Have you seen the new Time Magazine issue titled “A Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children.” This whole mindset makes me weak at the knees. I am the youngest Smarty Mom and a member of the millennial generation, which unfortunately is known for being a bit self-centered. Despite my natural millennial instincts, I decided to sacrifice a bit (ok, a LOT) of my own comfort to become a Mom at a very young age (23). I was taught to shoot for the career of my dreams – and I did! But even with a blossoming career in front of me I just couldn’t help but feel like my life was missing something. Luckily, I was blessed with a sweet baby girl a year later (something I know many yearn for and are not blessed with). As a mom, I am completely happy. Yet, I can’t tell you how many questioning looks and doubts I have received as a young mother. According to Time, various studies show that women who are childfree are smarter, richer and often more fulfilled. I feel this mindset in the questions and the looks – it’s as if people assume I have given up my life in nurturing another life.
The article argues that women who choose not to have children are “judged” but I beg to argue the opposite. The norm is no longer to be Suzy Homemaker with a casserole in the oven and a baby on the hip. No, the new normal is to be career driven and childfree for as long as possible; to put parenthood on hold for jobs, vacations and, of course, to keep that flat stomach. According to one economist, having a child just set me back $1 million (as if the sleepless nights and saddlebags weren’t a big enough hit).
I will be the first to admit that motherhood isn’t all sunshine and roses. I’ve lost sleep, gained stretch marks and consider dinner at Chipotle luxury. As a stay-at-home Mom, I definitely have moments where I wonder “what if” I had continued my career. But then my sweet baby girl climbs on my lap gives me a big, open-mouthed sloppy kiss and I can’t help but feel rich in life. These are the moments I live for. Despite the luxuries of my previously childfree life, I wouldn’t trade it. Not even for $1 million.
Now in my “mid-twenties” the topic of when or if to have children seems to be floating among those in my graduating class. What I hope for my fellow “millennials,” whether they choose a life with or without children, is that they will experience the same joy that I have as a mother. Nothing, absolutely nothing, will compare to my first moment as a parent. Despite what the childfree studies show, my life is so incredibly full with a child.