Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Childfree After Infertility Silver Linings List

One of the things that Bryce and I have done since making the decision to end our parenthood journey and resolve childfree is to keep a list, a running tally, of all the GOOD things we have or will have because we don't have children. It's a nicer list than the one of all we've lost, which I did as a journaling activity while reading Life Without Baby. That one's a sad list of grief and loss and opportunities that will never present themselves, and there's really no need to go on and on about that one because it's pretty apparent. And it seems to be what people not in this community focus on when you resolve childfree -- all the "Oh but you won't..." and "It's so sad that you'll never..."

So this is by no means an exhaustive list, as we keep mentally adding things, but it's a pretty darn good one of things that are actually positive (for us) about being childfree at this point in our lives, post 8 years of very real trauma. It's a little crazy to me that we never actually wrote it down, and now's as good a time as any for some positivity!

The Childfree After Infertility Silver Linings List: 

1) We can sleep in on weekends
2) We can go out at a moment's notice, no need to find a babysitter
3) We can have light-colored furniture and not freak out (too much) about possible stains
4) We don't have to put those babyproofing plugs or locks or gates everywhere
5) If we wanted to, we could move to a house with a creek in the backyard (I always worried about toddlers drowning)
6) If we wanted to, we could move to a house on a street with two yellow lines (that was always a hard no because I worried about children getting hit by cars)
7) We will never have to fly in an airplane with a baby
8) We will never have to go on a Disney vacation (for some this is with or without kids a dream come true, for us it's always been a living nightmare)
9) We don't have to pay for daycare
10) We don't have to pay for college
11) We don't have to juggle schedules of gymnastics or hockey or violin lessons or tap dancing or swim meets
12) I will never have to be a Den Mother or a Girl Scout Leader
13) I don't have to deal with the Mean Moms out there
14) I will never be judged for breastfeeding or not breastfeeding (just for not having kids, ha)
15) We will never be judged for disposable diapers vs cloth diapers
16) We will never have to change a diaper if we don't want to
17) We will never have a trash can that smells like shit (maybe until we're really old, but fingers crossed for never)
18) We will never have to have a swingset/play equipment in my backyard
19) We will never have to worry about pedophiles, at least not coming after our own children
20) We won't have to worry about cyberbullying (for our kids, at least)
21) We won't have to have the fight over when you get a smartphone, or being the last person EVER to get a smartphone
22) No small person will ever yell, "I HATE YOU, MOM/DAD!" at us (and if they do it will be really, really weird)
23) We will never have to watch Bubble Guppies, or Pet Patrol, or Caillou, or any of the really weird and frenetic cartoons that are out now
24) We will never have children's music cds on loop in the car
25) No one but me will say "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
26) We won't have to go see the Wiggles or any other equivalent in concert
27) Ditto to Disney on Ice, Sesame Street LIVE!, the circus if it still exists anywhere, etc.
28) We won't have to go to Hershey Park
29) We won't have to go to Sesame Place
30) No one will ever beg us to go to Great Wolf Lodge, where all I'd ever do is worry about drowning in a wave pool or getting decapitated by a water slide (sense a theme here?)
31) We won't have to get up extra early on weekdays to get someone on a school bus
32) We won't have to pay for a wedding
33) We don't need a bigger house
34) We can stay in our smaller house, make it into our dream farmhouse cottage, and save a shit-ton of money not buying a more expensive bigger house
35) We can take some of this money we're saving and take really amazing, fancy trips
36) Bryce can get the fancy cars he loves and not have to worry about fitting a car seat in them
37) We can spend more time and energy on our marriage and nurturing our relationship
38) We can spend more time, energy, and money developing our own interests
39) We can do weird adult things like buy art for the walls that comes from an actual gallery (we might have done this with a painting from an artist we saw in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and it is FABULOUS)
40) We will never have to argue with someone to put their shoes on already
41) We will never deal with disliking our child's significant other
