Whenever I tell people that I don’t want to have children and I want to spend my life single, I get a lot of weird reactions from my family and friends. My friends think that “it’s just a phase” and that I will probably grow out of it. My parents have the classic “who will take care of you when you are older” reaction. A lot of my classmates think that I’m being selfish (which is true. Thank you for the compliment.) or simply don’t get it. The most popular reaction, however, is the question “why?”, with the person who’s asking me having a confused reaction on his face.
Since my reproductive choices are apparently an incredibly popular question, here are the reasons why I don’t want to have children or a family:
Why I Want to Remain Single for the Rest of My Life?
Marriage is a partnership. You will have to share things and this sharing will most likely not be equal. Either he will have more expenses or me. Either I will do more chores or him. It’s almost impossible to split all chores and all income equally, since it’s almost impossible for both people to earn the same amount of money or to have the same amount of time to do the dishes.
The thing is, I don’t like to share income and I’m incredibly happy with living alone. I also would feel incredibly unhappy not having everything shared equally and get upset over it. Either I will not feel valued for taking on more chores/paying more or I would feel guilty for him having to take on more chores/pay more.
2.) Time Commitment
Having a serious relationship with somebody is a serious time commitment. I tried it with someone in High School and it didn’t work out, mainly for this reason.
Having a boyfriend will mean that you will have to go out on dates together often, which takes time that could be spent studying, doing an internship, networking, or getting another leadership experience on your resume. The people who are saying that you can accomplish all of this things with a boyfriend are partially right. Yes. You can have a perfect GPA and a boyfriend because GPA is out of a fixed number. But there is no fixed number on things like leadership experience, networking, part time jobs, or internships. The more you do (assuming with good quality), the better. This means that the cost of having a boyfriend is less (or with worser quality) one of the career-related things mentioned above–a cost that I’m not willing to pay. As I assume, a similar situation will continue to happen as I graduate from University, there will always be one more career-related thing that I can do and focus on.
To be completely honest, I would be willing to pay this cost (and I do pay it when I hang out with friends sometimes) if there were no compromises involved. But they are involved. You would have to make compromises on entertainment activities and do things that you might not 100% like in order to make him happy and he will have to do the same for you. For example, he might want to go watch a football game that you might not want to watch. Or you might want to go out on a date and eat sushi while he might prefer stake. Since I don’t like making compromises when it comes to how I spend my free time, remaining single seems like the best option because I can “pick and choose” what I want to do when it comes to friends. I know I would not be able to do the same in a more serious relationship.
4.) Loss of Mobility
When you don’t have a husband, you can move from place to place anytime you like (or your job requires you to do so). When my psychology teacher back from High School (I still keep in touch with him) asked me where I was planning on going after I graduated from college, I said: “I don’t know. Wherever I get the best offer”.
Being single allows for me to have this mentality because I have nobody that I need to be at the same place with. If I have to (or want to) move to China for two years, I can do so. If I had a husband, this would mean that either he would have to lose his job and move together with me or I would have to give up on that idea and stay with him (again, sacrifices and compromises. Two things that I’m not OK with).
Since I would be incredibly upset at having to give up a better offer because of having to be there for somebody, I would definitely not be willing to make this trade off.
This is not as important as the factors mentioned above for me, but there are risks of getting hurt involved in this decision. Your boyfriend or husband can cheat on you or you might end up in an abusive relationship. Not having a boyfriend or a husband eliminates those risks for me. If there is no relationship, there is no way that it might go wrong.
(Again, if it weren’t for the other factors, I would probably be OK with taking the risk so not as significant, but worth mentioning.)
6.) Not Interested in Having Children or Having Sex
The two things that having a husband would full fill are having children and sexual relationships with him. Since I’m not interested in having children or sexual relationships, having a husband or a boyfriend outweigh any potential benefits that I could get out of it. (Arguably, you can also get both of those things from other sources, such as hookers for sex, so having a husband sounds like an even worse idea now that I think about it). Since I’m not planning on having a family, having a husband just seems not worth it.
Some of my friends have mentioned benefits such as having emotional support and companionship. However, having emotional support and companionship can be easily full filled by having friends and hanging out with them. Having friends doesn’t have the same trade offs because you are not sharing income, making the same type of sacrifices, or having to compromise on what to do all the time. Yes. Your friend can pressure you into doing something. But it’s much less and more reasonable than if you have a boyfriend or a husband.
Why I Don’t Want to Have Children?
1.) I don’t like them
A lot of child free people would talk about how they like children.
I’m not going to do that because, the truth is, I don’t like children. I have a nephew and spending time with him is the worst thing ever. I find children annoying and I always did. Even when I was a child myself, I found other children annoying and I couldn’t wait to grow up so that people would stop using the annoying, “baby voice” (when an adult exaggerates words so that the child would understand better) with me.
The truth is, I can’t really explain why I find them annoying. I mean, I find really small children annoying because they scream all the time, can’t talk or walk or do anything productive, and I would need to change their diapers (which I would not want to do). But I find children ages 3-10 annoying as well and, to be honest, I don’t really understand why myself.
