8 Reasons Not To Have Kids - URBANETTE: Lifestyle Magazine & Blog

#HilaryRowland

8 Reasons Not To Have Kids

It took a lot of thought, but here are the 8 reasons we came up with that entrenched us in the DINK (dual income no kids) camp.

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By a conservative estimate, my hubby and I get asked when we’re going to have kids probably once a month. When we first got married, the question was posed more frequently, but now our friends and family have given in to the fact that we put a lot of thought into our life choices and don’t mind being different (I mean, hey, we’re vegan)

8 Reasons Not To Have Kids

When I was in my 20’s, I assumed I was going to have kids someday. That was back before I started questioning everything in life. The more I open my eyes to the realities of the world (like where our food comes from, for example), the more I see that, in reality, things aren’t how they’re marketed to us. It’s not that having kids can’t be a great thing for some people — I’m sure it is. It’s just that, in my mind, I’d had this movie trailer playing in my brain that consisted of Thanksgiving dinners and happy times with family. In reality, most families have serious ups and downs. Having kids is a rollercoaster, no matter how you slice it.

When I got sick, I realized that reducing stress in my life needed to be top priority if I was going to lead a long, healthy life. So I cut back on work, started incorporating stress-relieving habits like taking baths and meditating, and made a list of life’s current and potential stressors. Kids was right at the top of that list. But that’s not the main reason we chose not to have them. Here’s the list we made while we were mulling over the decision:

8 Reasons Not To Have Kids

The sad reality is that humans are an invasive species and we are suffocating the planet and its other inhabitants…

  1. Earth is way overpopulated.
    It’s hard to hear, I know, but the inconvenient truth is that the world needs (a lot) less people, not more. There’s no such thing as a carbon-neutral, pollution and waste-free person. Unless your kid ends up being Elon Musk, and what are the chances of that?
  2. We want a low-stress life. 
    Stress is a killer. The chemicals your body produces when you feel stress are a major factor in disease, they cause your body to deteriorate, they destroy your gut (which can cause many long term health problems), and they make it so your mood and sleep is all wonky. Plus, being under a lot of stress makes your life pretty unpleasant. I’d rather have the low-stress option of watching a movie with my hubby, reading a book, or going to dinner with friends, rather than dealing with my kid’s daily dramas.
  3. We want to travel.
    Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve felt the itch explore, and have flown off to have an adventure somewhere new at least once a month. I know there are people who say you can travel with kids, but let’s not kid ourselves — it’s not exactly the same as just you and your hubby, is it? #SayNoToDisneyland
  4. We want to protect our relationship.
    For many (dare I say ‘most’) couples, having kids makes keeping the romance alive much, much harder. Let’s be honest — it’s no secret that having kids puts so much strain on a marriage that many couples either become miserable or divorce. That’s just statistics. Our marriage is super strong, but seriously, why test it like that? Keeping my marriage romantic, low-stress, and happy is my first priority. (I know that some of you will disagree and say that it made your marriage stronger, and more power to ya! You’re the lucky ones!)
  5. 8 Reasons Not To Have KidsWe don’t want to be babysitters.
    Watching kids shows, dealing with other kids and their parents, and shuttling your kids to birthday parties, sports events, and school (not to mention PTA meetings) all sound like things we’d rather avoid. I’d rather be able to work on Urbanette or choose to do what I want, when I want.
  6. We want to live wherever we want.
    We don’t want the home we choose to live in to be dictated by school districts. Having the luxury of living in different places is a big plus. If we had kids, that would be a lot harder. Once you have kids, it’s a lot harder to quit your job, move to a new place, or a host of other options that effectively disappear once you have the responsibility of raising a family.
  7. We would rather donate to charity.
    Having kids costs a fortune. It’s estimated that the first 18 years of a kids life costs their parents about $500,000 per child (if you live in a good area — ie. not Idaho Falls or El Paso). And that’s if you send them to public school. We’d rather donate that money to charities, where it can have a huge impact, instead of using it all up on one person.
  8. It’s just a lot of risk.
    What if our kid were to get paralyzed? Or have addiction problems? Or split personality disorder? Or any number of other things? It’s a big risk, and then you become a lifelong caretaker with no time for anything else. And I’m pretty sure I’d go nuts and hunt down some 19-year-old prick if I found out that my daughter had been raped in college, as about a third of girls are.

