* Author Topic: List of positives about living child- free  (Read 21616 times)

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Offline katehe

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List of positives about living child- free
« on: 14/09/12, 21:47 »
So trying to come up with a list to help me move on and see the positives. Struggling a bit , so please help me come up with more.
So far -
Body and boobs will not be stretched!
Less stessful life
No worrying about 'will I make a good mum?'
No stress on marriage
Freedom to follow other dreams
People in worse positions - loss of a child
More disposable income
Lots of lie ins
No worrying about childcare
Truth is, if I won the lottery, I would still be trying treatment so not accepted it yet but do not want to be sad forever... Kate

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    Offline Moretolife

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #1 on: 15/09/12, 13:32 »

    - Child free holidays in beautiful resorts in lovely locations where adults only and can dine in the restaurants with no screaming babies or kids running round, laze by the pool or on the beach with no dive bombing or bored kids, do whatever activities (or none!) that are minus fractious fighting kids. Admittedly it costs money and although money seems to just disappear without having kids we must surely have more without having them!?? Never having to flick through brochures looking at dreaded kids club to keep them entertained.
    - If fridge has got depleted and want to go for a meal last minute can do it without fuss and load of kids stuff.
    - Can see films go to the theatre have a day at a spa or meet up with friends without needing babysitters.
    - Can go shopping and wander round shops looking at what I want to look at and treating me without 'I'm bored can we go home yet'.
    - Don't have to endure temper tantrums where half hour laying on the floor screaming with other people looking at me knowing I have no control over the situation which will happen even with a well bought up child!
    - When I'm tired or poorly (which is most days unfortunately) just putting my feet up and relaxing without feeling I have to supervise, cook dinners, make pack lunches etc etc.
    - Talk to my (childfree) friends for as long as we want without constant interruption or having to rush to pick them up from sitter/school whatever.
    - Have time to sit and read a magazine or book with a cuppa or glass of wine or take long bath in peace without feeling guilty that I'm neglecting anyone.
    - Can go for a massage or facial as time for me and as my health is important without thinking it be better spent on kids toys, school uniforms and relying on my parents to babysit, I just make the appointment, pick up my keys and walk out the door! Knowing I'm not being selfish as there is only me, my husband and our two cats to think about.
    - Can spend time thinking about what I want to do, how I am instead of others needs always coming first, I guess not feeling constantly responsible for someone elses safety, welfare, education so on.
    - Can take a walk in the countryside with my husband and enjoy a pub lunch and be relaxed as not entertaining the kids.
    - Lie ins and quiet mornings which are essential for me.
    - Having a clean tidy house that looks good and isn't full of toys, scribbles, apple juice over the sofa etc! (Although my pets go some way in keeping it looking lived in!!)
    - My career plans are seriously affected by my health and have been for some time (have M.E) but as I improve (which I live in hope for) and return to working my choice of career and hours will be about whats right for me and not directed around expensive childcare.
    - The IVF caused my serious relapse of M.E but I won't have to put my body through anymore trauma like pregnancy and labour (thats a bit of an ironic one in my case)
    - Can enjoy the peace and quiet when I want it and watch what I want on the telly with my two puds (cats) curled up with me.
    - Can use my time and energy in meeting new people, making new friends and going places that are fun or of interest as I'm not consumed by running kids around to hobbies, clubs, friends house and dropping everything at school pick up times and don't have to socialise with other parents all the time with all the kids running around screeching.
    - Been able to take on big projects like major house renovation as only us to think about.
    - Husband and I can enjoy adult only spa weekends away (once we have saved as been doing the above!!)
    - I have more time available for other people, to listen to a friend who needs a listening ear, to visit and actually sit and chat with my parents, to take my elderly nan to lunch or the garden centre as I'm not distracted by my kids. In time (again as my health improves) I can volunteer to do something meaningful and have time and energy available as its not all taken up by kids, home and work.
    - I can protect my poor health better as not exposed to every virus and germ that is the germ factory of nurseries and schools!!
    - I have observed that as a general rule people without kids definetely look younger.. various theories about that but maybe as have more time to look after ourselves and while we're equally exposed to life's stresses its not the same daily strain of looking after children 24/7.
    - Spontaneity as can just decide to go off and do something (assuming of course there aren't other limiting factors) but there is a definite freedom.
    - If you've had a late night or heaven forbid too much to drink you're not woken at crack of dawn by kids bouncing on your head ;-)
    - Whilst mortgages/rent, general bills for living mean those of us without kids often don't feel like we have an abundance of cash (and have often spent a fortune on IVF ironically!) we must have more disposable income as not having the cost of bringing up another person(s) that will cost a fortune for years so have greater financial freedom even if doesn't always feel like that.
    - You can have unconditional love from animals without needing 24/7 care and appreciate them much more (obviously only works for animal lovers!)
    - My sleep is terrible because of the M.E but for most people without kids, good quality sleep is a huge bonus as you rarely sleep well again with children, always half listening out for them. I hope to have that back again in time where can go into a deep undisturbed relaxed sleep. (Maybe part of the looking younger!?)
    - Don't have to tolerate people you can't stand as they are people you see at school gates everyday or are the parents of your kids friends so feel have to go along to the kids' party! There are often instances have to put up with people you don't like such as at work but on the whole you're more free to spend time with people actually want to rather than because you're immersed in this child-centered world.

