Do you have children? It’s a question you’re asked a lot by a vast majority of people, sometimes several times during a week. In a state (Utah) where the average marrying age for women is 23 and 26 for men (the lowest in the nation with the national average being 28 for men and 26 for women), and where most often it feels a lot more like 19 is the average, being a 27 year old girl with no husband and no children can sometimes feel a lot like being the “old maid” when you respond with “No, I’m single and childless” and get typical “Oh, I see.” response.
Do You Want Kids?
Now, it doesn’t bother me at all to be asked-I understand why it’s a popular question. People want to connect with each other in any way they can. Mothers want to be friends with other Mothers, those of us that don’t have kids like to be able to relate a little, and honestly when it comes to dating that’s something important you should know before proceeding. The harder question to answer is Do you want kids?
The Age-Old Question
It’s a question that has been on my mind for the vast majority of my adult life. Growing up I never really thought about it, but as you start dating and looking for potential partners it’s something that comes up and starts needing to be addressed-and let’s face it-they want to know. For the first half of my twenties I thought I desperately needed to have children one day, even though I wasn’t really in a rush to get started.
Don’t Expect People to Change Their Minds
When I got into my first relationship at 19 it was definitely an issue. My boyfriend was adamant that he never wanted children, mostly due to the really rough childhood he’d had and the mental illness that ran in his family. I bounced between denying that I wanted them, and thinking that one day he’d change his mind. (One bit of advice ladies, don’t ever expect someone to change their minds-you can’t base a future on that.) So I pushed it back, we were young and it wasn’t something that needed to be addressed at that moment anyway. We didn’t last due to completely unrelated issues, so it was never something we had to worry about.
After that, I dated a lot of guys who said they didn’t want children. It never really mattered too much, I kept with the same denial I had started with, but mostly I never got as far in those relationships to wonder if it mattered. Then I met [Sneeze]. He was so badly burned from a previous divorce that he swore up and down that he never wanted to get married again or have any more children, but he had two. They were good kids and I came to love and raise them as my own during the times that we had them, I was a second mother to them. But eventually that came to an end, and since they weren’t really my children I had to let them go. That may have been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
It Doesn’t Matter Much
These days I find that the older I get, the less it matters and the less it’s on my mind. Maybe my biological clock has finally given up on me, but I no longer get “baby hungry”, and I find that I rather enjoy being childless. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids-I like them once they get to the cute age where they start doing stuff (you know, once they’re out of the “loaf of bread” stage where all they do is eat, sleep, and cry) and I love spending time with my god-kids and friends’ kids. They’re fantastic.
I Like My Sleep
What I also love though, is not having to wake up a hundred times a night to a screaming baby. I like my mostly disposable income, not needing to find a babysitter when I go out, and having alone time. It’s not about being selfish-or maybe it is-but I don’t think I should give all of that up just because society tells me I’m supposed to want and have children.
Can I honestly say I do or don’t want children? No. I’m still undecided. I figure in time it’ll work itself out when it needs to and I’m in no rush to figure it all out. I know I tend to lean towards the idea of adopting children much more than the thought of having my own. One of my friends who works in the healthcare industry told me to read The Adoption Guide for Healthcare Providers Working with Birth Parents and I learned loads about the adoption process. It was useful to learn about the adoption process from a healthcare provider’s point of view too If I ever decide to have kids I will be a damn good mother since I’ve had lots of practice already, but that doesn’t mean that is how it’ll end up. For now, I’m finally alright without the rush. It’s not something that has to be decided right now-when did we all forget how to take our time and enjoy the ride? I’ll get to that decision when I get to it.