way around.

  • "I want the freedom to pursue my passions and interests."


    This can mean anything and everything, can't it? Maybe you want a life with plenty of downtime for relaxation and rejuvenation. Maybe you want to jet off to São Paulo on a regular basis. Maybe you don't want your weekends to be devoured by child-related activities. Hell, maybe you just want a home that reflects your own tastes and isn't cluttered with toys all the time.

  • "I'm happy the way things are."


    What more needs to be said?

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