Ok, so I know that some of you are going to hate me for this list, because it goes against the grain of society and what the public has been sold on: The American Dream. ie. Have kids, get a mortgage, etc. I’m not saying that people have kids solely because society tells them to. I just find it interesting to consider that the American Dream was manufactured by the people in charge (ie. the CEO’s of massive corporations that have hundreds of thousands — or millions — of employees). Those people in charge have access to advertising, the media, politicians, and shaping cultural norms. Their goals are: create harder workers and less turnover. They get that by making their employees feel trapped, so they’ll work harder and be less likely to move, quit, become an entrepreneur, etc. Just some food for thought…

8 Reasons Not To Have Kids

When it boils down, some people really love having kids, and more power to ’em! But in our case, I’m really, really glad that we thoroughly considered all these factors before jumping on the kid bandwagon. My husband and I are sure that this is the right decision for us, but life isn’t a one-size-fits-all, so having kids (as long as you’ve carefully considered the implications) may still be the best choice for your life. But for us, our cats are our furbabies, and the freedom that comes along with being DINK’s (dual income no kids) is one of the main reasons that our lives are so happy and low stress — and will (hopefully) remain that way.

Have you considered all these factors? What are your thoughts about having (or not having) kids?

A writer, artist, and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she spends most of her time in France, NYC, London and Switzerland, and travels extensively around the world. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She’s always looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 81 Comments

  1. Alexiane Verdito

    That was a great article Hilary, with very rich arguments. That made me think more about it, I wish we can reconsider it with my boyfriend, with more perspective. We always thought we would have kids one day but you have raised important points, thanks a lot.

  2. Earth is not yet overpopulated. In fact, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, the entire world’s population could just fit Los Angeles – how small is that in global scale? The main issue is uneven distribution of resources – lack of opportunity, equity.

    Just my two cents.

    P.S. But I agree for the most part – enlightening.

    • Arthur mence

      We’re not talking about space here, but we are consuming more than what the earth can produce earlier and earlier every year, we live on credit. A good documentary explains all of it on Netflix, called Cowspiracy. Try it if you can 🙂

  3. Jenna Forrester

    I do not have kids…. I do not miss anything! My friends with children are so consumed with the life of their children ….and it’s all they can talk about…. no time for anything else and all has to be planed out far in advance. I look at all these families and can only say …. I am OK with my life without children! I love to travel and can go whenever it pleases me. I love all my friends children but I do not have to take them home with me….

  4. I think that the choice to have children or not have them is an incredibly important one for every woman, man, or couple to decide. Some people may enter these decisions lightly- others consider every aspect of this decision. For me and my husband, the decision to have children was long considered, and fueled by a passion to nurture another human in this special way. The relationship I have with my parents is one of the reasons why I wanted to have kids (my parents are incredible people)- they traveled everywhere with us, gave us so much love. I wanted to be able to share that type of love with children who will shape the world to come. I think people who don’t want children should definitely not have any because what’s the point? It’s like me saying, I love cupcakes, and so you should eat them too. But what if you hate cupcakes? The best thing, I think, is that you and your partner are on the same page. Too many times (so many times) I know one partner secretly wants children and does so after years of living with a spouse and saying, oh yes, I never want to have children! But here’s the thing- if you ever decide to change your mind, and you feel you’re too old to give birth, you can always adopt! So I say go for it! Live YOUR life just the way you want to and celebrate and enjoy your freedom to make that choice.