42) We will never have in-laws who we may or may not like (this could be a negative or a positive, but after one of the recent and horrific shootings where the guy was looking for his mother-in-law, my TA said she called all her sons-in-law to make sure they weren't harboring anger, and I was like SCORE! I will never have a son-in-law who might want to kill me! It was a very strange moment, and probably fairly inappropriate, but I'll take positives wherever I can get them!)
43) We won't have to watch the same movie over and over and over again
44) We won't have to put someone to bed over and over and over again
45) Our laundry loads are smaller and take less time
46) Traveling just two people is a lot cheaper than adding a third or fourth into the mix
47) We won't ever have a small child have a meltdown in a public place where people stare and stinkeye and wonder if they need to call CPS
48) We will never have to dedicate time in the evenings for homework help (although I felt I was particularly well-equipped for that task)
49) We will never have to pay for sports equipment, dance equipment, uniforms, instruments
50) We will never have to pay for summer camp
51) I won't ever have to volunteer for elementary school events (just middle school events that are part of my job, ha)
52) (Hopefully) No one will ever come into our bedroom at night and announce "I'm going to throw up" right before puking all over the quilt
53) We won't have to change sheets in the middle of the night for a wet bed
54) We won't ever step on a Lego (in our own home)
55) We won't be going to the emergency room for a tiny person's terrifying high fevers, or broken bones, or stitches
56) We won't have to worry about curfews
57) We won't have to teach someone to drive (unless we very nicely volunteer)
58) We won't have to add a teenager to our car insurance
59) We won't have to tour colleges or help with college applications
60) We won't have to worry if our child is doing drugs or having sex
61) We can go for as long a walk as we want to -- no need to walk at the pace of the smallest family member
62) No whining. (Okay, maybe I whine from time to time, but it's RARE.)
63) No Leprechaun Traps. Whoever thought those things up is the devil.
64) No freaking Elf on the Shelf. Why are people creating these things? And then why do people go crazy making them do things, so that kids go home and complain that their Elf is lame, and then you have to step up your Elf game? I am so glad to miss out on this phenomenon. I just like putting seasonal hats on my octopus pillow for my own amusement.
65) No pretending to be the Tooth Fairy, or forgetting about being the Tooth Fairy and then making up a story about why the Tooth Fairy forgot or couldn't get to the pillow in time.
66) No having to be careful when talking about Santa, or the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy
67) No being accused of being a dirty rotten liar when the truth is found out about all those creatures above
68) No worrying about getting an adult child out of the house and into their own living situation
69) The ability to afford fancy dinners out whenever, or last minute weekend getaways
70) The ability to accept last minute invitations or opportunities to do really cool stuff (like going to an OSCAR GALA next weekend!) because we don't have to juggle childcare
71) Being able to be sick without also having to take care of a tiny sick person, being able to wallow in sickness
72) Being able to wallow, period, without someone truly being dependent on you (I mean, there's Bryce, but he can make himself dinner if need be without supervision)
73) No one will walk in on me on the toilet in my own home
74) No one will walk in on me in the shower in my own home
75) No hosting sleepovers, ever
76) No crazy 21st century kids' birthday parties (even if I wasn't going to buy in to the craziness, they'd have to go to one eventually, and then THEY'D KNOW that's possibly an option, ugh)
77) No play dates where the parents are easily 15 years younger than me
78) No being mistaken for our child's grandparents when they're 12 and up
79) No having to go to waterparks or local amusement parks or spray parks
80) No house full of toys people (who obviously hold a grudge against you) have given you that are battery operated and make lots of noise
81) No having to leave a restaurant because a small person is crying/tantrumming
82) No video game addiction in my house
83) No teenagers using SnapChat or whatever new instrument of poor decision making comes out next
84) No getting covered in mashed sweet potatoes or peas or beets at mealtimes
85) No paying for college while also figuring out retirement
86) When I can retire is not pushed back by maternity leaves
87) I have accumulated more seniority as a teacher because I never got to take maternity leaves
88) We are done with living in a terrible, neverending limbo
89) We can make plans for a year from now without worrying about what if (profiles, treatments, clinic calendars)
90) I can go for a walk without my phone. I AM FREE OF MY PHONE TETHER.

