I HATE that term. Child-less. As if one is lacking something of the child variety. Yet it’s also often used to describe those of us who are indeed, without child(ren) and, furthermore, are quite happy with it (shock….horror!).
In the midst of your twenties, it is perceived that there are two groups of people: The ones from your school days who are now engaged or married, breeding like rabbits and have secured their savings in a nice, high-interest ISA.
Then those who are no where near reproducing mini-mes, and glance anxiously at the new Facebook photos uploaded by their peers of little Jake or Sally’s first steps/birthday/drooling habits and wonder whether they should be ‘getting their life together.’ (I’m guilty of this myself sometimes when it comes to my nephew, but seriously, we are aware that your little munchkin looks adorable in her new Peppa Pig raincoat, we just don’t need to see 50 pictures of it in all its glory. Thanks.)
The fact is, having kids, and even having them young, is still a huge social pressure once one reaches peak child-bearing age.
But thankfully there are some of us who are able to resist the pressure and accept, and enjoy, our conscious decision not to have children right now, or at all in some cases. And guess what? That’s Okay.
So, to celebrate this, I compiled a list of a few things that make being 20-something and with(out) child just fabulous.
1. Your free time is your own. Really.
No interruptions (unless you have a very needy cat, which is much more easily contained than a small human).
No worrying about your little person’s stuffy cold and whether you should keep him home from school tomorrow so as not to spread the plague to the entire class.
Spending extra time with friends and loved-ones comes guilt-free. And since you don’t have to be on hand 24/7, your coffee shall always be hot.
2. When you clean your house, it stays clean.
For a few days, at least…You know exactly what I mean.
You tirelessly scrub the floor for the fourth time this week and some little tyke runs in and joyfully flings his cheerios all over your hard work. Nope.
3. Trips to the loo can be done in solitary bliss.
Now, this is very important. Toilet-ing alone, without risk of disturbance, is a basic human right.
It can be a time of relaxation, reflection or catching up on emails. The ONLY bathroom habits I should witness are my own.
4. Naps. Beautiful, restorative, undisturbed naps.
Need I say more?
5. It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy a glass of wine on your lunch hour.
Or when you get home. And sometimes a few more for good measure throughout the day. (No judgment, just don’t let your boss know.) Mmm…wine.
6. Day-time sex. (Or morning, mid-evening, all-day Sunday…)
The horrifying moment when little Jonathan bursts into the room and observes you mid-coitus. That is all.
7. Last minute adventures.
To the woods. Camping. France. Middle-Earth.
…without a decade of planning, organising school runs in preparation for your absence, ensuring the babysitter knows of so and so’s gluten-intolerance (which, let’s face it, ruins the fun of spontaneity). The world is your oyster.
Being able to enjoy a conversation with your partner/BFF/dog about the philosophical meanings of the universe (instead of half-price nappies at Tesco) without interruption.
9. Time and Self-growth.
This is the most important for me.
The extraordinary journey of emotional and spiritual development that I have experienced since leaving school would have been drastically hindered by the responsibility of my world revolving around another person.
Honestly, none of us know who we are at this age. We may think we are adults but there is so much to learn, explore and grow from.
This evolutionary freedom, for me, is a crucial necessity before I even think about raising a child.
Notice that only one of these points refers to alcohol.
There is a deep misconception that single 20-somethings are simply wading their way through a booze-fueled purgatory, awaiting the inevitable day where they can swap cans of Carlsberg for over-prices socks from Baby Gap.
People all-to-often either believe that the grass is greener, or else they maintain a smug sense of unnecessary superiority over their similar-aged counterparts.
Don’t get me wrong, children can be wonderful company. Being a parent can be incredibly rewarding and I adore the time spent with my nephew and younger siblings. But I am always relieved to hand them back. Because we are all on our own individual journeys, and that’s exactly what it’s all about…choice.
Now please excuse me while I retire to the privacy of my lavatory with a glass of red and a copy of Wuthering Heights….