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25 March 2013 @ 03:43 pm
I don't want kids  

You know what I love?

I love not having kids.

I love the freedom of making decisions for myself without having to factor in small ones that I am responsible for. I love not worrying about money or time the way I would if I had kids. I love not having to decide about schooling or homeschooling, transporting a small person, entertaining a small person, feeding or clothing a small person. Or, god forbid, multiple small people. I love never having to arrange childcare or skip doing something I want to do because I can't find it. I love not having to change barfy sheets in the middle of the night. I love almost everything about not having kids of my own.

You know what else I love?

I love living with kids. Who are not mine. It's the best of all possible worlds for me. I love getting to opt into sometimes helping with money or time or transportation or childcare, but not ever having to. I love spending time with kids in an unmarked, close, casual, intimate way. I love the easy familiarity of children and getting a glimpse into their much-less-filtered view of the world. I love their wacky senses of humor, their play, their glee. I love when they snuggle against me while we read books or play games. I love making their lives more awesome, and how they make my life more awesome. I love getting my literal and spiritual and emotional hands dirty with them through fun and serious and goofing and talking. I love playing a broad supporting role in parenting.

I also love hanging out with kids who I don't live with, but it turns out that living with them is even better, and I think it gives me a glimpse into the things that people mean when they say "it's different when they're yours".

And it's true that it is different, and I'm sure it would be even more different if I had a kid or kids of my own, but I'm increasingly sure that it wouldn't be different enough. What I have right now feels pretty much as perfect as can be, and I can imagine having it in a variety of configurations ... but I'm kind of blown away by how happy I am with the configuration I've got, and it's a heck of a lot more tenable (not to mention fully existing) than my occasional fantasy of having a 25% kid with 3-4 other parent-sets in on the parenting deal (I'd take 1-2weeknights a week and one weekend a month).

Seriously, it's super awesome for me.

And it also is bringing me to a clarity that I haven't had before, which is: I don't want kids.

Now, in another phrasing, I've been saying this for a while, but what I've actually said and felt is that I don't foresee myself wanting kids, which is my careful phrasing for my position of not wanting kids but knowing that I might change my mind. Living with kids is giving me -- in an extremely direct, positive, and happy way -- a really concrete and almost physical sense of confidence in my feelings on the matter.

There are a lot of awesome things about living with amber_phoenix and longueur and P and S, and this is one of them. Actually, this is a whole bunch of them, just categorized under one header for the purposes of this post.
 
 
I'm feeling: happyhappy
 
 
 
harimad on March 25th, 2013 07:55 pm (UTC)
It's awesome that you found a situation that works so fantastically well for you. Also good that you give recognition that your thoughts on the matter _might_ change even though you don't actually expect them to.

I think my ideal situation - given my life, the person I'm married to, etc., etc., etc. - would be to live with another family with kids, so we could trade back and forth sometimes. Our Critters are old enough that spouse and I can do that sometimes already, but I think that watching twice as many kids, half as often, would be really cool ... for the kids as well as the parents.
elusiveatelusiveat on March 26th, 2013 02:12 pm (UTC)
My partner and I are trying to decide whether to have kids, and if we go down that route, I'd love to find an arrangement similar to the one you describe.

In case it's relevant, we live in Somerville MA...
(no subject) - harimad on March 26th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
ruthless compassion: thinkyaroraborealis on March 25th, 2013 08:49 pm (UTC)
I tend to treat kids as little people who don't know as much about socializing as [most] adults, so mainly I interact with them as I would an adult ... who had low self-control and -regulation skills. (I do this regardless of whether it's the kids I live with or other kids I know socially.)

So, if something is annoying me, I'll tell them that and ask them to stop, or take it to another room, because I'm the one having an issue with the behavior, so I don't feel like it's fair to make the parents run interference. Similarly with your other examples, for the most part, I'll just have the interaction with them directly.

As you might imagine, it's not uncommon for all of the adults to find the same behavior annoying, for instance, and then we're all on the same line, but it also happens that things that annoy me don't annoy the other adults, and vice versa, and we all just engage on that level. We'll all back each other up from time to time (which is sometimes helpful and sometimes counterproductive, because, you know, that's how it goes.)

This is all helped enormously by the face that my housemates are content to have me engage at this level with their kids (as are almost all of my close friends). I'm more standoffish with strangers' kids, where I'm more likely to ignore and/or remove myself from annoying behavior, and check with the parent about dangerous stuff ("Hey, it makes me nervous that your kid is doing X; are you aware/okay with it?")

It hasn't come up that there have been any huge overarching issues of teaching or discipline at our house, yet. I think if there were some big, difficult pattern (I associate these with adolescence) that needed work, the important decisions would be made by the parents (though I'd be happy to share my thoughts if they wanted them, but I wouldn't expect that) and they'd let me know how I could support it. But at the same time, I do think a non-parent close adult ally can be a powerful force for less-combative interacting for kids in all sorts of ways, and I like it when I can play that role, too.
(no subject) - goat on March 25th, 2013 10:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sabriel_sabriel_ on March 25th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
<3 <3 <3
maebethmaebeth on March 25th, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I regret not having kids. Actually, often I regret it.

