I'm 29, and I’m square in the middle of that phase in life when everyone's talking about weddings and babies. However, I’m neither married nor a mother. I love it when my friends create new lives or celebrate their love for their children through birthday parties and other events. But I myself have no plans for either marriage or children.
While I’m open to the idea of marrying someday, children are a definite no-go for me. Unfortunately, that’s still quite a controversial statement for a young woman to make. People ask me if it's because I hate children. (That’s so insulting.) Or maybe it’s because I’m selfish. (How is it selfish?) Or perhaps I’ll change my mind when I’m a little older. (Thanks for implying that I don’t know myself already.)
Why I Don't Want to Have Children
It's not because I hate children. Rather, it's because I never deeply wanted them, and I firmly believe that each child should be wanted.
We shouldn’t become parents out of a sense of duty or because we feel that we should uphold traditions.
I won’t change my mind. I’ve never felt drawn to the idea of having children. The fact that I don’t have a strong maternal drive doesn’t make me less of a woman. Nor does it make me a bad person. It simply makes me someone who doesn’t want children.
It’s not because I’m selfish. If anything, it’s because I’m all too aware of how little I have in time and resources to give a child. I’m a freelancer who rents an apartment, who still has a part-time side hustle that dominates my weekends, and who is trying to build a business.
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The Cost of Bringing Up a Child
It costs $233,610 to raise a child, with a breakdown of between $12,350 and $14,000 a year spent on child costs per year a 2017 survey reports.
You can use online calculators on sites like BabyCenter to estimate how much it will cost to raise a child. You select your region and write down your income, the age of your child, and whether or not you’ll pay for your child’s college.
BabyCenter's calculator even breaks down the costs into a pie chart so that you can see where you’ll spend the most money. The chart shows estimates on food, housing, health care, transportation, and more.
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I plugged in my information: I make less than $60,000 a year, live in the southeastern part of the U.S., and would care for a child as a single parent. The calculator estimated that I would spend $172,200 to raise one child. That was a mind-boggling number for me. It confirmed that a child would waylay my financial future.
The Expenses Would be a Financial Disaster
Let’s talk a little about the financial realities of being a freelancer. I make enough money to pay my bills and tuck a little away into savings each month. I’m not broke. However, I have to pay my own taxes, save for my own retirement, and pay for my own health care. I love what I do — I want to do it for a long time. A child would throw all of that off balance.
I started investing three years ago. While I’m proud of what I’ve tucked away, it’s not enough to live on now or in the future, even with years of compound interest. Investing needs to be a priority for me so that I can grow my finances and improve my financial stability.
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I also currently live in a two-bedroom apartment. My second bedroom serves as my office. I could outfit it as a baby’s room, but that would take time and money — both of which are in high demand in my household.
Seeing as I’m still focused on building financial security, I can’t even begin to imagine how I would afford a child — much less how I’d secure the kid’s financial future. I’m simply not in a position to save for my retirement, a down payment on a house, and my child’s needs while also paying my monthly bills on-time.
The truth of the matter is, having a child would derail my financial life. I’d have to go into debt in order to afford a kid. And I certainly wouldn’t be able to create any savings for her. No college savings, no bonds, no investments in her name. We’d live paycheck-to-paycheck for her entire life.
The Bottom Line
Combining the expenses of having a baby with the fact that I don’t feel “called” to be a mother, I see myself staying child-free for the rest of my life.
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Don’t get me wrong — I want nothing more than for all those other cool, smart people I know to have kids if they want to. I believe children are a blessing. I just also believe that they’re one blessing that isn't meant for me.