Child-Free People Over 30 Are Sharing What Their Lives Are Like Without Kids, And It's A Mixed Bag

    "Most of my friends have kids, and while I love spending time with them, it's exhausting. I'm always glad to come back to my quiet, peaceful home, turn on a movie, and snuggle with my husband."

    We asked child-free members of the BuzzFeed Community to share what their lives are like without any kids, because choosing not to have children is (annoyingly) a pretty taboo topic. Here are just a few of their responses:

    1. "Being child-free means that I have the luxury to choose how to spend my time and money: Dinner with other child-free friends, vacations, throwing elaborate parties, but by no means does it mean that I have a stress-free life. I have a demanding job, aging parents, pets, and am constantly providing my social circle with tons of support during their health issues, relationship troubles, job problems, etc. I hate the notion that having no kids equates to having no responsibilities. That is unequivocally untrue."


    2. "I'm turning 40 in November, and my life is everything I want it to be. My husband and I are able to spend quality time with each other. He loves endurance activities and is able to go on 100-mile rides. I love yoga and can settle in for a two-hour yoga session whenever I want. We travel for a month together in the summer and can be spontaneous on the trip. On weekends, I sleep in and can decide what to do on a whim. My house and car are clean. Most of my friends have kids, and while I love spending time with them, it's exhausting. I'm always glad to come back to my quiet, peaceful home, turn on a movie, and snuggle with my husband."


    3. "It's a mixed bag. While I feel very comfortable and confident in my decision and the lifestyle I have, it gets very lonely as others around you start to have children and their lives transform. It's really important to find a community that has similar lifestyle values, and I think that will only become more and more necessary as I grow older."


    4. "I can live in places not fit for a family and not feel guilty. I only make choices for myself and support my other adult loved ones when they make theirs. I don’t have to worry about my decisions ruining another person. I can focus on my journey and healing my inner child. I come from generations of dysfunction, and I can stop the cycle at me."


    5. "I'm 51 and never wanted children. I have zero regrets. I'm looking at retiring around 56 or 57, debt free. My husband and I enjoy our dogs and our sleep! I always get the 'Who will take care of you when you're old?' line, but I can assure you it will be the same CNAs who are taking care of the people with children. I'll just have a nicer room in the nursing home."


    backside of a woman holding her child

    6. "I'm 43 with no kids. I do what I want when I want. If I feel like going away for a long weekend, I do. Most importantly, I’m still me. My life and identity are not defined or controlled by a small human who demands that I satisfy their every wants or they throw a tantrum."

    "I don’t find 99% of children’s activities or interests even remotely enjoyable. Why should I sacrifice my time, money, sleep, and freedom for a child that would only add stress and work to my life? Because society says I should? No way. I’ll let other people sacrifice to have kids while I spend my time how I like without worrying if a 3-year-old-is enjoying the activity of my choosing.


    7. "I'm chronically ill, and the idea of having a child relying on me when I'm having bad days is horrifying. I'd long made the choice to not have children before I got ill, but now I know 100% it was the right choice, a kid would suffer for my being their parent because I cannot give them 100% focus and attention."


    8. "I’m a 51-year-old woman who has never felt the desire to have children. I travel quite a lot, I have a wonderful dog, and I recently bought a house. Life is good. I actually like kids and will hang out with my friends who have kids, but I’m happy not to have any. There have been many many times in my life when I’ve thought, 'I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that,' while watching a kid have a meltdown or be difficult. I’ve never once thought, 'I wish I had that,' even when seeing sweet interactions. I like my independence and my freedom."


    9. "It’s a rollercoaster. I’m not able to have children and there are some days I think about how much money I am saving and how I can focus on other interests. But some days, like today, I’m I feel like my body hates me, and I wish I had a child to see smile every day. It also sucks when your friends with kids leave you out because you don’t have any (but, I guess that can be a plus). Pure rollercoaster."


