What my life would be like if I’d never had kids

If I’d never had kids, I’d have traveled the world by now. I’d have a career that included frequent dinners at my desk and a steady supply of validation. I’d use the express lane through airport security and only have to buy one grande skinny soy latte and zero strawberry-banana smoothies with whipped cream when I visited Starbucks. The total would come to $3.75 instead of $18.50 and I would I wouldn’t spill it everywhere, either. I’d care about my clothes and linger over breakfast and read the paper all the way through.

I’d buy long, silk scarves and finally a decent pair of leather gloves and when I walked, my heels would click along the sidewalks outside hip, urban cafes. I’d have a skin care routine and hair stylist. The interior of my car would be free of juice and mud stains and possibly smell like vanilla.

If I’d never had kids, my house would be clean. It would be small but welcoming, with throw pillows and expensive upholstered love seats facing a fireplace that’s mostly for show; it’d probably be a bungalow in a burgeoning artist community or historic district with gas lamps and cobblestone streets.

If I’d never had kids, I’d lose myself in a book whenever I wanted. I’d pick every restaurant and belong to a gym I’d actually use. I’d make holidays all about myself, or about nothing at all. Christmas would be about someone else’s children and artwork would be on my walls, not my fridge.

Vacations would be for sunbathing and sleeping in past six. School schedules would mean nothing to me, and summer would be just another season. I’d make plenty of money and then wonder what to do with it. I’d take the time to figure out what my 401K actually does and  probably buy things that make my parent friends roll their eyes and say, ‘Must be nice.’

I’d frown at crying children in restaurants, then watch their mothers soothe them or distract them or whisk them away and wonder, ‘How do they know how to do that?’ I’d probably assume childbirth is the most painful thing women can experience.

If I’d never had kids, I’d assume there’s some big secret to raising them. I’d probably–depending on my mood–tell myself things like, ‘it’s not for me,’ or ‘you couldn’t pay me enough,’ or ‘when the time is right’. I’d never guess that there’s no such thing.

And if I kept waiting, and kept waiting, I’d never…actually…get it:

what this is all about.

What we’re doing here.

What comes next.


Mama’s Losin’ It


25 thoughts on “What my life would be like if I’d never had kids

  1. There for a while, life without kids sounds like such a wonderful and enjoyable thing, then you stop for a moment and realize all the wonderful things you would be missing out on.

    I would have travelled the world as well, btw. Here from Mama Kat’s. I love the simplicity of your blog design.

  2. If I never had kids. Wow. What an essay to write. I think, maybe, a whole book could come of it. I also think many of my imaginings are the same as mine, right down to the throw pillows and the urban streets–click, click, click with the heels.

    But then we never would have known: what we were capable of, what love really means, how far we can stretch, how much the world alternately takes from us and gives to us.

    I love this, Amy. Love your words every time I read them.

    • Thank you, Sarah. I love this insight of yours: ‘how much the world alternatively takes from us and give to us’. So true.

    • It does….I know! But then I find that after just a few days away from them, my heart is hurting. Damn them, they’ve completely won me over. 🙂

    • I think we all think it’s easier on the other side…whichever side that may be. There’s something about the orderliness of a child-free life that both attracts me (the neat freak) and repels me…as you said, it’d be too empty.

  3. I liked what you did with this post! Interestingly enough, my husband and I were planning a trip to England in March and I got pregnant in December. We just didn’t feel comfortable taking a trip like that, first-time parents and all.

    Even more interesting, my parents were planning a European tour when my mother got pregnant with me. I guess the curse continues.

  4. As I read the picture you painted I felt a pang of envy for that life. But it was just a pang, and fleeting. Because if I’d never have kids, my bed would be quiet and lonely and my house would have so few laughs. Also, I would never have bought cute kid clothes. 🙂

  5. Amy, I love this post! I was there with you all the way. I would have all similiar experiences and I think our current experiences the same – little to no make up (depending on the circumstances), no high heels, dirty cars and houses, everything more expensive, spending more on myself (what a concept)…. but I would not trade any of it. They are leaving with Dave to go on the river for three days with grandma and grandpa and even though I know they are going to have fun I feel like a large part of me is going to be missing and I will fret and worry until they get back because no one can keep them as safe as I can (I love how I delude myself into believing that is true).

  6. Ah, I went along with you, though I never had a very lucrative job and I prefer flats and no make up (even before kids). It sounds like a grand life, but I am so grateful for my girls who push and stretch and demand that I change daily. I love, especially, the part about thinking childbirth is the most painful thing a woman goes through.

  7. What a perfectly delightful piece of writing. Your thoughts here mirror my own, at times, especially when I get the $18.50 charge at Starbucks and I look at the state of my car. Thanks for this post! It’s beautiful.

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