Support Marketplace

A richer life with no kids

Adriene Hill: Now economics do seem to matter when it comes to having kids in a big way.The number of babies born in the U.S. has fallen since the 2008 financial crisis.

Commentator Joe McManus explains how going kid-free has made life richer.


Joe McManus: Having kids just never made sense to me. Think of the responsibility, the time required, the sheer expensive. Having kids would mean giving up the life I've known. I really like my life, so why would I trade it in?

My life hasn't been perfect. I did feel that ever present pang of emptiness, which is, I think the real reason most people would choose to have kids. It's just that I was drawn to fill that void with a mate. You know, a partner.

Sure, children are supposed to love you in spite of your flaws. And I know there are no guarantees in the dating scene or marriage. But children are not really partners. They're more like cherished subordinates.

When I met Lara 12 years ago, my search was over. If she'd wanted kids I might have agreed, just to keep her. But luckily for me, she's adamantly against it and so I get all her affection.

I'll be 50 in a couple of years, and so far, no regrets. We have family and friends all over the world and our lives are the richer for being able to travel whenever we want. Last year, Lara and I drove around the world on a whim. This year, it's summer in London, a Trans-Sahara expedition and an archaeological dig in southern Egypt -- just for fun. Ironically, we tend to spend most of our time visiting family and friends who have kids, and now, seldom get out.

It has always seemed to me that raising children is like having an extra full-time job; the reward for which is, a much delayed retirement. You may call me selfish for not having children, and in all truth, I couldn't disagree.


Adriene Hill: Joe McManus is a small business owner in Los Angeles.

About the author

Joe McManus is a small business owner in Los Angeles.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...