    10. "I love kids, and I’d be a decent mom! But at 38, I’ve never had the desire to have a child. I prefer to prioritize the relationships I have, my career, and spontaneity. Call me selfish, and maybe I am. But I’m the only one who has to live this life."


    11. "My only problem with being child-free is having to justify it. I come from a Hispanic family where it’s super frowned upon to not have kids, ESPECIALLY when you’re married. They don’t care what the excuse is, they see it as selfish to be a full-grown adult in a serious relationship without kids, meanwhile the majority (if not all, let’s be real) are miserable with the kids they were also pressured to have back in the day. I’ve also seen way to many of them have to pick between paying for food or a roof over their family’s head and that’s just something I absolutely do not want to my 'child' to go through, because everything in the country seems to be getting way out of hand in terms of price."

    "They simply can’t guilt trip into that but it does get exhausting. Especially when any major milestone in life isn’t really worthy to celebrate in their eyes unless it’s a marriage and a baby announcement."


    close up of a child's hand wrapped around an adult's finger

    12. "I’m now 43, in a long-term relationship, happy, moneyed, and child-free. I thought I wanted kids, but when my friends started having their own families, instead of feeling envious, I was relieved when I didn’t have the problems and issues they were dealing with. It was further confirmed when early in my relationship, I thought I was pregnant, but instead of being happy, I was anxious and kinda freaked out. I was SO VERY relieved when my pregnancy that came out negative. My partner was supportive either way."


    13. "My family has a lot of mental illnesses (bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, etc.). Nearly everyone has diabetes, and my dad passed his connective tissue disorder to me. I decided not to have children so I couldn't potentially give all of that to someone who would have no say in what they inherited from me. It's not fair to play the genetics lottery with someone else's life. Sometimes I'm curious about what it would've been like to be a mom, but I feel I made the most responsible choice given my circumstances. No regrets."


    14. "At the age of 50, I realized being in a corporate job was crushing my soul. I was able to quit and take time to find what makes me happy. If I had kids, I wouldn’t have been able to leave a great paying job. I just have myself and pets to take care of. I’ve never regretted the decision not to have children."


    15. "Being child-free hasn't been much of a choice for me. I've been chronically ill my entire life, and it got really bad in my early twenties. I've had 10 surgeries and countless hospitalizations. I always wanted to be a mom, but my body is too weak to support a pregnancy and take care of a child. It's sad sometimes, but it's also a relief given the current state of the economy and the world in general. This doesn't feel like a good time to bring a human into the world."


    16. "This is going to seem like a bummer, but here it goes: My mom passed away unexpectedly a week ago. For years, I felt somewhat guilty that I never gave her grandkids, but she reassured me that all she wanted for me was to be happy. After losing her, I'm glad I never had kids, because even though losing a mom is inevitable, the pain of losing her absolutely sucks and if I had kids, I would never want them to go through this when I'm gone. So in the long run, I am glad I didn't have kids."


    woman pushing a stroller in the street

    17. "I have a lot of family with kids so I’ve never felt like I was missing out' on having my own. And contrary to popular belief, being child-free doesn’t mean I hate kids. I love kids, actually. I work with them 40 hours a week. But when they go home, I’m getting to do the things I want (concerts, traveling, vacations) without having to worry about a child to take care of. I do love kids, but there’s enough in the world already without me adding to it. Adoption and fostering will be there when and if I’m ready for kids someday. But for now, I’m enjoying the freedom too much."


    18. "I'm 35 and single. My house is paid off, I'm completely debt-free, and even though I'm now pursuing a passion job instead of a corporate one, I never have to worry about whether I can afford to do something, go somewhere, or buy whatever strikes my fancy (within reason, of course, I'm not out here buying cars and houses)."


    19. "I’m 38, and I’ll be fully retired by the time I’m 40. I live in a beach resort town in Mexico and own two properties. I have four cats and one dog (all rescues). No debt. I have wonderful friends and am happily single. What’s life like being childless? It's awesome, thank you very much."


    Do you have any thoughts on being child-free? Share them in the comments.

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.