The point is, spending time with somebody that I hate just because it’s expected by society for 10 years is not something that I want to (or will) do.
My mom would often say that it would be different if they would be mine because of hormonal changes. However, I think that that’s a really big gamble that I would not want to take. Not to mention that I’m 100% happy with my current hormonal balance.
2.) I Would Not Enjoy the Work, Itself
I tried babysitting my nephew and I did not enjoy taking care of him. Changing diapers, cooking meals, and playing imaginary games with children are not activities that I enjoy doing. In fact, I hated doing it so much that I found myself a part time job so that I could remain in Austin for half of the summer and will get myself some really demanding internship for next summer so that I wouldn’t have to go home and babysit.
Taking care of children is a pretty dirty job. You need to change diapers, wash their stuff, etc… To be honest, I would rather stare at Excel for 16 hours a day than look after children.
3.) Time Commitment
Taking care of children would require a lot of time that I would rather spend focusing on my career. The majority of woman who have children end up taking maternity leave, quitting to spend time with them, or working part time or less hours. I wouldn’t want to take any of those options because it means that I would be losing time that I could be working (and doing something that I love) on my children (whom I’m pretty sure I will not be able to love as much as “making it” at work. At least not for the first 10 years). This loss of time would mean that I would have a less solid resume, get promoted less quickly, and earn less income. The wage gap is partially caused because of this issue and by avoiding it, I would partially (or completely) avoid the wage gap. Similarly to having a husband, having children is a time commitment that I don’t think would be worth it.
Also, I know that this is a romanticized version of reality but I feel like having a child just doesn’t go together with being a career woman today (Congrats to you, ladies, who made it work). Being a nun in a monastery called Goldman Sachs (or any F500 would do) and devoting your life to the God of Capitalism feels like something I would want to do.
4.) They Are A Bad Investment
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average cost of raising a child in the U.S. (I’m using U.S. as an example because most of my readers are from the U.S) is $233,610 until the age of 17 and that’s not including college fees. There are a lot of better ways to spend this much money, such as buying a car, a bigger house, or going on vacation.
My friends would often argue: “Yes. Kids are expensive and require a lot of time. But they are a good investment”.
I’m currently majoring in Finance and, as a Finance major whose future job will be based around analyzing companies and investments, I think that having children is a horrible investment:
- you are not making any ROI for at least 18 years (and that’s being optimistic), since your child can’t work until than or will have a negative cash flow (he might get a summer job but that will not cover all of the costs of his life). (Ok. there are some incredibly talented kids who do end up giving ROI earlier but they are so rare that expecting for that to happen is more like “gambling” rather than “investing”.)
- You have to continually invest in them for those 18 years. If you have a bad year, you can’t just decide not to invest money into your child, which you can do if you are investing into stocks or bonds. You also can’t “scale down” your position. You can’t spend less money than a certain amount on your child, which means that you can’t practice the same level of risk management as you would with real financial assets.
- Even if your child will pay all of the money that he or she will earn in his or her lifetime, the ROI would not be that great if you factor in the risks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median household income per year is $41520. This means that your child will make around $20,760/year. The poverty threshold in the U.S. (which I’m assuming is the lowest amount of money that your child will need to survive off of) is $12,082 per year. This means that the maximum ROI that your kid can pay back is $8,678 per year (3.71%). This sounds like a horrible ROI (which is completely imaginary because there is no way your kid would agree to participate in this). You can get a better deal by investing your money into government bonds. And you know, in that case you will actually have to do absolutely nothing, which means that you will not have the opportunity cost of the time spent taking care of the kid. It also means that it will take you 26 years from when your child starts to pay you to get all of your money back. 18+26= 44 years until when you will cover the costs of your investment. That is an incredibly long time frame to wait to start making a profit.
- There is no way for you to force your child to pay you the money back, which means that you might not even get that ROI. Unlike being a shareholder or giving debt, you can’t legally force your child to pay you back a certain percentage of his income. If your kid turns out to be an ungrateful bastard, he will not pay you anything (additional risk). Yes. Some countries have laws according to which your child has to pay you back a certain percentage after you retire. But you can’t decide on this percentage before your child is born like you can for a real company or interest rate that you want to get for a loan. That percentage that you will get back, in most cases, will be lower than the investment.
- Children are a risky investment. They are risky because you can’t analyze them and predict how successful they will be before they are born. With companies, you can evaluate the idea, look at cash flow, the potential business model, the projected growth of the industry, the CEO’s credentials etc… You can’t do any of this with a child. (I mean, with modern science, I guess you can look at his/her DNA and try to predict something from that. But aborting a kid for being a “risky investment” would be highly controversial and unethical, to say the least.) You also can’t diversify your investments. You have to spend 233K on one child. You can’t spend 20K on one child, 3k on another, etc… like you can do when investing into stocks, bonds, options, etc..
This are the main reasons why I don’t want to have children. I can probably expand this list and will probably do so in the future.
Feel free to disagree,
NOTE: This is a continuation of my previous post but, as I have already mentioned, one of my friends had requested that I write on this topic.