  5. Frederica Pellman

    Bravo Hilary – a tough subject to tackle and it never ceases to amaze me that people get so annoyed if you don’t make the same life choices they do. The word “selfish” comes up a lot from your critics, but one could argue that bringing more children into a severely depleted, overcrowded world is a selfishness of its own. You’re smart enough to have known that not all the responses to this article would be positive, and you have already had to deal with people’s judgment in your personal interactions. I love my two sons, but I have seen my share of unhappy families where pain is inflicted by parent on child and vice versa. It is a deeply personal decision, and one that no one should ever have to defend. There are plenty of lonely, abandoned children who are helped by the Big Brother/Sister organizations. So many ways to express love and caring in this untidy universe of ours. Lets support each other in our decisions even if they are not the ones we think they should make – you have to walk a mile in another person’s moccasins to understand why they do what they do.

    • Thank you so much! That means so much to me — as a friend, and as my hubby’s mom! Huge hugs and love! 💕

  6. Andrea

    I think it’s great when people don’t have kids because I don’t want people having kids when they don’t REALLY want them. I think it’s really sad for the children when people have kids just because that’s “what people do” or they feel some kind of pressure from a spouse or family member or just society. Also, I do agree that overpopulation is an issue. With that said, I didn’t really understand most of your list. Maybe that’s because I have 4 children though and I love it! The ones that had me scratching my head the most were: you don’t want stress, you don’t want to be a babysitter and you want to protect your relationship. You don’t want stress? Life is stressful whether or not you have children. I remember life before kids and I was stressed all the time. Way more stressed then I’ve ever been with children. The list of stressors that every day people have in their lives is very long, so I won’t even attempt to start listing them. Also, research has shown that people with children live longer, so the extra “stress” of having children can’t really be that bad for you. And you don’t want to be a babysitter? Huh? Most people don’t like babysitting other people’s children. I know I don’t. Having your own children is a completely different experience. You don’t feel like you are “babysitting”. You feel like you are hanging out/taking care of the love of your life, because you are. And you want to protect your relationship? That one just made me sad. Typically, marriages are strengthened by the experience of raising children together. If having children causes a couple to break up, then it was never strong in the first place. Expensive? Sure, having children is very experience, but it’s totally worth it. And risky? I’ll give you that one. It is very risky having children, but again totally worth it. In general, I think having children makes life way more fun and exciting. But to each their own.

    • Thanks so much for the perspective! You’re lucky that you have such a great family. I know that my brother and I caused my parents a ton of stress (although my mom still says it was worth it), so I’m just pulling from my limited experience. It’s great to hear other opinions though! xox

      • Andrea

        Thanks! I am lucky. Kids are definitely stressful, I think it just depends if you want that kind of stress in your life. I will also add that both me and my husband are homebodies. So, neither of us mind being home a lot. I think for people that like to travel and be out and about all the time, having kids would be a lot more difficult. I can see how those adventurous souls would not want to have children. 💕

        • I’m both, but I would go crazy if I couldn’t travel at least once a month. Been like that since I was a teenager. Sounds like we’re both creating the ideal setup for our respective lives! I think it’s all about knowing yourself, your lifestyle, etc. then deciding based on a realistic look at that. 😉

  7. Jossen Row

    We decided not to have kids, but I guess my wife’s decision will change later on. I know that someday, she’ll tell me that she wants a child, and I’m willing to give it to her. For now, we will just enjoy married life, with no stress, just pure happiness.

  8. Zerin Martin

    You have no kids and you’re both earning money? How rich you are, Hilary? Lol! I agree with your points — I’d rather have no kids that to be under constant stress because of them.

  9. Luthi Sanders

    Why would you compute the cost of living of your soon-to-be-child? I just don’t get the point why would you compare your child to everything? It’s a selfish act for me, because you could give someone a good life, but I won’t judge you because of this. To each their own, I guess.

  10. Marina Bozek

    If you’re going to ask me, I’d rather live like this. Today’s generation is getting wilder each day, and I don’t want my future children to be like them. I’d hate to parent a bunch of teenagers who got pregnant in their teens, and took drugs. I’d rather live with cats than to raise children like this.

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