Advantages and Disadvantages of Being Childfree
Any life choice has its positives and negatives, and parenting versus not-parenting is no different. Let’s examine three advantages and three disadvantages of each option.
Three advantages of being a parent:
You fit in better with your peer group.
Almost everyone is a parent, and if you like to feel like you’re part of the mainstream, then parenting is for you. Not being a parent when in your 20s, 30s, and 40s can mean spending a lot of time alone, as your peers are getting together for play-dates with their children. Even when the little ones are not around, the conversation is likely to be about what the children are doing.
You have something to focus on other than yourself.
Self-focus is uncomfortable for many people, and frankly, having a child immediately puts the emphasis on this dependent being. Having a child means that you’ll have at least eighteen years of endless focus on the needs of another being.
You’re never bored.
For a person who has trouble filling his or her time, having a child might be the answer. You simply won’t have time to be bored, because once you spend eight hours on childrearing tasks you’ll be so tired that you’ll be ready for bed.
Three disadvantages of being a parent:
You have limited time and energy for your own pursuits. Many parents are spread way too thin, and they suffer by missing sleep, not having time for exercise, and having neglected marriages that end in divorce. And that’s not to mention the hobbies that one might wish to pursue such as art, travel, writing, or golf, and to not have to wait until the golden retirement years to do so.
You have to worry about a child who is dependent on you. I’m hearing more and more stories about adult children who are still living at home or have returned home after college. Many of these kids appear to be quite immature and not only financially, but also emotionally dependent on mommy and daddy. Parents these days seem to have trouble cutting the old apron strings.
You have to make life decisions based on what’s best for someone else, rather than what’s best for yourself.
When you become a parent, you ideally put your own selfish desires behind those of your child. This is all well and good, but what if it means passing up a job opportunity in another city, staying in a dead marriage, or neglecting old friendships?
You have time for self-care and for other relationships.
I love spending time alone with my husband, and we have a lot of this due to not being busy raising a family. I also enjoy nurturing my terriers, and for me the time and energy this takes meets my personal caretaking needs. It’s also great to have the ability to carve out time to write letters, make phone calls, or meet with friends socially.