Crossroads > Moving On

List of positives about living child- free

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katehe:
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

Moretolife:

- 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

Rowan22:
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

katehe:
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

Libran:
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

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