I know a handful of people who have no interest in having kids. I know a few people who have no desire to marry either. I never understood it before. Marriage and kids just seem like a given. These are the goals, the milestones, everyone hits in life. It’s only natural and not only that but expected. It always seemed a foreign concept to me that anyone would think differently… that is until I started thinking differently.
The first time I ever questioned having kids was after I spent a week helping my brother & sister-in-law take care of their two infants. Both kids were actually easy kids to care for and I love them to death. When I stepped back to just observe the life of a parent and when I got a closer glimpse of it myself, I realized how much your life revolves around your kids and rightly so. All your energy, your worries, your dreams, your money 🙂 gets invested in your kids. If you’re going to have kids, that’s the way it should be.
My mom’s reaction to the announcement I was going to quit Microsoft was, "Why don’t you move back home then?" I wasn’t surprised by that nor the next 5-10 minutes of her listing all the wonderful things about living near family and the ultimate guilt trip — "I’m getting old and you should move home and have kids soon before I get too old to help you take care of them." My only response, in my typical jokey manner was, "Well, maybe I just won’t have kids." That was the first time I’d ever said that out loud or even to myself. What shocked me was while I said it meaning to be completely smart-aleck and joking, I actually half-believed it.
When I evaluate my life, the priorities I have, how I spend my energy, worries, dreams and money, I realized it centers around helping kids in VN through VNSF. That made me wonder, "If I have kids, would I be able to give as much of myself to these kids in VN?" There’s an obvious answer there. An even scarier thought then crossed my mind… I believe I can add more value to the world and help more kids through my work with VNSF. That’s scary because it means something I thought was so fundamental to my future seems less and less a certainty.
I can prevent a young girl from being sold into prostitution. I can stop parents from selling their daughters into marriage to middle-age men overseas. I can give children the opportunity to go to school, succeed and make a difference in the lives of their families, their communities and their country. I can touch the lives of far more kids in VN than I could if I focused all my energy on raising kids of my own. The more I think about it, the more I believe this world needs good parents but it also needs people dedicated to taking care of the numerous kids out there who are underserved, underprivileged.
I’m sure there’s ways to accomplish both and I think there are people out there who balance both very well. But with as with everything in my life, I like to devote myself completely to the things that are important to me and I’m, quite frankly, tired of living an ADD life. I want to focus. I want to concentrate. I want to do the things I do well and make an impact.
I don’t know everyone else’s reason for not wanting kids, but it’s not as foreign a concept to me anymore. I can say I’ve finally come to terms with being undecided on whether or not I want kids. Then again, lately my favorite snacks are vegan ice cream sandwiches and soy crisps (not together mind you) — certainly something I hope passes so I can go back to my Cheetos and Doritos (real junk food). Maybe this band on having my own kids will pass too. =)