Thursday, May 11, 2017

Natural Progression

I've discussed this topic a few times on here before, but with Mother's Day on Sunday it seems to come up in conversation more frequently so I thought I'd take a quick moment to address it again.

The hubby and I have decided (prior to getting married) that kids are not in the picture for us. Don't get me wrong, we enjoy children (as long as we can give them back ;)), love hanging out with the kids in our lives, are "good" with them, etc, so please don't read this as me saying 'we hate children', we just know they aren't the plan for us.

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Even though there are more folks choosing the childless path, that doesn't mean the idea of a "natural progression" doesn't still exist in society. Having children seems to be the obvious and inevitable move for serious relationships.

It seems as though when Ryan and I had been dating for more than two years, we were hounded constantly to know when we would be getting married (FYI that didn't happen till we had been together for almost five years). Once the time came when we got married, the next "logical" questions became 'When are you planning to have kids?'.

Even our church reminds us of this with their "station of life" small groups {Junior High > High School > College > Young Marrieds > Young Families > Parents of Kids > Parents of Teens > Empty Nesters... So eight years into our marriage and both of us in our thirties and we're still with the "young marrieds" since there's no other box we fit neatly into}.

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PS I am NOT saying anything negative about North Coast's structure, just that not everyone fits perfectly into these categories

I can't tell you how many times we've told people about our decision to not have children of our own and in response we've received a gasp or a comment something along the lines of 'Oh, don't worry, you'll change your mind.'

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Let me be clear - this was not a decision taken lightly (just as I hope the decision to have kids is not made willy-nilly).

I am not here to ask for your approval or even understanding, just acknowledgement that this is OUR CHOICE! Kids are not for everyone. Couples are childless for many different reasons (whether it is their choice or not). Just because you don't fit into the cookie-cutter mold of the traditional "American family" does not mean you are 'wrong' or 'missing out' or 'selfish'. There may be an ideal out there that the natural progression in life is to find a spouse, settle down, have a family and die... but that doesn't mean it's the only way. Write your own story and live your own adventure!

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Is there an area in your life where you aren't following the natural progression?

12 comments:

littlebeastling.com said...

I am of the camp of "Your life, your rules." You want to have one child? Have one child. You want to have sixteen furry children? Have sixteen furry children. You want to globe trot with your life partner, just the two of you? Globe trot on! Maybe it's just where I live, maybe it's just the luck of who I am surrounded by, but I know families of all kinds (with kids, step kids, yours-mine-ours, no kids, all the furry kids, adopted kids, adopted and birth kids, foster kids, never-going-anywhere-near-kids) and each one is wonderful. I feel very lucky that no one has ever pressured me into marriage or motherhood, or really, anything else. Thank you Mom and Dad for raising me to believe that my choices are my own. Lots of folks keep asking me, now that my daughter is nearly two, if we'll be having another one. I get a lot of "You'll want one" and a lot of "The one you've got is pretty great!" In my personal opinion, not knowing myself what my answer is is actually harder than hearing the unwanted opinions received. (Right now I'm in the one-and-done camp, but who knows what tomorrow holds.)

Ashley said...

I am right there with you sister! The Mr and I don't want kids either. If I had a nickel for every time someone said "you'll change your mind" I'd be a millionaire. If I had one for every time someone said "you don't know what you're missing" I'd be a billionaire! You're right. I don't know what I'm missing. But I don't want to have kids just to find out. Kids are great, but not for us. It's sad that we still have to explain ourselves.

SD Mom said...

You and Ryan do you and Ryan perfectly! No need to change it!

Rachel Gersten said...

Thanks so much for this. I'm in the same boat you are, and I appreciate hearing someone else speak to the struggle of owning your own decision.

Marcia Vasquez said...

Absolutely brilliant. Thank you for having the real conversation that so many of us out there can struggle to attempt. The man and I are in the exact same boat, both in our mid-thirties and we intentionally decided children weren't on our path. Our life adventures and dreams just don't include little ones running around. Ironically the most supportive people in our situation are our parents. They stick up for us to nudging family members and are proud to be have future grand-dogs/cats/goats/pigs/horses (we want a farm soon)! They are proud of us deciding what is best for us and our life together.

You are truly an inspiration! You, Ryan and Walt are the greatest example of happy and adventurous! Never change who you are and the incredible nature of your souls!

Reca @ Gator Girl Runs said...

I'm with littlebeastling.com on your life, your rules. So many people out there seem to push what they feel is the "correct" way to live life on others. It seems like those who don't get married or those who choose to not have kids get the biggest backlash and I don't get it. Life is not about a set plan and everyone is different. I just want to see others happy in life with whatever their situation is.

And no matter what you choose, it's always a when are you going to do whatever they feel is next question. And some people get so fired up, too, but they have to realize that my life isn't their life to live. My husband and I decided one child was enough for us, but I have had so many people over the years insisting that we will regret it. She's six and a half now and there is no regret.

I look forward to reading your continued adventures, whatever they may be. From what I know about you, you are a sweet and happy person. And sweet and happy are two great ways to describe the life you live.

Danielle Fogerty said...

I already loved you and your blog but this post just made it even more awesome. I am 35 and I don't want kids and trying to get people to stop arguing with me about it has been a pain (to say the least) thanks for much for posting this and keep having a blast with the hubs and Walt

Anonymous said...

I find it a little presumptuous that people ask that sort of question when frankly it is none of their business. My best friend chose to not have children over 30 years ago and you can only imagine the response she got at that time. I applaud you for making a choice that is right for you and your husband. Too many people have children without much thought.

Lauren said...

I agree. I'm not sure I want kids. I won't rule things out but agree, my life my business. Apparently my friends with a kid then get asked if/when they're having more so it never ends!

Chelsea B. said...

I am behind on reading the blog. But I loved your last thought regarding children. It really hit home with me and you said it wonderfully! :)

Anne said...

Thank you for this. Our situation was a bit different -we cannot have children, but chose to end the infertility workup after minimal intervention / investigation, as we realized that no kids was actually the right choice for us. That was ... huh. Nearly 9 years ago now, and I don't regret it at all. While HOW we got to this point wasn't necessarily the way I would have chosen, WHERE we are is exactly right for us. You. Do. You. And no, no one should ever, ever ask about life changes. Why do people think it's their business to do so??? Anyway. Love this. Thank you for this.

Sandra Bond said...

So glad you talked about this. J and I also decided to not have kids and we didn't come to that conclusion lightly either. It's also something we don't have to discuss with random people, so I'd appreciate if people would just stop to be nosy or push their cookie-cutter idea of a 'perfect' marriage/life on everyone else.

There are many different reasons why people don't have kids and the least of them are because they're 'selfish'....