Parenting may not be for everyone - and that's OK

The pandemic has had profound impacts on pregnancy and birth rates, as well as birth outcomes, and the long-term consequences could ripple through economies, education systems and more.

This past Friday I became an uncle to a niece. I already have two nephews, so a girl is a nice change of pace. Seeing her today as I write this on a Sunday puts me in a contemplative mood.

I’ve been an uncle for seven years now, and this has undoubtable effected how I view parenting, family and children in general. Now that all might sound bad or at least ominous, but just stick with me. 

I love my nephews, and I already love my niece, but having a nice sneak peek into what looking after a kid looks like, I prefer being an uncle.

Barring the actual personality of my nephew, he takes up a lot of the time of my sister. It’s hard to articulate beyond saying having a kid is a job 24/7. Some people obviously understand this and actually look forward to it.

Eventually, however, we leave college with the goal of having a life. That life can be whatever you want it to be. It’s a nebulous thing, no two graduates will have the same goals. For some of us, that might involve starting a family.

Having been raised in the Midwest, I was always under the assumption that I would find a wife and get some kids the traditional way. That is what I thought my future looked like up until I came to college.

For me it was just a conversation between two friends talking about living without kids. It was groundbreaking. I bring this up because I want to be that conversation for someone who might need it.

If you want kids, that is completely fine. It’s a big commitment: financially, emotionally, physically and mentally, just think it through.

Now for everyone else who might need to understand why not having a kid is okay here you go.

You do not owe your parents grandchildren. If you told me that four years ago, I probably would’ve combusted.

Never feel guilty for doing what’s best for you within reason. One of those reasons is not feeling comfortable providing for another human being for the rest of your life.

As a psychology major, I can attest that it’s better for everyone’s mental health if you do what’s best for you, and not anyone else.

Also, not having a kid can shore up your financial situation. Making money in a career and setting it aside for your retirement is important for your future, which is arguably the most important one.

Sounds selfish, but in the United States we make money to spend it on what we want. If that’s yourself, you are completely within what you are entitled to.

Having a kid to save a marriage is also not the most recommended plan. I said earlier that having a kid is a massive commitment to just about every facet of your life. It should follow that any marital problems present before a kid will only get worse after a kid is introduced while also creating more.

Some of you might be worried about not providing for the next generation by providing a kid. There are dozens of ways to provide for the future of our society beyond having a kid.

Teaching the next generation is just as important as just having children. Teaching is not limited to inside the classroom. Being a role model is possible in any discipline. If you have a family with kids, provide them with your insights. Be a mentor.

This doesn’t even cover the fact that fostering is just as viable and helps some of the most desperate in our communities. The foster and adoption system is always in need of individuals who are willingly to help.

Hopefully I have given a fresh perspective to what is possible beyond what is expected. It’s a large world out there, do what you feel is best is all I can say.