Until July 2020, I did not want kids, and I was 100% content with this position. This may come as a surprise, considering I adore my son and cannot possibly attain happiness without him.
My life includes my wife, my family, and my work. For the last 10 years, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve been happy and content with my life. Because I was happy; I didn’t find the need to have children and did not have space in my life for kids. Likewise, I thought, adding kids to my otherwise happy life will cause imbalance and therefore, other areas of my life will suffer.
The reason was not due to lack of time. I believe in work-life balance and my sole purpose of working is, so I can have a life. I enjoy my work, I really do. However, I enjoy my life more and for this reason; I do not want my work taking up more space in my life.
It was my view that kids, along with eternal joy, come with the following downsides:
- Kids require significant commitment of time/attention.
- Kids require significant financial commitment
- Kids require change in lifestyle.
Both time/attention and finance are scarce resources, but my standard of life is such that I am happy with the time and finance I have. I live a simple life with minimal expectations, where material possessions are not a priority or necessary. I do not desire an enormous home or fancy cars. To the contrary, I desire a smaller home with a basic car that does not require much maintenance or attention from me.
Therefore, my primary reason for not wanting kids is that my current lifestyle will change, and of course, it will. I knew life will be different, but I knew that life with kids will not be worse. This is an important distinction. However, I was not ready for a different life. For the reasons above, I was happy with the lifestyle I have.
I am not an adventurous person who travels, goes camping or lives out of a van. My life is boring. Outside of work, I enjoy reading, writing, technology, playing games, movies, etc. I also enjoy going to restaurants or weekend gateways to wineries and regional towns. Twice a year, my wife and I enjoy overseas holidays and Christmas gatherings with my wife’s side of the family.
I felt it would be better not to change this lifestyle and as the years went by; I became protective of my lifestyle.
What's the big deal?
People often say, of course, you can travel with kids, and they are not wrong. However, you may undertake more kids' friendly activities rather than the activities you normally undertake. Instead of enjoying museums and jazz clubs, you may spend your day at Disney parks. I just am not the person who enjoys spending the day at a theme park. It’s just not me. I have tried and failed multiple times.
The movies, tv shows and music one enjoys; also changes. I am only recently discovering that Netflix and YouTube have dedicated kids' categories.
I am a reasonable person and obviously; one does not have to entirely give up on their lifestyle. It’s a balance, that if you do not have kids, you do not have to make such adjustments.
So, what changed?
Readers of this blog know that I have a baby boy. Therefore, definitely something happened as I am now living a life that I so strongly attempted to avoid.
As you can imagine, my wife, my parents and my in-laws were upset when they discovered my thoughts about not having kids. If I am being honest, my wife and I never discussed whether we want kids. We assumed that we both want kids, and it was just a matter of when rather than if. This was not an assumption without basis. I love kids and have spent countless days with my nieces and nephews. They are adorable. It was only recently (3-4 years) that I changed my mind towards not wanting kids of my own. As explained above, I did not see the need and definitely did not have space in my life for kids.
My wife was confident that one day, I will change my mind. She wanted kids too, but she wasn’t ready yet and figured by the time she was ready, I would come around. Well, she was wrong in this instance. I did not come around. The lapse in time only cemented my position.
Evidently, we had many disagreements, and finally, my wife gave me the ultimatum. She said she does not see a future with me if we do not have kids. It was her view that it is extremely selfish on my part to take motherhood away from her. She is 100% right on this, and just because I changed my mind does not mean she has to give up on what she wants. Our options were simple. Either I give in or she walks away from my life.
Many thoughts and considerations cross my mind. At first, the stance my wife took seemed unfair to me.
However, I quickly dumped all these thoughts and asked myself one simple question — DO I SEE MY LIFE WITHOUT MY WIFE?
HELL NO. My wife completes my life. She is my strength and the reason I smile every day. I cursed myself for even putting her through this. I apologised to her and gave my commitment to her, and assured her I will be a brilliant father. She said: “I know you. You want kids too. You just don’t know that now. I know you better than you know yourself”.
From that point onwards, I prepared myself for a different life. It is the life I live today.
My wife was right. My son has given me the joy and happiness that I have never ever experienced before. The feelings I have today are foreign to me. I am overjoyed.
Raising a child is difficult and requires sacrifices, but I am happy to sacrifice everything just to put a smile on my son’s face. This matters most to me. When he is older, and he wants to go to a Disney theme park, I will be the first one to take him there.
When my son was born, I requested my wife to never tell him that his father did not want kids. She agreed, but I know one day he will find out. That will be a strenuous day for me.
I am a proud father today and strive to be a better father tomorrow.