I didn’t plan on being childless. I knew I didn’t want a traditional life. But the details were fuzzy, I had conflicted visions in my head.
Though, I have no idea who I’d be without kids *somewhere* in my life.
I’ve been taking care of them since I was 6 years old. I grew up with essentially 7 siblings (3 siblings, 4 cousins across the street).
I was a kids and teen cooking teacher for 20 years. I have 8 nieces and nephews, 16 if you count my cousins’ kids.
And yet none of that is enough in our culture!!
The messaging to become a mom is SO strong - especially to a Spanish Jewish woman? OMG to NOT procreate is SACRILEGIOUS in my world. I LITERALLY had a rabbi give me shit about it RIGHT AFTER I FINISHED CHEMO. He said “Oh, I was hoping you’d do something else before you…” and looked directly at my stomach!
I was SHAMED for not having kids RIGHT AFTER I SURVIVED OVARIAN CANCER.
FOR. REAL. That happened.
Fortunately, I’d become an auntie in my early 30s (in the photo, the baby is Daniel who was literally a few hours old and now tall as me at 13, Josh on the left is 16). And I had a realization: I don’t need to parent in order to have amazing children in my life.
It was later, when I was close to 40 years old that I started to have panic attacks that I made the wrong decision. I felt like SUCH a loser about it. One friend told me IN FRONT of her 3 kids “you did it right!!” And I was grabbing her and saying “no, no you did it right!” I guess that’s 40, though, right? Everyone doubting their life decisions.
People can be real dicks to people without kids! I mean REAL dicks. I’d like to end that stigma. Because it’s a gross and antiquated narrative created by the Patriarchy. It’s brain-washing to think that every single person needs to have the exact same lifestyle as the next person. Absurd.
It’s just so…EXPECTED that to do the unexpected, and be proud of the decision or ashamed or whatever - all of it feels wrong. If I’m ok with it, I’m a selfish monster.
If I feel shame around it, I’m a pathetic spinster. I don’t know how dudes feel about this. But as women: WE CAN NOT WIN. EVER.
FUCK. THIS. SHIT. I’ve been waiting to publicly write about this FOR YEEEEEAAARS. It needs to END. No shame for choosing WHATEVER LIFE YOU WANT!! In ALL ways!
Because this is my truth now: I AM SO FREAKING GLAD I’M NOT A PARENT. SO HAPPY. And this doesn’t mean I care or judge THAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE PARENTS. I’m talking about *my* choices.
Of course, I have a lot of reasons for this. I’d worry about their health if they were my genetic kids. I’d worry about ignoring them when I’m sick and weak. So many things. But besides that, I’m just so happy I’m available to spoil the hell out of my nieces and nephews. And my career as a kids cooking teacher was a BLAST!
The fact that I now have time to give to the teens in our community? And work with them as an activist? I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE this.
If I had my own kids, I wouldn’t want to deal with other people’s kids. This is why so many teachers opt out of having kids!!!!
It’s so freeing to know I can give my energy where it’s needed. And I can rest when I need to. To remove that “should I? or shouldn’t I?” question from my life is the most liberating thing I’ve ever experienced as a woman - and I’ve done some pretty liberating things in my life!!
Awwwww I’ve been waiting to let this out for YEARS. I LOVE NOT BEING A MOM. I LOVE BEING AN AUNTIE. I LOVE BEING A TEACHER. I LOVE HAVING KIDS IN MY LIFE AS A NON-PARENT!!!!!
And I’m no longer ashamed of admitting that. It’s not a loser thing at all.
It’s a fucking awesome thing.
KIDS, YOU ARE TRULY THE BEST!!!
I love you kids so much!!! Love, Auntie Julie xoxoxoxo