Complaints by women without children about unsolicited comments or prying questions received from friends, family and even brand-new acquaintances are generally quite similar. Whether life without kids was a conscious decision or the result of unplanned events, many of us have a heard a variation of these examples:
“Are you infertile, or was he?”
“You’re going to regret that choice later on.”
“When you change your mind, it’ll be too late.”
“But, you would have such pretty kids!”
“Who will take care of you when you’re old?”
I recently met a 40-year-old unmarried woman who shared a response I hadn’t heard before: “What do you do with all that time on your hands?”
Wow. Although the question is basically absurd, implying that solitary boredom is the only option to diapers, science projects, dancing classes and soccer games, there’s an interesting thought behind it. With “all that time” to concentrate on one’s own desires and dreams, what are we doing with it?
I’ve been self-employed since I was 45, and though there were some good years, I’ve never replicated my highest salary as someone else’s employee. If I’d had children to clothe, feed and entertain, and college to save for, I doubt I’d have ever quit my job, and certainly not at the point that I did. I’ve come to believe that while I didn’t choose to live child-free, the freedom I enjoy is a gift, not a punishment.
The opportunities NotMoms have to direct how they spend their time, and money, are varied and essentially unlimited, from volunteering and caregiving to cooking classes and needlepoint, We don’t have to be “selfish” in our focus on “self”.
So, tell us: What are you doing with all that time on your hands?