here’s my interview with renee marie – she’s author of a new blog, a childfree 20-something. i’m excited to see what she has to write about! check it out.
me: how old are you?
renee marie: I am 24 years old. I’m at the age where many people I used to go to school with are getting married and having babies. Thank goodness I have only been asked the “Do you have kids question” once or twice in small-talk, and I’m not at the age where it needs an explanation yet.
me: have you always known you don’t want to have kids?
rm: I think I didn’t realize I was “childfree” until the age of 21. But years before that, I knew that having kids looked like no fun, and so it never appealed to me. I never played with dolls much, and if I did, I knew it was pretend and that I would never have that life. At the age of 12, I daydreamed about living in a big city, writing for a newspaper, and writing a novel while at an outdoor cafe in Paris. I never saw the white picket fence in a small town, raising three kids while my husband went to work every day. It took a breakup with someone because the guy wanted kids for me to realize not everyone thought the way I did.
me: there’s a growing online childfree community. you participate in it at least somewhat – why? what does it mean to have peers, if not in real life?
rm: I do think that the online childfree community is so important to have. Before stumbling on childfree blogs, I thought no one else was like me. But I realized that that’s not the case. Having a community to talk about our frustrations with is so helpful and makes us feel so much better about our decision.
me: do you find you have to spend a lot of time defending yourself, or are the people around you supportive of/disinterested in your choices?
rm: I have only told a few people my feelings, and my family is not supportive so far. They’re offended I think because it’s as if I’m making their life goals seem like something I’m disregarding for myself. I have encountered two people who don’t want kids, and so they were great to talk to in an honest way without having to be defensive of my decision.
me: what do you hope to do in your life that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to if you had kids?
rm: I have always had dreams of traveling. I plan to take lots of trips to different countries in my future and explore different cultures. Actually just today at work I had a conversation with a co-worker who was telling me about someone she knew who would work several months, save up as much money as he could, and then he’d spend several months traveling in a new country. She said, “He doesn’t have kids, so he can travel.” I wanted to say, “And THAT’S why I’m not having kids!” :) I hope to have success with creative writing, so without kids I’ll have time to work on hopefully publishing my work. I remember when I was younger I imagined what it would be like to have kids and I thought, “But wait a minute…how and when would I write? I can’t have kids!” So when I was faced with the idea that having kids meant giving up what I ACTUALLY wanted to do, I knew, then and there, that having kids was not for me.
me: i’ve always found that guys/men are the people most reluctant to believe that i actually don’t want kids. what has been your experience dating?
rm: I haven’t told any guys (besides the guy who broke up with me because I didn’t want kids and my current boyfriend) that I’m childfree. I know I’ve been surprised by guys who are not in relationships and in their early 20’s who use the phrase, “When I have kids…” It seems to spill out of their mouths and I can’t help thinking, “Why have you already decided?” I haven’t met any men who are decidedly childfree. The guy I’m dating right now is “undecided,” but I have a feeling he may be hoping I’ll change my mind. I don’t know what will happen but I hope he ends up realizing that having kids is overrated. ;)
me: are you open about your views? do you worry that it will interfere with your career goals, friendships, etc.?
I don’t talk about my childfree mindset with many people. I try to not to mention it too much around my family either, because they’re hyper-sensitive to my views and it always seems to fuel a debate. Even though I don’t think it’s right to judge someone based on a lifestyle choice, it will happen and so I don’t want it to affect how people in the workplace or my friends view me. Right now I’m young enough where it’s not too difficult to deal with, but as I get older it will become more of an issue. I’m sure I will get lots of people wanting to argue or debate about my choice.