It’s a Choice, Not an Obligation

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for quite some time and floating around in my brain even longer. It’s hard to write about certain topics without feeling like you’re going to ruffle feathers or have people jump down your throat. I’m certain it won’t stop the questions from coming, but at least it’ll let me vent a bit about why the answers are the way they are. 

In the 5th grade I turned to my best friend and declared I wasn’t going to get married or have children. She laughed at me but I was quick to assure her how serious I was. And everyone else when I told them. “You’ll change your mind when you get older,” they said.

But I knew I wouldn’t. 

The idea originated while thinking about my future. Yes, I’m well aware it was a little early in life to start thinking about my future. If I were to work and focus on my career, would I want my child to grow up in daycare? I would miss their childhood. That wasn’t something I was willing to do. And I wouldn’t ask my significant other to give up their career to stay home with our child. It wouldn’t be fair, in my opinion. Since I wanted to be in an equal relationship and wasn’t willing to let my child grow up with a nanny or in daycare, it was clear having children was something that wouldn’t work for me. Let me reiterate – for ME. Not for everyone.

Most people would read that paragraph and immediately call me selfish. And rightfully so. I mean, the audacity I must have to want a job to pay bills and support myself. I’ve always been an independent person, sometimes even working 2 or 3 jobs to ensure everything would be paid. I need financial security. I couldn’t imagine not working because what if, God forbid, my significant other & I were to split up? After years of unemployment I’d be thrown out into the job force expecting to find a job in a world full of much more qualified people. I cannot [and will not] rely on someone else to pay my bills for me while I am physically capable of doing it myself.

I’m not a normal girl. I don’t have the biological clock that supposedly ticks inside of you, driving you to procreate “before time runs out”. The countless baby photos strewn all over my Facebook and Instagram feeds don’t make me fall all over myself or cause my ovaries to ache. Side note: what does that even mean, to have your ovaries ache when you look at a baby photo? I don’t have a perfectly curated Pinterest page chronicling my dream wedding or wonder how Brad will propose someday.

Although it’s changed somewhat over the years, society leads you to believe natural life progression for a woman is marriage –> baby –> house. Apparently all you need are those three things and you have life figured out. People are always asking when Brad is going to “make me an honest woman” and if children are in our future. The shocked face and silence after responding with ‘maybe never’ and ‘no’ sometimes causes me to wonder if I’m making some kind of mistake.

But then I remember I’m not.

Brad and I both work hard to be equal partners in our relationship. We fight less than most married couples I know because we actually talk about our problems rather than sweeping them under the rug and pretending they don’t exist.  We bust our asses at work day in and day out. There is no “his paycheck” or “my paycheck” because the money is ours. Neither of us are interested in having children, so we’re not having them. I still can’t comprehend why this concept is so hard for people to understand. We’re doing what we want and because it’s our lives, these are decisions we have to live with for the rest of our lives. And if being a dual income household with no kids is something which makes us happy, why isn’t that acceptable?

We may be unconventional in buying a house first and not being interested in a wedding or having children. When you’re in a relationship, you have to work hard to keep it together because it’s much easier to walk away from than it is to walk away from a marriage. It’s a choice, not an obligation. 

You don’t need to be married to reap the benefits of marriage. I think we’re doing just fine the way things are. As I’ve always said when people ask why we just don’t get married already…

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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  1. This is great! I think people are so focused on “the next step” before they even finish the one before, and pick steps that they’re “supposed to do” rather than what they want to do. Marriage, children, etc. are a HUGE deal, and aren’t something you should do just because you feel like you’re supposed to. I can relate to this on SO many levels.

    Also, I couldn’t help but LOL about the “aching ovaries” because I’m right there with you. Don’t get me wrong, kids are super cute, but nothing in my body aches when I see a cute one.

    • Thank you! Definitely wavered for awhile on whether or not to hit the ‘Post’ button.

      And I hope someone one day will explain to me what an aching ovary feels like. I can’t imagine it’s pleasant.

  2. Alright, if I can put in my two cents: you two are basically already married in my opinion and you two breaking up would be just as difficult as me and FF breaking up (even though we’re married.)
    Also, you mention “There is no “his paycheck” or “my paycheck” because the money is ours.” I don’t even do that and I’m married. We have seperate paychecks and we pay for things seperately. We have no joint bank accounts. If we buy something for the house, we usually finance and then swap payments each month so we’re paying half.
    So you may ask yourself, why did you get married if nothing changed? And the answer: no clue. 🙂
    I think you know where I stand on the kids issue. Unless the children are bunnies.

