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I met my hubby in 1991, when I was 25 years old and he was 31. I met him in a music store. He was wearing a drum cymbal pendant and I was wearing a guitar pendant and we struck up a conversation. We were both musicians and playing in bands at the time, in addition to holding down regular jobs. The chemistry between us was undeniable and it was only a couple of months before I knew that he was "the one". We connected on such a deep level - even in the early days, I felt like I knew him for years. I was instantly comfortable with him. In fact, on our first date, we talked and talked and talked for hours, way into the wee hours of the morning. We practically had to rip ourselves apart to end the evening.
Being that we were both free-thinking, creative, unconventional types, we really talked over the concept of marriage and whether it was something that suited us. After some thoughtful discussion, we agreed that we couldn't imagine being with anyone else and that marriage was a way to formalize our deep and abiding commitment to each other. We had a wedding that was not only beautiful, it really mirrored our personalities and creativity. On the dance floor we had blow up guitars and micophones to pass around and lip sinc with. We had a limbo contest. We did away with traditions we never liked and substituted our own fun ideas. I kept my last name. We each had both of our parents walk us down the aisle (I never liked the idea of being "given away" like a piece of property from one man to another). The whole wedding was so much fun, and so us.
We decided before we got married that we definitely did not want to have kids. When people talk about the childfree, they think it is important to know the reasons people choose not to have kids. I never thought that was an interesting question. I think the more interesting question is why do people HAVE kids? We never saw the need for it. We were perfectly happy together, had a life filled with love for each other, a happy and comfortable home with adorable feline companions, decent jobs, close friends, a solid extended family, and more hobbies and interests than we could shake a stick at. My family is local and fairly close-knit, so every month there has always been at least one family gathering. As years went by, our family grew with nieces and nephews added into the mix, who are the apples of our eyes and provide us with just enough of a "kid fix" to keep us on our toes. We love them, play with them, take them places, spoil them and then send them home to their parents who can do all the dirty work.
For us, deciding to forego parenthood was a no-brainer. It wasn't something we labored over at all. It was a clear-cut, easy decision - one which we have never regretted - the result of a quick, clear cost/benefit analysis: the cost of having kids far outweighs the benefits.
As I write this, we have been married 16 years and have been together for 20, and with each year that passes we are more and more glad we have taken the path we did. We look around at our family, friends and co-workers who have children, and there isn't anything about their lives we envy. Whereas we have a loving, happy and fun marriage completely devoted to each other, their marriages are strained with the children eating up all of the oxygen in the room. Whereas we are able to enjoy all the interests and pursuits we always did (travelling, music, hobbies, fine dining, education, friendships), they have given up most of their life in sacrifice to the responsibilities of childrearing. Whereas we are able to enjoy relaxing evenings after work, reading, talking and enjoying each other, weekends of spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous fun and a full night of sleep each night, they are running like headless chickens 24/7, just trying to keep it all together, broke and stressed to the max.
Most importantly, at the end of the day, they don't seem as happy as us.
People often ask if we worry that we will regret not having kids. I have never met a childfree-by-choice person who has regretted not having kids, yet I have personally met several parents who have confided in me that if they could do it all over, they wouldn't have kids. A quick Google search of "I hate being a mom" or "I regret having kids" will pull up dozens, if not hundreds of anguished posts by people (mostly women) who regret their choice to have children. But try to find similarly anguished posts by childfree-by-choice folks who regret their choice not to have kids. You won't be able to. We're too busy enjoying our lives.
I relish in my childfree life so much that a few years ago I created a blog devoted to it called Childfreedom. It's become quite a popular blog with the childfree set! Stop by and you can read more of my thoughts on this fabulous lifestyle, and maybe post some of your own.
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