    Thats the main things I can come up with at the moment :) I have experienced that when you're in the raw, 'I can't believe this is happening' state that these many amazing things feel hollow as you end up comparing them to all the things you wanted to experience through having children. But as time goes on and you work on your emotions and building a new childfree life you stop making so many comparisons and start to appreciate these things you have and they take on a new significance. Maybe thats not the case for everyone, we're all different after all, but hopefully most of us while having wanted children desperately and gone through hell to try and have them, will reach a stage in time where we appreciate this other side to life and stop seeing it as a second best option that you have to learn to live with. Wanting a child so much does tend to make you blind to these amazing positives or see them as empty and without meaning.

    I think its only natural and understandable to have the contradictory emotions of appreciating and enjoying all these things and being glad to have them whilst having moments of loss and sadness. I believe strongly the trick is to teach yourself not to make these comparisons, especially when in a sad moment, between these positives and the ones of having kids. It isn't fair to try measuring up your personal freedom to do these things with a hug from your child or watching them unwrap xmas presents for example, which is what we have all done many many times. You can do it the other way of course and picture the time you've had a fantastically fun day out with loads of laughter where you felt young, carefree and light and look over at a harressed parent with kids acting like brats and think thank god. The trouble with this thinking is it can flick the other way too easily where you're sitting alone in a cafe and you see a group of mums happily chatting with their kids looking like sweet little angels on their laps and feel a strong pang of regret.

    I have spent the last three years teaching myself not to compare in this way (and am still practising!!!) to avoid getting caught in that the grass is greener trap. And as a result while I still have my sad moments, which I've learnt to expect as horrible as it can feel, I can say now that I do really believe in and appreciate the long list I've written here. It was actually 3 years on Tuesday since our little ceremony my husband and I had to mark our last IVF cycle and end of trying for a baby (which was incidentally the first anniversary of our early miscarriage) so I've been giving this a lot of thought this week, hence my war and peace post here today!!! 

    I don't claim by any beens to have it sussed or have all the answers, that would be laughable, but I do wholeheatedly believe there is a very good life to be had without children with many things to enjoy as long as we learn to appreciate them and not constantly berate them by comparing them to the life we thought we would have. I can still well up in a raw moment when I try and understand why that life was denied to me but for the most part I am enjoying having my life back (even with the M.E) and am seeing for myself that the more I invest in these positives the more I get back. If I had had kids I would have experienced anger, disappointment, sadness, loss, frustration, boredom, elation, happiness, contentment and many other emotions and by not having kids I will experience them all too as its part of being alive. It helps me to remind myself of that, life wouldn't be all plain sailing and stress free if I had them in the same way it isn't just because I don't have them. It is just life and I am trying to learn how to stop questioning it so much.

    Hope thats a little bit helpful Kate, even if a much longer response than you anticipated ;-) Its good for me to have it written so that in a low mood or when going through a bad time I can re-read it and remind myself it was perfectly possible to become happy with the cards I've been dealt so I will again when whatever it is passes!

    Moretolife x

    Offline Rowan22

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #2 on: 15/09/12, 16:50 »
    Moretolife, what a brilliant post!  :)
    We haven't quite given up yet (we're exploring the surrogacy option) but after an afternoon spent having to listen to my neighbour's little boy playing with his cousin, as he screamed, shouted, screeched, yelled and occasionally cried, while trying to work, I'm beginning to think you might have some valid points on that list!
    Adults only holidays are a bit rare, though, I find, especially if you want to go camping. The last time we went the campsite was full of toddlers and it was purgatory.
    Hope the ME improves for you soon.