AND (BUT!!!) It has made a huge difference in my life that back when I decided to not have kids, I intentionally made that decision. I didn't just "forget" or "think it would work out" but spent time thinking, these are my choices, what will I chose?

And that helps me to love even more the benefits in my life from not having kids.

And those benefits include being there for my sister as her kids struggle with teen-age-ness. And being with my neighbor as she struggles with give-me-a-minute-without-my-kid-please-now-ness. And going on a honeymoon without figuring out what to do with the kids.

So COOL BEANS POTATO to being able to know what you want right now and say it out loud.


Edited at 2013-03-25 09:55 pm (UTC)
The Dragonpoints on March 25th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
You're so careful to point out that this is your choice, and why it is right for you... I'd have serious trouble trying to get inside the head of someone who did choose to take it personally.
existential hot showerveek on March 25th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC)
If you suddenly stopped being Awesome Sunshine Auntie Glitter, at this point I'd probably take that personally. But I think we're gonna dodge that one. :)

I delight (heh) in your dynamic with your young housemates every time I see you-all. It's perfectly lovely.
Madame Blue aka Pygmentsweetmmeblue on March 26th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
Thank you
I have always appreciated people who know they don't want to have kids and then don't have them. There are many adults that I have dealt with who have had kids because they thought it was what they were supposed to do, or it happened and now they had to deal, or they wanted them but weren't in a good place (etc), and they turn out to be damaging people.

Thank you for continuing to be and work on being the best person you can be to all those in your life.
Mizarchivist: Heartmizarchivist on March 26th, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you
Yep, all that x10.
There always needs to be Awesome Sunshine Auntie Glitters.
buxom_bey: Me n Roobuxom_bey on March 26th, 2013 12:43 am (UTC)
This post made me smile.
My reading of this post was interrupted by Roo no less than 4 times. I had to give her nommies, look at the birds and comment, make her a bottle, and move around so I could hold her hand while she was in the back seat and I was in the front (waiting for J at the train station). I totally appreciate your love of your freedoms, and I would vehemently refuse any opportunities to trade places. I've always wanted to be a parent, well since I was 14 anyway and I figure that's near enough to always. Sometimes knowing what you want and getting it, is really fucking cool!
tickles, the angry lemurclara_girl on March 26th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC)
WOW! I JUST got done saying, "I love teaching kids, I love having them in my life for an hour or a day at a shot, but I'm also SO HAPPY when I'm home and it's blissfully quiet."

Same-same but different.

I love teaching them new things, watching their little faces light up. I love teaching them new social and emotional coping skills when they come up too, or reinforcing old ones. I love having them in my life for spurts at a time. Their jokes are something hysterically funny and when they race back into the studio yelling COACH CLARA!!! after class, and I turn around to a big hug froma 9 year old... that's about the best thing ever.

(Unless it's, "GUESS WHAT?? I got that trick! I practiced and I DID IT!")

But when I'm home, it's quiet. I have love, I have community, I have friends... and I have uninterrupted quiet to read anything i want, go anywhere I want.. and that's what ~I~ want.

And when it isn't, I want a puppy before I want kids. Couldn't tell you exactly why that is, but it's the truth. It doesn't diminish how much I love teaching these kids, though.
Elizabeth Hunterlillibet on March 26th, 2013 02:52 am (UTC)
Yay for being in a good place, knowing what you want and finding joy in your choices and their results.
Jadiajadia on March 26th, 2013 03:02 am (UTC)
That sounds really awesome! It makes me want that, even though I don't know if I actually do. :-)
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on March 26th, 2013 04:46 am (UTC)
:) yay.
funner'n a sack a weaselsmoominmolly on March 26th, 2013 04:50 am (UTC)
Wait! I do have something to say here, aside from how happy I am to see you in a situation that suits you so well.

It's that... this is not unlike the way I feel about living with two kids in the way that I do. (I tried to make that sentence better, but it didn't fit, and you know what I mean anyway.)</p>

Anyway- how wonderful for you to have such clarity and joy.

Scheherazade is my patron saint.a_kosmos on March 26th, 2013 07:17 am (UTC)
It sounds like you are in an amazing living situation! Yay!

I don't think that people should get so attached to other people's choices. I like being childfree a lot. I especially like it on Saturday mornings, when I can sleep as late as I want without anyone needing to be fed or needing attention.
phoenixamber_phoenix on March 26th, 2013 12:12 pm (UTC)
yay! and thank you!

and why has it not occurred to me before now to encourage P & S to call you Awesome Sunshine Auntie Glitter?

(of course, at least S will amend this to "Awesome Sunshine Auntie Glitter POOP".)