As a young woman, there have been many situations where I felt my worth lessened or increased based on what others have said to me. Even though it is not their life, it can be easy to take comments about what I should be doing to heart.
Whether it is having children, continuing education or traveling around the world, society tends to have a checklist when it comes to the success ladder of life.
But what happens if those checklist items don’t align with someone else’s wants or needs? Individuals are frowned upon and bombarded with questions just because they want to be themselves.
For myself, I know right now I do not want children. I have babysat since I was in middle school, and as cute as kids are, taking care of them gets taxing after a while. I love kids, but the idea of going home to them every night is a scary thought.
Studies are actually showing that Americans, in general, have been focusing more on themselves and having fewer children. The Center for Disease Control put out a report in 2018 citing reasons for the decline in births in the U.S.
I know there are benefits to having children, one being that they are adorable. Picking out names, dressing them up and watching them grow and learn is amazing.
My two-year-old nephew gets excited to see me when he comes home — it’s rewarding having family that loves unconditionally.
Although I pride myself on being responsible, I struggle to get car seats into my car, forget to make food for myself and struggle with time management. I would likely make the lousiest parent on Earth.
I don’t have the “I want to be a mom” vibe that almost everyone around me seems to have. I chose to go to college and start my career before I even think about being in a long-term relationship or anything like that.
The problem isn’t that I don’t want kids or a family but the reactions I get when I tell others this: “Oh, you’ll change your mind,” “Oh, kids are the best things you’ll ever have. Nothing will be better,” “Once you get married, you’ll understand,” or “How can you not have baby fever?”
All of these statements have one goal in mind - to dismiss the individual. If I am saying I don’t want kids because of health or finances, I’m always wrong, dismissed or judged.
Nothing I say would change my relatives’ minds on the topic because they’ve been imagining their future grandkids or extended family members running around since I was born. I just want to tell them kids shouldn’t define my life or my worth going forward.
The same could be said for a career or school. If someone wants to go a different route, like trade or military, why should anyone put them down? We all have different walks of life and that should be more accepted.
If someone says something about how and where they want their life to go, we should be more supportive and considerate. Parents, please just support children in their ambitions.
It feels like people shove their ideas down others’ throats because they wish their lives had gone differently.
As for kids, my mind might change. That’s life. Things happen and we just kind of have to roll with the punches. Whatever choices we make, paths we go down and things we plan out, it’s all for a reason and good things will come from them.
Next time someone says they don’t want kids or don’t want to do the traditional things that are expected of them, support them. The values we place on living the American Dream can be loaded with pressure, expectations and sometimes shame if the goals aren’t met. It’s ridiculous sometimes.
It’s OK to not want to go down the same path as everyone else. It’s OK to take a gap year, go straight to work or stay home with kids.
People make choices for the best lives that will fit what they want. Life is too short to get caught up in the dramatics of it all.