Wednesday, January 06, 2010


The other night I was thinking about writing a "benefits of living a childless life" list, because one point popped into my head and I thought if I concentrated hard enough, more would follow.

The part of me that works hard to please everyone and piss off no one (must be liked; above all else, must. be. liked.) worries that this will sound like a big vat of whiny sour grapes at best, and smugly bitter at worst.

But the part of me that struggles daily to come to terms with this unplanned life is shouting louder today, so here goes:

1. We can (and do) venture out at all hours to wander through the neighbourhood on evening walks together.
2. Our rooms aren't decorated with anything in bright primary coloured plastic.
3. We only trip over our own toys.
4. We can (and do) lay about and read quietly on the weekends.
5. I never have to watch any DVD more than once unless I want to.
6. I don't have an endless loop of nonsensical songs sung by adults in matching jumpsuits playing in my head 24/7.
7. I can have a bath all by myself.
8. I can light candles without worrying that someone is going to get singed.
9. We can put breakables wherever we want.
10. We can stay out as long as we want.
11. We don't have to remember to spell out certain taboo words.
12. We can swear with reckless abandon.
13. No one here randomly pukes, pees or poos on floors, carpet or bedding.
14. We rarely get sick.
15. No one here hates going to bed.
16. No one here hates eating (we have the opposite problem...).
17. There is silence when we need it and only the occasional tantrum.
18. We enjoy uninterrupted sleep.
19. Our car is only dirty because we made it so.
20. No one requires entertaining (okay, sometimes I do...but that's My Beloved's problem).

There. Twenty things.

And yes, I know the list on the other side of the equation is far longer. But the fact remains that if you look hard enough, you can find just enough material to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

It might not be a pretty purse, or one you ever really wanted to use in the first place, but it can be done.

Even though I'd trade everything on this list in a nanosecond for just one great big hug from my boy, I still think it's a decent list. And a valuable exercise too.


delphi said...


Denise said...

Are you sure about #13...I know my cat can vomit in the most inappropriate places at the most inappropriate times. (Right before the MIL rings the bell...I kid you not).

Bronwyn said...

Great list! (and one I've made in my head many, many times.) It's like we belong to this weird little subset of humanity, and although we shouldn't have to justify how we live sometimes it helps to count a few of the blessings. You and Sandy are so very blessed to have each other, and that's something that many, many parents don't have.

Terynn said...

Hubby and I are finding these sweet things again, after the last kidzo left the nest in August for college.

I miss them terribly, but am, too, learning to look for the sweetness of where I am vs. pining for what is not.

Nice to hear the thoughts inside your head again, Kristin. I kinda missed you. :)

Kami said...

I keep rewording my comment trying to make sure there isn't a misunderstanding. I hope this communicates my support for your situation.

First of all, I think your list is great. I can say (parenting a DE baby after infertility and loss) that there are many things on your list I miss - really miss - from our childfree days.

Also, now that I don't have that drive to have a child, I can see how happy my life could have been childfree.

The trouble is, in my opinion, so much of wanting a child stems from an innate need. How do you turn that off? It's not like deciding that you are going to choose a different career because you got into medical school. It like trying to decide that you don't want to breathe. All the logic in the world won't work against instinct.

I am happily parenting and have traded many of the things that used to make me happy for this different experience. But I want to emphasize that it is just different - not better or worse. Really, that is what I think now and by saying so I want to encourage you on your path.

I know, easy for me to say. So perhaps a worthless comment in the end.

May you find peace and joy in the life you are leading.

an insight into me said...

Ok I want to answer Kami's comment but first I want to say great list!!

"Also, now that I don't have that drive to have a child, I can see how happy my life could have been childfree."

You can see that because it's not a life you eventually had to lead, if you had of had to lived it, it would be a totally different story.

"The trouble is, in my opinion, so much of wanting a child stems from an innate need. How do you turn that off?"

You don't turn it off, you never can, the yearning, desire, wanting, natural instinct is always there but what can you do? Sweet FA, you HAVE to learn to LIVE WITH IT, you have no other choice. Sure you pack it away in it's own little tiny box and stash it right at the back of your wardrobe BUT it's ALWAYS there, it may fade it may not but it will always be something that remains unfulfilled.

Claire said...

I think the most significant ones on this list that jump out to me all speak to the same thing, "spontaneity" which can make life wonderfully rich. It is something that you can truely still have with a childfree life and never completely reach anymore when you have children.

I am glad that the part of you who is trying to come to terms with your new path is shouting loud...and FWIW you know I adore you regardless of what you say ;)

Rosepetal said...

To echo Bronwyn's comment, it's true that the strength of your relationship with S shines through your writing :-)

Pipsylou said...

I keep writing things and then erasing them.

Just wanted you to know that I admire you, and I envy your peace. :)

Heather said...

Yesterday I had a thought similar. I thought of writting a list of all of the good things that have come from my son's death. AS I read your list, I had to nod. I am a mom to a toddler...this morning she pooped on the floor. I'd gladly clean up her poop all day everyday given the alternative...however, I did chuckle and have to agree!