Monday, September 27, 2010

62, Childfree and No Regrets

Thanks to Shelley for emailing me and allowing me to post her message here.

Love your blog!

I'm now 62 and my husband of 35 years is 71. We have NO regrets about our decision NOT to have children. I'm extremely happy to see so many young people today choosing "childfreedom". Good for you for putting up a blog about it.

I love kids and taught elementary school for 27 years but never felt compelled to be a mother. When you choose parenthood you take on a job that will last a minimum of 20 years--a job with no pay, no days off and it's 24/7. And your needs will now come last. If people really thought about what they are sacrificing to become parents, most would not do it-!!

Being a teacher and seeing how many things and how much time and attention kids require, I realized that I didn't want to be a parent. I could have done it, and probably done a better than average job, but I wouldn't have been happy teaching all day & being a mother besides. My husband and I have led an interesting life- we've had the freedom to travel and we have. We have a beautiful home that we love.
We have great friends and many interests. My brother's 2 adult children have caused him and his wife endless pain since they were teenagers. My cousins' adult kids the same-!

I am glad for my freedom from the worry that children bring, my freedom from hurt they can cause. I love that I have been able to develop myself and I think I have a good sense of self. I kind of think as a species, human beings suck. So why breed more? I like individuals but when each of us die--it will be a small blip in the larger meaning of things. I am just not that impressed with humanity--they do not take care of the planet, the air, the water, the creatures, the children, unless they are FORCED to out of self interest. Big deal. So I say live as lightly and happily as possible. Bless others and wish them well. I try to listen to others and laugh as often as possible. I work to contribute where I can when I can--but I am no martyr.

Keep up your good work with your blog!



Vanessa Levin said...

Shelley, hats off to you! Your post really resonated with me. I have been a classroom teacher for almost 20 years. I also love young children and couldn't imagine doing anything else. When you said, "I could have done it, and probably done a better than average job, but I wouldn't have been happy teaching all day & being a mother besides." - that says it all, I couldn't agree more.
From one educator to another- cheers to you!

CeCe said...

It's nice to hear this from someone. When I think about not having children I am afraid of what I MIGHT be missing out on. On my blog I posted a baby pondering question just yesterday 9/26/10. I would LOVE to get feedback from others who might know how I feel. So far everyone says they are definitely having 'em and definitely want 'em. That's what I usually get which is fine but it would be nice to see the other side too.

Spectra said...

That's awesome, Shelley! I have an aunt who is 56 and is childfree. She doesn't regret not having kids--she has lots of cool parrots/birds, spends a lot of time in her garden, and her house has always been immaculate and full of cool knick-knacks. I think part of my decision to be childfree came from her...I always wanted to be just like her. Plus, even when I WAS a kid, I couldn't relate to other kids. Adults are just so much more interesting to hang out with.

Anonymous said...

Shelley, you're the boss! I, too, am a teacher. I cannot imagine doing what I do all day and coming home in the evening to be a mom. I work with middle and high school students. I've had teenagers for 14 years-and while there are many great and interesting things about them, I've not felt compelled or called to have my own. I'm finally at the point of being comfortable with MY decisions and not being so concerned about what OTHER people think. Oh-and I've had numerous parents over the years tell me what a good experience it was for their children to have a female teacher who wasn't a "mom."

Sea_creature said...

I love your insight, Shelly. I have to agree that I don't like human beings as a species, either. We are capable of too much evil and hurt toward each other. The things I've seen and heard during my 33 years on this planet have really helped turn me away from parenting.

debbie said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I am a first grade teacher and I feel the same way. I could never imagine going home after a full day of teaching only to continue my job into the evening. I LOVE being able to do what ever I want after school and enjoy MY time. My husband and I are very thankful for our choice. I do not feel like I am missing out on anything. Any "motherly instincts" are taken care of with my little ones at school or with nieces/nephews.
Cheers to all the fellow childfree teachers out there!

Unknown said...

Shelley, your post is what I call hitting the nail on the head. You have spoken my mind. There is no payoff on a personal level (unless someone really likes to raise kids and feel being in control) and the big purpose of "continuity of species" is not relevant or necessary at this time and age.

I consider the CF by choice people as the really really smart folks in the world regardless of their education.

Retired Syd said...

As an avid reader of your blog, thought you might enjoy my article today at U.S. News, "To Retire Early, Don't Have Kids." Got picked up on Yahoo today and of course the typical comments are along the lines of my empty life . . .

That weido over there said...

What a beautiful and conscious text. Plenty of my reasons are described in it (I guess being a teacher clarifies a lot the duties of parenthood)and they exemplify with honesty and intelligence the chidfreedom!

ChildfreeNYC said...

I love this post because I know I will be in Shelley's shoes one day. I am in my late 30s and have ALWAYS known I didn't want kids. I have no regrets now and neither does my husband. We LOVE, and feel so lucky that, we are childfree. And we started a recent group to meet others like us who live near us, because the friends w/o kids are very rare at this age!

Shelley, congrats to you for being a bit of a trailblazer!

RockitQueen said...

I love this note so much...Shelley sounds awesome!

My man friend and I have decided to not get married or have children. We live separately and we are very happy with the way things are. We are becoming even more comfortable in our decision as more of our friends become parents and disappear from our lives. I discovered your blog recently and have been reading back through the archives. THANK YOU for being such an eloquent and positive voice for those of us who feel the same as you and keep up the fantastic work!