Not having children and your outlook on life

Some things the last couple days got me to thinking about this. Between various threads lately; like the ones about child support or having a kid with different religious views, and running life insurance quotes calculations asking about saving for a kids education I started thinking about how not having kids effects various decisions in my life. Some of them are more general to not having kids and some are more specific to being gay.

  1. Buying a home. The school district is irrelevant because that’s not something I have to even think about. We also don’t have to consider if we’ll ‘grow out’ of a house since it will always be just the two of us.
  2. Having kids that I don’t know about. This one is impossible since I would have had to have had sex with a woman at some point.
  3. Trips during the school year, or at all. We don’t have to consider the school calendar at all, if we want to go we just do it. Leave some extra food out for the cat and a long weekend is ready to begin. (Hell, I usually don’t even realize school has started until a few weeks in)
  4. We can go do anything we want to without wondering if it’s ‘family friendly’ or if there’s things we’d have to explain to the children.
  5. Future planning. We have to structure our retirement plans with the understanding that it will be just us, no kids to help out with finances, taking care of us, helping deal with doctors as we get older, etc.

Those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. What else would be effected?

Cars… you probably won’t ever be tempted to buy a minivan.

Pregnancy… this is irrelevant because you’re both men, but it is a huge, long, life-altering, humbling, inconvenient, uncomfortable ordeal. You learn lessons about surrendering the free use of your body which, outside of chronic debilitating illness, aren’t otherwise learned. Even a chronic illness doesn’t teach you the same things, because you can still push your body to whatever limits you feel like and there’s no little person to suffer because of it.

You’ll never have the “how to raise the children” discussions/tension/arguments in your relationship.

You can keep thing on low shelves w/o stopping to consider first if they are breakable. (Unless you have dogs, I guess)

You die old and lonely with no immediate family to call your own. Just a thought.

Heh. Good one.

Which is a great thing to remember if you can’t have kids through no fault of your own.

Kids change everything. It isn’t just wondering if its “family friendly” - does it fit into nap time or bedtime. If I eat junk, am I setting a bad example. Somehow, I’ve made a commitment to survive (at least try to) until my kids are grown - no risky behavior. I buy furniture assuming there will be kids jumping on it - if I’d manage to stop mine, their friends would still come over and treat the furniture badly. You’ll never have your Saturday’s taken up with baseball or wonder where to put 142 cases of Girl Scout cookies or have a hamster you never wanted or worry about turning in homework (unless its yours) or worry about if your kid actually has a hearing problem or if he’s just a teenager, or what happens when your kids have SEX and do you have the liquor cabinet locked up (and guns…can they get their hands on guns). Is that smart mouth from too much TV or just a stage. Are we eating dinner as a family often enough that my kids are familar with sit down dinners and family time? Can they do their own laundry and cook themselves something approaching a good meal. Have I taken time to show them how to mend a seam. What are we getting them for their birthday/Christmas. Are we spoiling them. Is this too violent or are we being too indulgent. WHAT WILL THE OTHER PARENTS THINK! Am I am “mean mom” if we delay driving just a little longer. When are we going to fit in camp next summer, what kind of camp - and will I rejoice over a childless week or spend my whole week wondering what they are doing each minute of the day. And, if we have sex now, are the kids asleep enough - will they hear us…?

There are few non-work related decisions I’ve made in the past twelve years that don’t have at least a small bit of “kid” in it.

You’re probably never going to wake up in a 4am cold sweat convinced that in the event of a house fire there is absolutely no way you’re going to be able to get the whole family out safely.

You are far less likely to step on a jack or Lego while barefoot.

You’ll never have to contemplate how a four year old can make a clean house look like it got hit by a tornado in less then an hour…and with that you’ll never say to yourself “Why bother cleaning it, she’ll just do it again tomorrow and between now and then no one is going to see the inside of my house but me, the hell with it, it can stay messy.”

All very good and pretty much what I was looking for. I’ve always known that my life was different from most people, but it just recently really struck me how many very fundamental differences there are over just this one thing.

Not having children doesn’t mean being alone.

Conversely, having children doesn’t mean not being alone.

You’ll never be as intimately acquainted with every detail of the poop of another human being as you are with your own.

Talk about ruining the mood of the thread just a few posts in. Now I don’t even want to answer.

See, that assumes that your kids won’t turn out to be lousy rotte… Oh, hell let’s not talk about that.

Most of the OP’s list deals with not having to deal with kid related stuff, which is understandable, but pretty easy to categorize as the same thing under different guises.

There will be a difference down the road - as you get older, you’ll have less of an extended family with which to share life with, and these will not be related to ‘childish’ issues that the OP seems to focus on. Kids become adults, get married, and the extended family and in-laws grows which includes adults. Yes, you will always have friends of your own but the extended family, love em or hate em, is a rich part of life. And yes, I’m childless too and am starting to notice this in my 40s. Not that I’d change my choices, but I do realize what I am missing.

This used to bother me until I realized that having kids is no guarantee that they’ll be around when you’re old and needy. They might live halfway around the world; they might turn out to not like you enough to take care of you; you might not like THEM enough to want them around; you might outlive them; they might have kids of their own and be too stressed with their own lives to take care of you. The possibilities are endless.

And also, having kids just so that someone will take care of you when you’re old is a shitty reason to have kids. If that’s the only reason you’re thinking of having kids, I’d say skip it.

No kidding. Couldn’t even get to page two before a…parent had to bingo it.

What is affected? We’ve noticed a lot of the same things as you, Antinor. Our only concerns about where the schools are is that they aren’t too close (the noise and the litter).

  • We go to bed when we want to.
  • We get up when we want to.
  • We eat when we want to (and eat what we want).
  • Our socializing is more guarded - find out if there will be kids there, which kids, decide how long we can tolerate those kids.
  • We go out when we want to, and stay out as long as we want to (it isn’t very long these days, however, since we’re old and tired).
  • We’re planning for our old age without depending on adult children.
  • Our house/medicine cabinet/tvs/computers/movies aren’t child-friendly in the least. I keep old easy-open medicine bottles and put new medicine that comes in child-proof bottles into them if I can.
  • The only concern about travelling is to avoid the big family travelling holidays.
  • We leave for long weekends away on a whim if we want to.
  • There is a certain amount of care we take when talking about our lives with other people - we don’t volunteer that we are childfree by choice.

We don’t have kids, but we still take school district into account to a (very) small degree. It seems that most other people who buy houses care about school districts, and unless we plan to stay in this house forever (we don’t), we’ll eventually need to sell it to someone else. Having the biggest possible market seems like a good thing. On the other hand, if the price of a house with bad schools is proportionately lower, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

I wouldn’t avoid a house because the schools were bad, but all things being equal I’d rather buy a house in a good school district than a bad one, simply for ease of resale. Of course, in my experience, the houses we like also tend to be in the areas with good schools, so it ends up being a moot point…

On the topic of items on low shelves, having adopted a kitten a few months ago gave us a big new perspective on where things are in the house :smack:

Because your spouse doesn’t count for anything, obviously.