parents

Why Cameron Diaz chooses to be childfree.

Cameron Diaz has opened up to Esquire magazine about how she was ‘never drawn to being a parent.’

The 41-year-old Other Woman star told the magazine:

“It’s so much more work to have children, to have lives besides your own that you are responsible for – I didn’t take that on. That did make things easier for me.”

“A baby – that’s all day, every day for 18 years. Not having a baby might really make things easier, but that doesn’t make it an easy decision. I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That’s just what it is. Doesn’t mean life isn’t sometimes hard. I’m just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me. I’ve done a lot. And I don’t care anymore.”

This isn’t the first time the actress has spoken out about her ‘unconventional life choices’. At the start of the year, RadarOnline reported: “During Oscar weekend, Cameron insisted to friends that she is fine and dealing well with life, despite not having a steady man for the last few years.”

To which Mamamia publisher and founder Mia Freedman wrote at the time:

The pressure to be a ‘yummy mummy’ should not be underestimated. But the idea that you’ve somehow failed as a woman unless you’re a mother is an even more destructive and condescending crock.

Two years ago, Mamamia ran a story about a couple who chose to be child free, in the wake of Diaz’s comments we thought we’d revisit the idea.

This is a post by Jess van Den and this is her story:

Jess made a deliberate choice not to have kids

Nick (my husband) and I are child-free. That is, we have made the deliberate choice to not have children.

I believe that this topic is too often glossed over or ignored in our society – but I also believe that it’s an important one to discuss.

Today I wanted to let you in on our decision, in the hopes that it might help some people who choose to have children understand those of us who don’t a little better!

Those of us who are childfree (we prefer that term to ‘childless’ – because childless usually implies that you want kids but can’t have them, and I am not speaking for those people today) often keep our mouths shut about our decision. You would think that the decision to not have children would be happily embraced these days along with every other lifestyle choice.

However, (and this is, I believe, especially true for women) there is still a pervasive sense in our society that if you are a person who doesn’t want children – or even worse, doesn’t really like children – that there is something just a little bit wrong with you.

(On a personal note – I’m one of those women who is not interested in babies, I never have been. And as for children – in my mind they are just little people. I don’t like them more or less than big people, but my like of them is dependent on the same things that make me like a grown-up. The fact that little kids are often loud and self-absorbed means I generally like little kids less than older ones.)

We hear the endless pronouncements that ‘you’ll change your mind when you’re older/when you hit your 30s’, that having kids is ‘the best thing I’ve ever done!’, that  ’it’s different when they’re yours’ or ‘you’d make wonderful parents’. Our parents tell us that they can’t wait to have grandchildren.

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You know, we might be great parents. And it probably is different when they’re yours. And of course our parents would like grandkids. But those are not reasons to have a child.

In short, pretty much everyone around us assumes that we’re going through a phase and that we’ll change our minds.

So, we decide it’s easier to nod and smile whenever someone makes a comment about our future children, because, frankly, we’re just not up for another argument.

I’m speaking in generalisations here, but those of you reading this who are also child-free will no doubt be nodding your head in recognition of some of my scenarios.

My plea to those of you who choose to have kids is this – please believe us when we say we don’t want them, and please don’t try to change our minds. We’re happy for and respect you in your choice, and we just ask the same in return.

Because yes, it’s true – life changes, we change, and maybe one day we will decide that the time is right to bring a child of our own into the world. But that time is not now. I’m a big believer that there is no constant but change, however, that doesn’t make our decision not to have children right now any less true or valid.

Why we don’t want them

I think this is a very personal decision, so I’m just going to discuss why I don’t want kids. (Just a note – Nick and I are on the same page with this, but I’m going to focus on my own reasons here, not his.)

For me, the decision to not have children is both an instinctual and logical one.

I have never felt ‘clucky’. I’ve never felt an emotional desire to have a child. Sure, occasionally I’ll see a particularly cute kid, and I’ll think ‘hmm, maybe it would be nice’. However, after no more than 5 minutes with pretty much any kid under the age of 6, that nascent feeling quickly goes out the window and I breathe an inner sigh of relief that I get to go home without one!

Now, for the logic. If we go from the premise that I don’t feel a desire to have kids, the logical arguments simply back up and reinforce my decision. Some of the reasons are:

  • We love our lifestyle. I can run my business how I want, without the stress of ‘providing’ for a child. Nick is free to do what he wants with his life. We don’t have a mortgage, because we don’t need more than these two rooms for us to be happy. We sleep in. We eat when and what we want. We can travel where and when we want. We spend our days how we choose. In short – we only have to consider each other (and our parents and friends, to a lesser extent) in our life decisions.
  • I have been a teacher – yep! And – by and large – I enjoy teaching kids! But I also enjoy that I get to give them back at the end of the day. I have literally had a parent say to me ‘don’t have kids, get dogs‘. And yeah, she was kinda joking. Kinda. I have seen the stress, tiredness, and pain that so many parents live with. Especially when they have a child with some sort of behavioural problem or disability. (I have also seen the joy and pride parents feel for their kids, of course). However, I don’t want to be a tired person who has to put my own desires and needs down the ladder to care for someone else. That does make me selfish, yes, and I don’t deny that. But it also leaves me free to contribute to the world via my work, in a way I am passionate about.
  • Disability. My ex-partner was a Special Ed teacher. Again, I saw first-hand the struggle that filled the lives of parents with severely disabled kids. I am too scared of that possibility. That is, my fear of that happening to me far outweighs the joy I perceive in having a healthy child.
  • We have a history of pretty horrific post-natal-depression in my maternal family. Sure, if I know it’s likely, I can be prepared – but that won’t stop it from happening to me. It’s something I’d much prefer to avoid.

One final note. I feel very privileged to be born a woman in a time and place that allows me to not only make this decision, but to have the freedom and means to discuss it. I have lived a blessed life, and my aim is to be a productive, happy, and inspiring member of society. I am so very, very lucky to have the freedom I do.

*This is an extract from Jess’s full blog post, you can read the entire post here.

Do you or did you feel pressured to have kids?

Jess Van Den is extremely passionate and passionately extreme about her quest to craft a DIY Life, as well as all things handmade and vintage! When not blogging at Epheriell Designs, she’s making jewellery for her label Epheriell, editing *bespoke* zine, hanging out on twitter – or possibly doing all of these things at once.