Over on the fantabulous website DINKlife.com, Tricia W. writes,
Why is being childfree always equated to being carefree?
I saw a tweet the other day from a woman who stated that laying in bed thinking and worrying about the million things she had to do the next day or within that week had to be “a mom thing”.
Really? That’s interesting. I am a mom to no one, yet I am frequently lying awake thinking about my work, my student loans, the mortgage, my family- the list goes on and on. So I asked her what classified that characteristic as a mom thing, and stated that being childfree was not at all a precursor for being carefree.
But isn’t it? Just a little bit? (Or even a lot?)
We can all probably agree that parents and non-parents have their worries. As Tricia says, she too is worried, even as a non-parent–about money and family and work, etc. Most adults over the age of 25 probably have an uncomfortably long list of anxieties. It seems to come hand in hand with responsibility.
But the thing about being childfree is that we have at least one less responsibility than parents have. By design.
A woman who works the same hours I do and who has a child has less freedom, and more worries, than I have, all other things being equal.
A woman who stays home all day with her child still has less freedom than I have. I can go to the store when I want to without taking a child with me, and I can come home late from work and not worry about who’s going to make dinner.
As a married couple without children, my husband and I can decide we want to move and won’t have to think about school districts and pedophiles. Speaking of pedophiles (and kidnappers and psychos and bullies and jerks and cars and bite-y animals (etc.)), when we do wake up in the middle of the night with our fairly typical adult worries gnawing at our throats, what we don’t have are any additional worries about kids and all the things that can hurt them, the ways we might be messing up as parents, whether they’ll pass math, why they do their hair that way and whether to tell them how very bad it looks…
We don’t have to sweat over one single thing the average parent stresses over on a regular basis.
(I have to clarify that I don’t think parents are particularly special or deserving of praise for dealing with parental stress. No more than anyone else who is dealing with whatever life stress they accept when they choose a lifestyle or occupation, anyway.)
I love my relative freedom, when I remind myself of how much of it I have compared to others I know. (Otherwise, I don’t really think about it. One just lives one’s life, after all, dahlink.)
What I can’t figure out is, what’s wrong with loving it? With admitting that, yes, being (relatively) carefree is, for many of us, one of the perks?