    Rxxx

    Offline katehe

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #3 on: 15/09/12, 20:07 »
    Thank you more to life - you are inspirational. Quick question - hoe did you make child free friends ? Unfortunately , all my friends are pregnant / ttc / workaholics ???i'm worried about growing more and more isolated (and I am really sociable )   as I am consciously choosing not to be around thm to see what I am missing ?
    Good luck with your health x

    Offline Libran

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #4 on: 16/09/12, 12:13 »
    More To Life, what a completely brilliant post.  You are truly inspirational.  I agree with everything that you say.  I myself frequently fall into the trap of thinking "the grass is greener".  I often compare what I perceive in my head to be my meaningless existence with what I perceive to be the completely meaningful existence of those with kids.  I wish I could teach myself not to draw these comparisons in my head.  HOW DO YOU DO IT ?!!!
    Really hope the ME improves soon.
    Rowan, hope you are well - have been thinking of you often.
    Katehe - I totally agree with you about making child free friends.  It's all very well and good saying we have loads of time on our hands to meet up with our friends, but if our friends have children of their own, then, obviously it is difficult for THEM to spare time to meet up with us.  I live in a fairly isolated rural village, and I believe that, for me personally, this has been quite a sticking point in hindering my recovery.  I too consciously "avoid" certain friends who I know are totally immersed in their kids, and this isolation is upsetting, difficult, and, I suspect, not entirely healthy.  I'm not sure what the answer is apart from to develop an alternative network of child free friends.  Easier said than done, of course !
    Take care all XX

    Offline elli78

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #5 on: 16/09/12, 12:37 »
    more to life i'm tempted to print your post and read it when i'm feeling down. its so true and i'm going to adopt a new attitude of being positive about the wonderful things that i already have in my life,
    wish you well xx

    Offline Nordickat

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #6 on: 17/09/12, 08:31 »
    I think one of the best things about being childfree is spontaneity.

    Imagine asking your DH if he fancied going for a walk in the sun, then having to negotiate with the kids who would rather stay home, then having to mobilise said kids and get them changed into the right gear, get their snacks packed, explain that taking favourite teddy is not an option blah blah blah. By the time you are all actually ready to leave the house you are too tried to take the walk and its raining by now anyway  :)

    I love being able to live our lives in he moment. 'Shall we go out for dinner?' 'Fancy a movie tonight?' 'Lets take a quick walk before the sun goes down'. Maybe I'm just selfish now but I can't imagine having to plan our lives like a military operation any more.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm in the very early stages of 'moving on' and it still hurts like crazy on a daily basis. But I do know in my heart that one day life will be good.

    I'm also quite isolated these days due to having to walk away from many people (and also being an expat abroad) but you could google 'More to Life' if you haven't found them already. The forum is very quiet but I think they are quite active socially. I have also built up a little network of friends on here who are still childfree (although I hope that changes for them one day) and we are all in different countries. I just had a great spontaneous weekend here with a FF friend from Germany and having a toddler in tow would have ruined it completely. We are already planning our next weekend meet to drink wine and eat good food and not have to feel guilty about it  :) . New friends turn up in the strangest places. I have a new friend from a 4 week stay in hospital this year, obviously I don't recommend that route lol, but friends are out there. For some reason I think pottery classes would be a good way to make new friends. I'm sure its a luxury that mums can't afford but that interesting people try. I'm too sick to try it now but its my plan when I'm well enough. In fact, I reckon anything that is a bit arty might be a good thing to try - therapeutic and cleansing, and at the same time exclusively for those with time. The problem I have is that I have no artistic talent at all ;D

    There is more to life (great name  :) ), and there are worse things than being childfree.

    We'll all get there eventually,  Katxxx
     

    Offline NickyRich

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #7 on: 9/10/12, 17:13 »
    when I am walking around the supermarket and hear a toddler throwing an absolute tantrum-I do have a little sign of relief!
    more money/time to spend on my numerous hobbies!
    uninterupted sleep! 
    no reason to watch thoroughly annoying children's telly!
    as a teacher, I get to spend all day being with children and I can send them home when they are at their grumpiest!!   ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^

    Offline Moretolife

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #8 on: 17/10/12, 18:54 »
    Hi everyone, I am glad if my (little   ::) ) post was helpful and struck a cord. I think we all have well earned knowledge and experience that we have to share and this is a fantastic place to do that.

