At a recent family reunion, I fielded a good amount of questions about my personal life. I’m 22, single and in college. The conversation started out casually and ended right where it always does…
“It’s so great you don’t have any kids yet! Just go ahead and wait!”
Right away, my answer is an awkward laugh and, “I don’t really want kids.”
Then I get the lecture about how I’m young, so it’s cool to wait, but that the beauty of having a kid will overtake my life – how my life won’t fully start until I have kids.
Enter my awkward smile hoping the conversation will end.
When my girls and I sit around and have these conversations, it always follows with how many kids everybody wants to have and the white-picket-fence dream future they have.
That all sounds really cool and I support it. I always follow with the fact that I don’t really want to have kids. To be honest, pregnancy actually really terrifies me.
I can’t name the amount of friends who take personal offense to my commitment to independence and selfishness in my future.
“HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT KIDS??????” “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT YOU THINK PREGNANCY IS SCARY????”
Well, it’s easy.
I am only 22 and have one year left of college.
My current baby is my education. My education will end up having cost me about $30,000 in loans that I will be paying back myself. That’s a lot of money, like having a baby costs a lot of money. So, while some women are looking forward to graduating and going off and having kids with their spouses, all I’m thinking is “let’s make the best of this education.”
The most important thing to me has always been getting an education and reaching my career goals. It makes no sense to me why I wouldn’t want to put all my energy into fulfilling those objectives after putting myself into that much debt. After figuring out what my goals are and the opportunities that lie ahead of me, it just doesn’t seem fair to go off and prioritize becoming a parent when clearly my heart is set on being successful in my career.
“A baby changes your heart and goals!” So I’ve been told – but I don’t want my heart to change. I want to be a common name in sports like some of my favorite sports reporters here at home, in the NFL or the NBA.
What’s selfish about not wanting kids when my heart is set on a career?
Yes, a lot of my favorite reporters have families and they’re doing amazing jobs. I’m not saying you can’t do it. But I don’t think I can be a successful parent if I’m this passionate about a career.
I mentioned sports? Let’s talk about that. Sports journalism is a unique career because sports never stop. I want to be able to follow jobs all over the place. I want to travel to the top stadiums, top sporting events and meet people in this industry. Doing this with children would mean I’d have to either:
1. Leave them home with a nanny (assuming I’ll marry someone who also has a career), or
2. Drag them around with me
Parents should provide stability. I moved around a lot as a kid and no, I didn’t die moving around, but it did suck. It sucks to be the new kid all the time and make new friends. When I moved to small-town Iowa at 12, I admired that all my new friends had known each other since they were in kindergarten. I don’t know that’ll I’ll live in a small town, but I’d want my kids to grow up in a permanent home, a childhood home they can look back on and come back to.
I won’t have a permanent home of my own anytime soon. I want to see a lot of the world and you can’t do that with a baby. My 2-year-old brother struggled with the family reunion, having to be in the car and be in a foreign place to him for so long. I wouldn’t want my kids to go through that all the time just because Mom wants to see the world.
“The baby will make it so those things don’t even really matter to put on hold because the life of your baby is so great.”
Plenty of parents work so much they miss out on things, or run off on their kids and miss out on their kids’ entire lives. I think I’m better than that, but I don’t want to risk feeling like I had kids too soon.
To have a baby, I guess I’ll need a man around. I mentioned earlier that I’m single. Well not wanting to necessarily have a child doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a husband. My wedding board on Pinterest will show you that I am more than excited to be a bride someday.
I have started to imagine a future with someone who is in the sports industry. If I were to marry someone who’s in this field, I’d want my husband and I to have the opportunity to pursue opportunities together. I want us to travel and take risks to reach our dreams. The idea of giving up my comfort in a place or job to follow my husband somewhere he’ll reach his goals sounds WAY more appealing to me than the idea of having to stabilize ourselves to give a baby a good home.
Plus, I want to enjoy our marriage alone and I want to be selfish with my husband. Is that really that bad? No.
“Well, you guys can just plan to have kids way later down the road?” Yeah, that’s true. We could. But I am 22 and I don’t have a clue when I will meet my husband and get married. For all I know I could get married at 30, then what? Better rush to have a baby, because you’re running out of time.
So really, am I not more selfless to avoid bringing a child into the world than doing so just because somehow society expects it?
If I fall so in love that it makes me want to carry someone’s child… great. I’ll take this new path with an open heart, but right now I enjoy the idea of having a career, finding a husband and being able to enjoy my friends’ babies for a couple hours and then return them.
In the meantime, stop telling me what I want.