Just a few days ago, I got it again: "So, when are you having kids?"
I laughed and made a joke, because really, why would anyone think it is a good idea for me to procreate at this point in my life? I am single (not that that matters, lots of credit to all the single moms out there), I work a million hours a week, and I can't handle anything more complicated than hummus for dinner. Yet, all of these "excuses" pale in comparison to the real reason that I'm not a mom. Are you ready?
I don't want to have a child.
I really don't. I've never wanted to be a mother, and that should be reason enough to keep my uterus unoccupied, wouldn't you think? I shouldn't have to explain myself, or argue about why I don't want to have a kid. Yet I do. It's amazing to me how many times outright strangers have felt completely comfortable expressing disapproval about my choice to remain child-free. And it's not like I walk around wearing an "I hate babies" T-shirt; people feel free to ask, and then to judge.
Fortunately for me, I am possessed of a strong will, an unwavering commitment to a life without children, and a twisted sense of humor. It's easy for me to come up with a quick retort, and I'm not easily offended. Those who truly know me support my choices, and that's all that matters. But I feel for those who aren't as hardened as I. No wonder people in this society are all so damned malcontent; whatever choice you make, you're screwed. If you decide to be a mother, you open yourself up to a whole new world of judgment. Are you breastfeeding? No? Well, that's because you care more about yourself than your baby's health. Will you vaccinate? Do you co-sleep? And don't even get me started on daycare. Why have a baby if you're just going to hand it over to someone else while you work?
Conversely, we who choose to live without kids are such incredibly selfish creatures. We spend our empty, pathetic lives immersed in the superficial luxuries that only those without children have the time and money to afford. We may seem to be enjoying ourselves, but deep down, we are missing something intrinsic to true happiness. Without kids, life has no meaning; we're just hollow shells of who we could be.
You know what's really sad? Basing your happiness and level of contentment on what the perception of others tells you to. Single and happy? Perish the thought! The state of being single is supposed to be a transition, not a way of life. Even if someone is perfectly content in their singlehood, it's difficult to stay that way when society is focused on "fixing" this issue. If enough people tell you that you're broken, eventually, it's going to start to shift the way you view your life.
I don't care if someone is single. I don't care if they're married. Child-free? Good for you. You have kids? As long as they aren't getting me all sticky, it's all good. We are beautifully different creatures with different needs, and we all require different things to make us happy. There will always be zealous judgy people out there who have way too many opinions about things that don't concern them. You can't avoid that, but you can avoid buying into it. And I promise you, when you learn to embrace what makes you happy without deferring to the opinions of others, life will get a whole lot better.