In 2007, childfree Eva Mendes, 40, sounded off on the issue, admitting that having kids just wasn't a priority for her. "I don't wanna have kids," she said. "I love the little suckers; they're so cute, but I love sleep so much and I worry about everything."
Mendes, like many other childfree women, received an onslaught of comments about her decision to not have kids. Internet users chided her for being "selfish." Others commented that she could never be a "real women" unless she had children of her own.
Most women who have chosen to remain childfree have heard at least some variation of these hurtful and judgmental remarks before -- from their parents, their family, their friends, or even perfect strangers. Additionally, most childfree women have been asked to give a "good" reason for not having children. Here are a few examples of answers they might give:
- "I don't want to have kids, because I like to sleep 8 hours a night."
- "I just feel that children will interfere with my career, and that's the most important thing to me."
- "I would hate to have to sacrifice my bi-weekly manicure & pedicure appointment."
- "I don't think my dogs Scratchy and Sniffy would get along very well with children."
- "My partner and I would rather travel the world than have children."
- "Kids are loud and annoying and messy, they give me a headache, and I don't want to be stuck with one for 18 years."
- "Kids are really expensive, and I really like spending money on fancy dinners and Christian Louboutins."
- "It would really get in the way of my plan to move to Africa and start a charity."
Here's a little secret, ladies: all of these are valid answers!
It's a personal decision, and should be treated as such. It's not selfish to decide not to have children because you want to raise your dogs, or move to Africa, or become the CEO of your own company. It is selfish to have a child that you're not 100% dedicated to raising.
Look, I'm not saying that women with kids can't have it all. Many mothers have (amazingly!) been able to balance their work lives, their personal lives, and their family lives -- and each and every day, they receive a tremendous amount of fulfillment and enjoyment from their children. But all women are different, and everyone wants different things. Raising a child is a beautiful and special experience, but many other women will find that same fulfillment somewhere else in their lives -- through their careers, their passions, their significant others, their pets, etc. Not having children doesn't make their life any less meaningful.
So, please, stop asking childfree women when they're going to have kids, and instead embrace and celebrate the fact that each woman has the amazing opportunity to choose her own calling in life.
Let's take the judgment out of being childfree.