Monday, August 05, 2013

No single path in life

Occasionally, I run into someone who says that people without children are missing out on life. It happened to me again recently, just as Time magazine released a cover story on "The Childfree Life" (the latest entry in its ongoing series on weird people such as singles, the childless and everyone born after 1980).

As I get older and remain childless, I'm hearing an increasing chorus by well-intentioned people (all of whom are parents) that I should get on that. 

I respect parents, because it's true that they have the most demanding job in the world. I've spent lots of time caring for children and it doesn't take long for the duty to whip my butt. I understand the intense, never-ending responsibility that is parenting — and it's precisely why I have never sired offspring. The bond between child and parent may be something only a parent can understand, but anyone can realize the gravity of the responsibility. Conversely, all parents know what it's like to not be one, and most at least occasionally pine for those days.

Life is not necessarily easier, harder or more- or less-fulfilling along some static guideline; not all single/childless people are miserable and not all parents are benevolent and ecstatic. So let's all agree that everyone is unique, and address their wants and needs from there. 

It takes a village.

2 comments:

Charlotte H. said...

Thank you. It's a personal choice, people. Give it a reast.

KBliss said...

As a parent, I can agree. Being a parent isn't for everybody. I love being one most days, and I wouldn't change it for the world. However, just like you say it is a HUGE responsibility. I fully support the idea that a person should be totally on board with the idea before deciding to join the parenting club.