    • We actually didn’t have a joint account up until a few months ago. It was getting to the point where I was like “hey, we need to grab groceries/gas but I don’t have the cash for it, do you?” and then he would end up paying for it – or vice versa. Sometimes it ended up in transferring money or borrowing a debit card. Finally I was like, why are we doing this extra step? All of the money goes to the same place. So we switched to a joint account.

      And yes, at this point we’re pretty much married. But not according to the IRS haha

  3. People can be so judgemental! When my (now fiancé, then boyfriend) we’re buying our house our mortgage broker said “This might not be a great idea, what if you break up?”

    I replied “And married couples don’t divorce?”

    Good for you for knowing what makes you happy!

  4. I’m completely with you on the no kids thing — I’ve known since I was very little (probably around 5th grade or so as well) that I would NEVER have kids. The feelings have only gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older, although I do wonder “what if” more times than I’d probably openly admit to most people. I don’t see why a natural life-long feeling or calling to be a mother seems normal to most people, but when you have the exact same, but opposite feeling, people look at you like you have three heads.

    As far as the marriage thing goes, I understand your POV, but would caution you to look into some of the legal benefits that come with marriage, such as being the legal next of kin for your guy. I know there are lots of instances where you can just name any “emergency contact” or whatever, but there might be some things that might matter to one or both of you that you may not have legal recourse to without that piece of paper. But, on the other hand, maybe you’re not thinking that far down the road?

    • Thank you for your thoughts! I agree, it’s so strange to me how widely accepted it is to want kids, but there MUST be something wrong with you if you don’t.

      As for the legal benefits, we are each other’s beneficiary on every single document and policy we have. We’re definitely in it for the long haul!

  5. I appreciate this and you, my friend. Thank God there’s someone in the world I can relate to (well, besides Paula). I don’t think I can ever go back to Michigan because my friends there all give me the side eye and thing I’ll steal their husbands with my single, independentness.

    I *just* got done ranting to my mom and sister about how biased things are against unmarried, child-free (we are FREE not -less) people. Why do I have to pay taxes for education when I have no children? Sure, I’ll pay for as many years as I was in school. But now, I should be done. And why do married people pay less in taxes than I do when I have a single income and live alone? NOTFAIRNOTFAIRNOTFAIR!

    • Child-free means we do not count, obviously. At least that’s the way it’s portrayed in the media. HuffPost has been pumping out the articles all about mothers lately … what about the rest of us? We’re successful at life too, despite whether we have offspring or not!

  6. I enjoyed reading this. It’s safe to say you guys know what you want and that’s all that matters.

  7. Aweee, this makes me so happy 🙂 I have the exact same post fully drafted in my blog admin. We’ve been married for almost 10 years and always get harassed about it, but life without kids is definitely our path too. Rock it, sista!
    Stacey recently posted…Skin Cancer ScreeningMy Profile

  8. I wish I could like this 100 times. My bf and I are the same way. We’ve been together for 7 years, don’t want kids, and aren’t married. We’re so tired of having to justify that to others. We like our life, period. It’s not for anyone else to judge.
    Mo (@rushourunner) recently posted…3 things thursday [79]My Profile

    • Completely agree! We’re coming up on the 10 year mark and everyone likes to throw around the “now that you’ve been together for a decade, do you think you’ll finally get married?” Not amused.

  9. I’m definitely with you on not wanting kids. I’ve never really wanted them and I think I’d be much happier with a bunch of cats and being a cool aunt to my brother’s children (should he decide to have them).
    Rungry recently posted…HoustonMy Profile

    • That’s my boyfriend’s stance as well, he wants to keep his “Cool Uncle B” title. Can’t say I blame him – you’re still able to send those kids home at the end of the day 😉

  10. Love this. I’m so sick of people telling me I need to hustle up and get married so I can have kids – since clearly that’s the only reason why people get married!? It’s a wonderful choice to make, but certainly not one that everyone should have to choose.
    Steph recently posted…Over the Mountain TriMy Profile

    • This is great! —> “It’s a wonderful choice to make, but certainly not one that everyone should have to choose.”

  11. I thought this was a very well thought out and written post!
    I knew I had to meet someone in college and my goal was to get married & have kids. Alot of pressure. Society is messed up, and I like that you are happy and not feeling the pressure to do so.

  12. Bravo! Too often people have children and get married because that’s what society tells them to do and not what they actually want. I used to work at Baby Gap and the number of moms I would see that viewed their children as accessories was terrifying. There is no perfect mold in life; we get to choose the life we want. And kudos to people who actually have that figured out!

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