Thank you Jesse, for the respectful, humorous, and honest blog post. My husband and I have decided we are going to be a child-free family as well, because we feel that being with each other, and our three dogs, is the best family for us.
We have actually had the experience of parenting by being foster parents to two boys that we absolutely love and adore. When they were eventually placed with fabulous family members, we were excited (for us and them), not saddened by their move — not because we didn’t love them, but because we were discovering through the process that parenting was simply not for us. (And we are fortunate enough to now be “auntie and uncle” to the boys — perfect!) So those folks who say, “You just don’t know how amazing and wonderful parenting is because you haven’t tried it”, truly do not understand that it’s not for everyone. Despite the challenges of foster parenting, we had many moments of laughter, cuddling, beautiful conversation, growing together, and bonding — yet still, parenting them was not for us, even though we were actually pretty good at it (most of the time).
My husband and I love our freedom, and the ability to spend time together and with our dogs without being responsible for little ones. But we are also active in our community, and in fact training to become mentors to high school students, among other things. Also one of our dogs is a therapy dog, and I take him to the local universities to greet college students during finals week, among other stressful times. We can still be an active part of our family, group of friends, and community, without having children. Plus we’re the coolest auntie and uncle to the boys and the children of our friends! We do the fun stuff with them, make special memories, let them eat too much ice cream, then send them home with smiles and full bellies while my husband and I enjoy a peaceful night together. We will continue to be their supporters, cheerleaders, and friends. And for us, that’s about as perfect as it gets.
We love our lives, and wouldn’t trade our lifestyle for anything because this is what we have happily chosen, and we will not apologize for it. Many people may not understand, but that’s okay, they don’t need to. All we ask for is respect, because that is what we give to others who we may not identify with or understand.
Lastly, if you haven’t already seen this interview with Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert about this very topic, you must! Sounds like it’s right up your alley:
Thank you again for your post as this is an important message that needs to be shared.