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It all started with my friend cracking a joke about my shopping addiction. “You’d rather have new shoes than children,” she said. Then she caught my eyes that were reflecting exactly the same thought and added (not laughing) “I can’t believe you’d rather have new shoes than kids.”
You’ve read the title of this post correctly. Your mind is probably racing from shock to horror to disbelief and then to anger. Feel free to throw stones at me because I know some of you will want to do it. But before you pick that stone up and throw it at my face, answer the following questions to yourself:
– Are you ready for your life when you kids move out and move on without you?
– Are you worried if you will ever be able to afford that college you want your offspring to go to?
– Are you suppressing the urge to punish your bundle of joy who refuses to go to bed at 2:00 am and wakes you up at 4:30 am?
– Would you like to be able to sleep in on the weekends?
– Would you like to go on vacations to places you always dreamt of and not think what your kids are going to do?
If you honestly answered all of the above with “no,” then I am happy for you and your kids.
Some of you might feel sorry for me because I never wanted to have kids. Some of you are reading this post with a condescending look on your face, thinking that I am a total failure as a woman. A handicap. You are probably thinking how I can be a real woman if I never gave birth. Honestly, I don’t give a shit what you think. So spare me the self-righteousness. Spare me that sense of entitlement and selflessness.
I don’t know what it feels like to want to have children. I do, however, know how it feels to make plans and not worry if my plans include children’s activities. I do know how it feels to know that my days off can be slept away. Or read away. Or shopped away. I know the feeling of being disorganized and not worrying about it. I know that I can stay late at work and not feel guilty.
Over time I learned that it is quite difficult to explain why I’d rather have new shoes than kids to women who are mothers. I don’t want to offend them by saying the truth that I simply don’t like children. I do not want to anger them by admitting that I do not consider babies a miracle. Just the same way I don’t think puppies, plants or birds are a miracle.
My child-free image and state of mind does not correlate well with parents. Sometimes I think that they are either jealous of my uninterrupted hours of sleep (so bold of me, isn’t it?) or they see me as a repudiation of their own life choices.
Sometimes I feel tired of explaining that I decided to forgo my chance of being a parent because I did not want to lead a life filled with strollers, diaper bags, poop, pee, vomit, breast pumps, sleep deprivation, and the contemptuous looks from strangers like me, who wonder why you thought it was a great idea to bring your bundle of joy on a cruise or to a French restaurant.
I don’t hate children. I just feel a lot better when they are not around, and I like adults a little bit more.
I chose not to relinquish my freedom of professional mobility, freedom to go to any place in the world, freedom to choose to do what I feel like doing and, of course the freedom of sleeping in.
So, yes, you are right, my dear friend, I’d rather have a new pair of shoes than kids.