This post has been on my mind for quite some time, but I wanted to write it in a way that would offend as few people as possible.
You see, I have nothing against parents. I have family and friends who are fantastic parents and who love their children very much. In fact, I really have nothing against kids, I love hanging out with my friends/family and their children. I also understand that parenthood involves sacrifices and sleepless nights and decisions that I, as a child-free adult, will not fully understand. I’m not here to debate or demean the things that parents go through for their children. It’s incredible and you parents deserve all the coffee (and wine!) in the world.
But, parenthood is not the end-all-be-all. Parenthood is not the ultimate goal that ultimately defines a successful adult, or a successful life. And that is what I’d like to talk about…
Several months ago, I overheard someone in public telling a new mom that “she was proud of her”. And it really made me think about how adult achievements unrelated to children tend to somehow go unnoticed or to be overshadowed by those related to children.
And so today, to all you child-free adults, I’d really just like to tell you how proud I am of you.
I’m proud of those of you working hard to get out of debt. That is a huge accomplishment that will open up so many doors for you!
I’m proud of those of you who have saved to purchase a house or car that you can proudly call your own. There is something very special about doing this.
I’m proud of those of you loving furry, scaly, spiny and hairless babies, and especially those of you loving them into their senior years. This is a whole new level of difficult, and I see you and am proud of you.
I’m proud of those of you attaining a higher education or working hard to move up in your line of work! This is a difficult and sometimes lonely path that you navigate and you’re doing incredible.
I’m proud of those of you who travel, who challenge yourselves by seeing new things and leaving your comfort zone. Travel is often regarded as a luxury and something you’re “lucky to do”, but it’s also difficult and eye opening and life changing.
I’m proud of those of you who take time to volunteer and better your community. It’s often thankless work, but it makes such a huge difference.
I’m proud of those of you standing by your decision to remain child-free because it is what you want, despite all the pressures to change your mind. And I’m proud of those of you who were forced into this child-free life, one way or another. I’m not in this camp and can only imagine the journey you’ve made. I’m proud of you for making this journey and make the best of it!
I’m proud of those of you who pour energy and time and effort into bettering and maintaining your marriage or your close friendships. It’s easy to take these for granted and it says alot about you when you choose to cherish them.
I’m proud of those of you who are working to discover what you’re passionate about. This is also often touted as a luxury, but it’s hard work, and I can’t help but wonder about what our world would be if more people went through this process.
So here’s to you, child-free adults. I’m proud of you, and you know what? You should be unapologetically proud of yourself too. As child-free adults, we have opportunities that those with children perhaps don’t have (or have to work harder for), but we also face unique challenges as well. I don’t believe there’s any shame in saying so. Ultimately, life isn’t a competition of who has it easier or who has it more difficult. Life is not a battle between those with kids and those without. We’ve chosen (or perhaps been forced to choose) a different path in life than many others have, but it’s still a wonderful, beautiful, exciting journey. One that we deserve to enjoy, to be proud of and to share with others.