- Type: SeFi
- Development: lll-
- Attitude: Unseelie
I knew when I was little that I didn’t want to have kids.
I started doing music and writing books very early, and hoped to have a career in music and writing. If I couldn’t make money that way, I assumed I’d get some other job but spend my free time pursuing my passions. For me this was not a pipe dream, however. I had a full blown career in music by age 15 and had saved up 10K so I could move out, by the time I got sick which began on my sixteenth birthday. A career in the arts was not a ‘glamorous ideal’ but rather something I earned through hard work and discipline, and which required sacrifice, annoyance, rejection, heavy scheduling, preparation etc. All in all, I gave up my childhood for the sake of this career.
At the same time, I always knew I craved a partner. I needed a loving relationship. I was boy crazy and willing to scour the entire world for my soulmate. I hoped my songs would play on the radio and he would fall in love with me before we even met, so I could swoop into his town, recognize his face in the audience and scoop him up 😀
Any time I liked a guy, I wrote songs about him. In some cases, I sang these love songs into their eyes in the audience, or polished songs I was writing and fantasized about them playing on the radio. I always harbored this fantasy that “He” would be in a store somewhere and he would hear my voice on the speakers, singing about him and his heart would melt.
There was never a moment in my life when I doubted the importance of having a relationship, but I knew that having children would not be fair. If I was touring the world doing music, it wouldn’t be fair to the kids. If I was writing books all night long, it wouldn’t be fair to the kids. I didn’t want to divide my energy. I wanted to give my all to my work and my husband, but not to be responsible for children.
This seemed reasonable to me. But I also understood (quite early on) that men expected to have children and also a career; and they expected the woman to take care of the children. For me, this would be problematic. I just figured I’d be very open about this with any man I met, and find a man who doesn’t want kids. One of my male best friends, I met when we were 15. We were not romantically involved at all, but he was absolutely certain he didn’t want kids. (To this day, he’s married for a decade but has no kids.) So I knew these men did exist.
I got sick at 16; which meant that taking care of my illness is a full time job, and at that point, I definitely could not consider having kids. Even if I gave up my passions completely, having kids wouldn’t be fair, because I had very expensive medical needs; could get sick at any time and then be incapable of taking care of them; could not stay up all night when kids needed me; and might also pass my illness on to a baby in utero. No freaking way!
So now I was juggling an illness that costs 50K a year for medicine just to stay alive; but which prevents me from working full time; and also my dire need to express myself artistically. What a mess..
I avoided relationships for many years as I navigated the world and tried to sort this out. More and more men, in our 20s, were intent on having kids. Any time I established mutual interest with a man, I talked to him immediately about the fact that I don’t want kids. For the most part, the guys I dated either didn’t want kids or didn’t care; but there was one…
He was a musician and we were not dating yet, but we both secretly liked each other. The conversation went like this:
Him: I definitely want kids.
Me: I don’t.
Him: Really?!?!!!!!!! Why?
Me: I’m completely dedicated to my music.
Him: You can have kids and still do music! I’m completely dedicated to my music, but I want kids.
Me: So, when you’re on tour, who will take care of the kids?
Him: My wife.
Me: Cool. So, when I’m on tour, who will take care of the kids?
Him: [blank stare]
Me: See my point?
Him: Hm…. I never thought of it that way….
You’re right that this is a major issue for women that want kids. And men just expect that you can have kids and still pursue your passion, because they can do that. They can be fathers, but they don’t always consider the unspoken expectations that are attached to being a mother. And yet, nowadays, many men still want to be with a woman who is successful in some field.. and who ALSO wants to be a mother. !!!!!
I really appreciate men who are honest enough to say “I want to work a lot, so my wife doesn’t have to work. Being a mother is a full time job and I want her to be a good mother for our kids.” I also appreciate men who are honest enough to say “I want to do what I love, so I don’t want to have to obsess over making a lot of money. My wife will have to work too, so I don’t mind if we have no kids. It would be too much for either of us to have to do both of those things.”
But many of them just don’t make enough money. They pursue what they WANT to do rather than a job that would earn them money, and then they expect their wife to earn money and also take on the bulk of responsibility of being a mother.
This is where the problem lies: the current expectation that society puts on women to have a career AND have kids. Some women adopt this expectation and some men also expect it out of women.
In my opinion, if a man wants to have kids and expects his wife to take care of them, he needs to think about making real money. Too many men think they can just pursue their own dreams and make very little money, and then leave it to the women to sort out the rest. On the same token, too many women also feel entitled to ‘pursue their dreams,’ rather than focusing on being a good mother for children that they decide to have.
For me, I just decided – I’m not having kids. In most cases, if a guy wanted kids I just didn’t get involved with him. I know who I am and what my limits are.