    In answer to some of the questions - not that for a minute I'm presenting myself as an authority in anyway  that would be comical - but I strongly believe we all have a few pearls of wisdom to share that might be helpful to someone..

    Rowan - hi, I've seen quite a few of your posts and know that you too struggle with major health problems which is of course a major hindrance in moving forward so I can empathise. With regards to the adult only holidays it does usually mean opting for a more costly resort or location but weíre not paying for kids so more to spend on ourselves!  I've not been camping since I was a child but just googling adult only campsites bought up a few interesting options for example Hole station adult only campsite in Devon which looks lovely place set in woodland with no kids allowed  :)

    Kate and Libran - completely understand where you're coming from about feeling isolated and how to make new friends without children.  When we ended having treatment and decided to make a life just the two of us I knew that the most important thing to help me (other than doing everything I could to improve my health) was to build a new social life and support network. I was somebody who couldn't be around pg women, babies and families in general so I knew I had to put in a serious amount of time and effort to find what I needed. Its got easier to see my nephews now and I feel thats because I gave myself time to heal rather than pushing myself to do child oriented stuff no matter how much it hurt. I still only enter into situations if I feel fairly comfortable doing it. I know this doesnít work for everyone as they wouldnít want to damage the relationships they have, we all have to find what works best for us.

    I think the problem is when you donít have a social circle that allows you to enjoy the many positives of living childfree and when you have too much time around people presenting the happy family ideal  that kicks in those grass is always greener comparisons (of course weíre only seeing the projected outside picture not the messy inside warts and all and that too is important to remember!) Its why I knew having new friends who didnít have children for whatever reason was so important. People who donít talk endlessly about the joys and problems of having children, people who have the time and commitment to want to meet up, phone, go enjoy experiences with you and have the time, energy and interest to invest as they are not consumed by their family. I no longer blame people with young children for this, I now accept it as part and parcel and I can see why they find it easier to spend time with other parents, in the same way I find it easier and more enjoyable to spend time with others without kids. Then if I do spend an occasional few hours with families or kids it is only a tiny part of my life rather than me feeling only a tiny part of their life - if you get what I'm saying!

    That is all well and good though as long as you can find a new social group or you end up feeling lonely and disconnected which makes you think about how different it would have all been if you could have had children!!  Firstly I joined More to Life (which is where I nicked the name as its such an inspirational group) as Kat was saying. Unfortunately for some reason the group has gone very very quiet both on the forum and with the meetups in my area but it takes members to breath new life into it. I went along to the meetups and made sure I followed up with emails to those I felt I got on with or was interested in. Here its like dating again, you weigh up who you think you like and would want to get to know and risk the rejection of getting in touch  ;) There is going to be a meetup in London in next couple months Ė dinner in Clapham Ė for anyone interested in the area or who can travel.

    The other thing I did was join meetup.com and there are specific childfree groups - some catering for those more childfree by choice such as Childfree UK but still gets you people with a similiar lifestyle in that sense and the fab group I'm very much a part of called Women Without Children Rock, which is a nice mix of those childless by circumstance and those who are happy to be childfree. I have met some lovely women through this and the get togethers are fab. These are London based though so is a hitch for anyone who can't travel into town of course  :-\  The massive rise in popularity of meetup throughout the country though with such diverse groups show how many want to make new friends and go out and do stuff- its certainly not just us without kids - and is a good way of meeting people, many of whom will be without children or partners or maybe have older kids and don't build their entire lives around them.  I guess like anything its trial and error, I did wonder for a while if I was going to end up feeling like norma-no-mates but with perseverence, imagination and developing a slightly tougher skin it is possible.  I imagine its a tougher thing to do practically if you live somewhere remote, I will try and brainstorm some ideas, if my poor M.E addled brain can manage it!