That's a pretty good list, no? I'm sure there's more. For a lot of the things on this list there's a sad flip side, but for a bunch of them it's just straight up positive. Like Disney. And that demon Elf on the Shelf.

It feels good to make a list like this. It's definitely specific to our circumstance, and makes me feel very fortunate for our flexibilities and financial situation. I think there's so much value to making this list, though -- it reminds me of all the good things I still have, of all the opportunities that lie before us, despite being denied the life experience we most wanted.

It's a great life. It's going to be such an adventure.


  1. Is it ok that this list totally makes me laugh? would have been great parents. But how nice to be adult all the time, too!

    1. Absolutely! Laugh away. :) I do have that bittersweet feeling that we would have done a damn good job parenting, but that's not the way this cookie crumbled. So yeah, woooo to adult things pretty much whenever! :) We lost so much, but this list helps ease that. There are some serious silver linings here!

  2. Yes! I love your list!! I hope it's okay if I comment on the ones that especially resonate with me, which might make for a slightly lengthy comment...

    #2- I always joke about this with my husband. When we are out I'll often say something like, "Well we better get home. We don't want to keep the babysitter waiting!" It entertains me.
    #9, 10 and others- Money stresses me out. I don't have much savings to begin with so the idea of paying for daycare, a car (maybe?), college/trade school... =automatic stress
    #13- yes!! I won't have to be around other parents that suck.
    #37- love this one
    #63- I had to look this one up. I like crafts but that is ridiculous.
    #64- hate this crap. I don't want a narc in my house.
    #77- I only recently realized how I can easily be 15 years older than other parents hahaha.

    And for myself:
    *Since my husband and I are moving out of state, we won't have to consider school districts or the quality of schools when we move.
    *I will never have to wait in an after school carpool line!!!

    Your ending is the best: "It's a great life. It's going to be such an adventure."

    1. Ha! Yes, having loads of friends with school age children, and a Pinterest feed that seems to think I also have children, that stupid Leprechaun Trap shows up a surprising amount. And yeah, #37 is one of my favorites, too.

      Oh, the real estate ones -- so many things wide open now! You're so right about the school district thing. If we were to move we have so many more options available that we may not have considered before because of possible children. And OH YES to the carpool line! Oh man! Those are terrible.

      Here's to your adventure, too!

  3. Replies
    1. Totally not my intent, but it was totally eye opening to see all the things I could come up that were positive on something that made(makes) me so desperately sad, maybe less this year than last. I bet there's some things on here that could totally happen even if you have kids! :)

  4. This is an awesome list. And I am way with you on things like Disney and Elf on a shelf. I hadn’t ever heard of the damn elf until my oldest kids were older so we escaped that nonsense, oh man I just can’t with the elf. And Disney sounds like a nightmare I won’t be living, too.
    Lol to the poor-decision-making tool description of snap chat. As of kids need help making poor decisions....adults, too for that matter.
    I am glad to see your humor come through in your list...and I am very, very jealous of the sleeping in one. I can’t wven convey how much.
    You and Bryce are so very lucky despite everything else.

    1. Thanks! It was fun to come up with stuff, and I think we'll probably have a list 2.0. I'm glad that we're not alone in the whole stupid elf thing, and Disney not really being the "Happiest Place on Earth" for everyone. :) I love that -- we ARE totally lucky despite everything else. That everything else felt so insurmountable close to this time last year, but now I can see more of the benefits and plus sides (along with the gut wrenching moments). I do love my sleep, and today was real difficult getting to school at 7:00 after a week of sleeping in!

  5. "Leprechaun Trap"?? I don't think I want to know... That said, I love your list! :) And I love your last lines too!