8 Reasons Not To Have Kids
It took a lot of thought, but here are the 8 reasons we came up with that entrenched us in the DINK (dual income no kids) camp.
By a conservative estimate, my hubby and I get asked when we’re going to have kids probably once a month. When we first got married, the question was posed more frequently, but now our friends and family have given in to the fact that we put a lot of thought into our life choices and don’t mind being different (I mean, hey, we’re vegan).
When I was in my 20’s, I assumed I was going to have kids someday. That was back before I started questioning everything in life. The more I open my eyes to the realities of the world (like where our food comes from, for example), the more I see that, in reality, things aren’t how they’re marketed to us. It’s not that having kids can’t be a great thing for some people — I’m sure it is. It’s just that, in my mind, I’d had this movie trailer playing in my brain that consisted of Thanksgiving dinners and happy times with family. In reality, most families have serious ups and downs. Having kids is a rollercoaster, no matter how you slice it.
When I got sick, I realized that reducing stress in my life needed to be top priority if I was going to lead a long, healthy life. So I cut back on work, started incorporating stress-relieving habits like taking baths and meditating, and made a list of life’s current and potential stressors. Kids was right at the top of that list. But that’s not the main reason we chose not to have them. Here’s the list we made while we were mulling over the decision:
- Earth is way overpopulated.
It’s hard to hear, I know, but the inconvenient truth is that the world needs (a lot) less people, not more. There’s no such thing as a carbon-neutral, pollution and waste-free person. Unless your kid ends up being Elon Musk, and what are the chances of that?
- We want a low-stress life.
Stress is a killer. The chemicals your body produces when you feel stress are a major factor in disease, they cause your body to deteriorate, they destroy your gut (which can cause many long term health problems), and they make it so your mood and sleep is all wonky. Plus, being under a lot of stress makes your life pretty unpleasant. I’d rather have the low-stress option of watching a movie with my hubby, reading a book, or going to dinner with friends, rather than dealing with my kid’s daily dramas.
- We want to travel.
Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve felt the itch explore, and have flown off to have an adventure somewhere new at least once a month. I know there are people who say you can travel with kids, but let’s not kid ourselves — it’s not exactly the same as just you and your hubby, is it? #SayNoToDisneyland
- We want to protect our relationship.
For many (dare I say ‘most’) couples, having kids makes keeping the romance alive much, much harder. Let’s be honest — it’s no secret that having kids puts so much strain on a marriage that many couples either become miserable or divorce. That’s just statistics. Our marriage is super strong, but seriously, why test it like that? Keeping my marriage romantic, low-stress, and happy is my first priority. (I know that some of you will disagree and say that it made your marriage stronger, and more power to ya! You’re the lucky ones!)
- We don’t want to be babysitters.
Watching kids shows, dealing with other kids and their parents, and shuttling your kids to birthday parties, sports events, and school (not to mention PTA meetings) all sound like things we’d rather avoid. I’d rather be able to work on Urbanette or choose to do what I want, when I want.
- We want to live wherever we want.
We don’t want the home we choose to live in to be dictated by school districts. Having the luxury of living in different places is a big plus. If we had kids, that would be a lot harder. Once you have kids, it’s a lot harder to quit your job, move to a new place, or a host of other options that effectively disappear once you have the responsibility of raising a family.
- We would rather donate to charity.
Having kids costs a fortune. It’s estimated that the first 18 years of a kids life costs their parents about $500,000 per child (if you live in a good area — ie. not Idaho Falls or El Paso). And that’s if you send them to public school. We’d rather donate that money to charities, where it can have a huge impact, instead of using it all up on one person.
- It’s just a lot of risk.
What if our kid were to get paralyzed? Or have addiction problems? Or split personality disorder? Or any number of other things? It’s a big risk, and then you become a lifelong caretaker with no time for anything else. And I’m pretty sure I’d go nuts and hunt down some 19-year-old prick if I found out that my daughter had been raped in college, as about a third of girls are.
Ok, so I know that some of you are going to hate me for this list, because it goes against the grain of society and what the public has been sold on: The American Dream. ie. Have kids, get a mortgage, etc. I’m not saying that people have kids solely because society tells them to. I just find it interesting to consider that the American Dream was manufactured by the people in charge (ie. the CEO’s of massive corporations that have hundreds of thousands — or millions — of employees). Those people in charge have access to advertising, the media, politicians, and shaping cultural norms. Their goals are: create harder workers and less turnover. They get that by making their employees feel trapped, so they’ll work harder and be less likely to move, quit, become an entrepreneur, etc. Just some food for thought…
When it boils down, some people really love having kids, and more power to ’em! But in our case, I’m really, really glad that we thoroughly considered all these factors before jumping on the kid bandwagon. My husband and I are sure that this is the right decision for us, but life isn’t a one-size-fits-all, so having kids (as long as you’ve carefully considered the implications) may still be the best choice for your life. But for us, our cats are our furbabies, and the freedom that comes along with being DINK’s (dual income no kids) is one of the main reasons that our lives are so happy and low stress — and will (hopefully) remain that way.
Have you considered all these factors? What are your thoughts about having (or not having) kids?