    Libran Ė hi, it is a minefield of how not to make those comparisons and get caught in that negative thinking isnít it :-/  I am sure all of us have managed it more times than weíve noticed or given ourselves credit for so I am sure it is something we can support each other in learning to do more! The counselling and reading Iíve done has set me on the mindfulness path which takes practice, practice and more practise and certainly isnít easy as it takes weeks to get use to and minutes to forget to do! But it does really work. Without a doubt its when I let my thinking snowball about feelings about the past and thoughts of the future that I start making really depressing and unhelpful comparisons. So simply being able to notice when Iím starting to do that and literally say to myself Ďthere you go againí and bring my thinking away from it helps. My brain can be very stubborn though and if several things have happened I find that much harder so thatís where I try and use distraction strategies until that churning feeling in my stomach lifts and the intensity has ebbed. Iíve noticed that when Iím feeling my lightest and most content, even if things arenít great, its when Iím most engaged with whats going on right now, which is of course mindfulness in action.

    This really helps with having such a chronic debilitating illness as well - its certainly not just infertility that gets us - when I have my moments of look at what everyone else is doing and look at what I can't do and may never be well enough to do and - you get the idea - it helps to absorb myself with something small until the thought has passed or got smaller rather than letting it run away with itself, as it can easily become - its all because of the IVF anyway that I'm so ill, and why did we have to go through all that and why do others get all they want, look at so and so they have it all and so on. This is such destructive thinking and is taking work to be aware of it, challenge it and let go off it rather than seeing it as something I'm helpless to go through. I had CBT at my M.E clinic earlier this year and I'm only at the beginning in breaking these thoughts down and replacing them with new more helpful thoughts and beliefs. And when I really do feel it strongly its about being kind to myself and telling myself its only natural to feel that way at times and it will pass like it always has eventually and doing things that are in the words of the counsellor 'self soothing'. We tend to forget this when we most need it so worth having reminders around.

    If I havenít killed off this thread with my war and peace postings and people are still reading :P I am sure there are a lot of helpful stuff we can share, that is much easier to hear from others in the same situation. I find the Ďpositive thinking whatever the situation brigadeí very hard going, while I totally agree it helps to look at the positives you have in your life, I think strained positivity that you feel obliged to do whatever youíre feeling is actually harmful as it doesnít allow you to acknowledge and express how you really are feeling and without that how are you ever able to process what's going on?!

    Iíve seen the really supportive thread thats going on here and think its fab, I will join in but I find it hard to keep up with (brain doesnít always want to play ball!) and agree with many of the things said. One of best things we can ever do for ourselves Ė which I am trying to practice every day Ė is being our own best friend. The amount of things that people say about themselves and then tell someone else feeling the same thing how wrong they are to think that proves how easy it is to do. We can see how crazy it is when someone else is cruel to themselves but not when we do it! Like everything this takes reinforcement. One thing I was always good at was protecting myself around pg's, and families. The amount of times I said to friends in same situation be kind to yourself, don't hurt yourself by expecting too much of yourself, just do what feels right for you and it will work itself out and I actually followed by own advice. Now if I can do it with that I must be able to do it about other things!!!  ::)

    I'm sure others have some great advice or wisdom that they can share. I feel I've moved on a lot now, I haven't got total acceptance of the past, I still struggle to deal with what we've had to go through and the consequences its bought and I still have fears about the future but I can honestly say (and believe myself!) that there is a great life to be had without children and like I said in my original post many positives. The things that made the biggest difference to how I feel, other than time, was making new friends and finding support in others without kids and having them to go enjoy things with, counselling so I had a safe place to express all what I felt/feel, homeopathy to help towards finding that emotional balance (but I am a homeopath so strongly believe that  :) ) accepting it would take time to heal and that there will always be triggers or bad moments that set me off again but paying attention to the times I am simply content as I am and happy even though life isn't the hand I wanted dealt, so along with that is the mindfulness and working on not pooping on my own parade by dismissing the good stuff that is there - thats part of whats taken time and practice to develop a new mindset. And seeing it as natural as I'm only human when I have bad days and want to cry and howl that it isn't fair.

    I'd love to hear other's thoughts and experiences of what's getting them through and whats bringing back the lightheartedness and excitement for life even if its only occasionally. The fact its possible despite such trauma is what's encouraging. You'll be pleased to know I've exhausted most of my thoughts so next post will be considerably shorter I promise  ;D

    Offline katehe

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    Re: List of positives about living child- free
    « Reply #9 on: 17/10/12, 19:30 »
    Lovely post 'more to life' and so much resonated with me - the need to be kind on myself when considering meeting up with friends with kids and the need to find a new social network. Thanks for your post - given me some stuff to think about
    Kate :)