Selfish Menace or Why We Don’t Have Kids

We live in Utah that is famous (or infamous) for its Mormon culture. If you are not Mormon, it might not be easy to make friends, people might not understand your religious views or your political opinion. They might interrogate you why you and your husband do not have children.

From time to time I have this re-occurring conversation:

“Do you have children?” A kind, encouraging smile.

“No.”

“Not, yet, huh? When are you planning to have kids?” A determined look into my face. Still smiling, though.

“We are not planning on having children.”

“Not planning to have children?”

“No, we are not planning to have children.”

A blank stare into my face.

“Why? Difficulties conceiving? I have a good doctor to recommend.”

“Thank you but no. We don’t want children.”

Usually after these words I get a dirty look that implies that admitting we don’t want children is some kind of a taboo. Something you don’t talk about, or think about. Apparently in Utah voluntary childlessness is a subject that is frowned upon.

When I honestly answer questions about why we don’t have children, I merely express my opinion. There is no intention to shock, to offend or to deceive.

No one ever asks parents why they have children. I cannot imagine a conversation that would go like this:

“Do you have children?”

“Yes. We have five!”

“Five? Why do you have five children? Trouble using birth control? I have a good doctor to recommend.”

“Thank you but no. We are trying to conceive our sixth one.”

Once a man tried to persuade me to reconsider my position and have as many children as possible. He is a parent of three and had a fourth one on its way. He told me that I should seriously think about having children and used tax credits as a basis for his argument. Really?

Somehow, it feels like my husband and I are constantly being asked to justify our childless life. So, here is my very public justification of our decision not to have children.

Reason 1: Lifestyle.

We work a lot, we love our careers and we like our life the way it is.

Reason 2: Potential.

Potential is a powerful word carrying enormous possibilities for us to travel, sleep in, go out, stay in, watch TV, read, write, blog, shop, move and so on. You get the idea.

Reason 3: Future.

Future doesn’t scare me. It excites me. We don’t have to worry about saving up for college, a new car or a wedding. We don’t have to worry about what school to choose. We don’t have to spend sleepless nights waiting for a daughter to come back from her first date. We also don’t worry about who will take care of us when we will be old and sick. Somehow, I am sure we will figure it out.

Reason 4: Absence of Fascination.

We don’t share endless fascination with tiny bundles of joy, their coughs, sneezes, smiles, farts, tiny hands and plump fingers. There is nothing wrong with it. Not everyone was born to be a parent.

17 thoughts on “Selfish Menace or Why We Don’t Have Kids

  1. Invest It Wisely

    Their farts, haha. I guess the desire not to have children is a self-limiting one since those people are not spreading their genes to the next generation by default. I think that it is a personal choice, and if you feel like your values and desires will be better expressed by not having children, then why not? I am nearly in my 30s and have not had children yet, either, so I am not following the status quo, either. I think I will have some at some point, but I understand the sense in which it can be seen as limiting as well.

    Reply
  2. Lindy Mint

    It’s quite silly that people consider it perfectly okay to tell another person how to live their life.

    If I was feeling clever I would help you come up with something shocking to say the next time someone asks you so it ends the conversation, but alas, creativity gone on my part.

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      Haha! I just learned to listen and nod and then drop a bomb, saying that I don’t really like children. It is not nice, but don’t preach to me how I should live.

      Reply
  3. Sandy @ yesiamcheap

    Now that I am on the other side of 30 I am CONSTANTLY getting this question. I have NEVER wanted kids. Ever, ever, ever. Curiously, my brother who is only 13 months younger than I am never gets this question. Is it limited to women? How offensive a question. What happens in my uterus is my business.

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      Somehow, people are more accepting of a man who doesn’t want children than not a woman. It is a double standard. And everyone has something to say about this!

      Reply
  4. retirebyforty

    I think it’s great that you decided not to have kids. The world needs more people like you guys. Why would anyone want 5 kids these days, it’s just too difficult to raise them up correctly and provide for them. I think one or two is more than enough.

    Reply
  5. Everyday Tips

    I love kids, especially my own kids. However, I don’t care if anyone else in the world decides to procreate or not. Tis a very personal decision, and either you want to or you don’t. (But sometimes the decision is made for you, one way or the other…)

    I do not know why people feel the need to stick their noses in other people’s reproductive business. I imagine it probably is worse in Utah than other places. Maybe you could become a Sister Wife? (That is a tv show for those who are not familiar that takes place in home that practices polygamy)

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      I don’t watch Sister Wives (some of my friends do and love it) but I love Big Love. It is also about polygamy but it is a series and it is REALLY good. In fact I met a girl whose father-in-law comes from a polygamist compound and says that he knows some of the Big Love characters. He says whatever they show on Big Love is very true and close to reality.

      Reply
  6. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    Definitely a personal choice to not have kids. Certainly not anyone business on if you choose to not have children. People can be stupid…. especially when they think that they know what is best for you.

    Reply
  7. Brown Eyed Mystic

    Can’t tell you how much I resonate with this. Though I haven’t decided not to have kids ever (it will have to be a mutual decision), there are those “parental” pressures. I would like to adopt one, at present, and at the max. Can’t say what happens though. For now, I cringe at that thought, to be honest.

    -BrownEyed

    Reply
    1. Aloysa

      I don’t cringe at the thought anymore. I just don’t think about it. When I was your age, it was frightening. At my age, I am very comfortable with where I am. I understand you very well, though. Time will put everything in its place.

      Reply
  8. Craig

    There’s seems to be this feeling that a person who doesn’t want kids is somehow selfish – like they would rather run around than take care of kids. Way I see it though, if a person truly doesn’t want kids then that is totally selfless. What is selfish is having kids when you don’t want them. Why bring kids into the world unless you want to give yourself up completely to them (and your life completely changes with kids).

    There’s nothing wrong with not wanting kids.

    Seems people just want you to have more and more. People ask my wife when we’re having another. Umm, can we take care of the three we have before we have more?!? It’s an interesting expectation of people.

    Reply

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