Five Realistic Ways to Overcome Regret

It has been scientifically proven that we are more likely to regret the things we didn’t do as opposed to regretting the things we did do. However, many would agree that they would rather regret not having children than feel remorse over having them. More and more parents are coming forward and admitting having kids was a mistake. Last week, I interviewed a woman who told me she will always love her children but would much rather live without that bond than live with the regret she feels.

It is only human to both feel regret and hate regret. But, regret in itself can be useful. This emotion helps us to gain insight and understanding. It also helps us hone our future decision-making skills. Rumination, however, is never useful.

So just how can we overcome regret, even over major life-changing decisions? Follow these five simple ways:

Continue Reading

“I Would Give Anything to Not Be Their Mom”: An Interview About Parental Regret

“You’re going to regret not having children.”

Whether this statement is given as a warning or uttered out of ignorance, if you’re childfree, you’ve probably heard this before. In retaliation to parents’ bluntness, some childfree people have been know to reply, “Well, do you regret having children?” This question is, of course, meant to be a conversation stopper. Little did we know though, some actually do regret having children.

Recently, we are seeing more and more brave individuals stepping forward and admitting that having kids isn’t all they thought it would be. The Guardian published an article last month featuring parents who regret having children. One of whom is Victoria Elder. After giving birth to her baby girl, her immediate instinct came by way of this thought:

“‘Oh, no. What have I done? This was a huge mistake.’”

When Colin and I were trying to determine whether or not to have children, regret is a topic that came up often. Our society as a whole seems to be regret-centric.

“…regret in cultures such as the U.S., where individuals have more choice over their life’s course, versus in cultures with arranged marriages, where family have much more control over life choices…regret is much more commonly experienced and reported…”

-Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D of The Psychology of Regret

I suppose it is not unusual, then, that I can quickly call to mind several of my regrets. From eating something unhealthy for dinner last week, to snapping at my boss a year ago, to the purchase of our fixer upper home some eight years ago, I’ve certainly felt my fair share of discomfort from poor life choices- both big and small.

Even though I am no stranger to this feeling, when I think of Elder’s experience of looking into the small eyes of her brand new and totally dependent human and seeing a giant mistake staring back at her, I can’t help but think her feelings are stronger than regret. When reading her story, I myself was overcome with an overwhelming sense of sadness. A sadness that gives way to empathy and helplessness. A sadness that makes me want to travel back in time to wrap my arms around both mother and child and replace remorse with assurance instead.

Shortly after the article on the guardian.com was published, a woman came forward saying she would give anything to not be her children’s mother. She was kind enough to speak with me and gave me permission to publish her words anonymously. Here is our conversation:

Continue Reading

How To Be Bold for Change and Stop Shaming

In just two short days International Women’s Day will be upon us. When I observed the campaign theme for this year, #BeBoldForChange, I started wondering. Just what does it mean to be bold?

We live in a world teeming with of sexism and bigotry, yes, but we also live in a time and place where these prejudices are being combated. From celebrities to Joe Schmoes, everyone is speaking their minds.

A few weekends ago my husband and I watched a comedy special on Netflix in which the male comedian joked about the bravery of plus-sized women. He mentioned how some of these overweight models and actresses pose for the covers of magazines and after doing so, people attribute them with bravery. He claimed using the term “brave” for these women was an overreach, though. He goes on to say,

I know you’re not supposed to make fun of fat people. I don’t know why though.

A quick Google search could have quelled his uncertainty. In fact, if you type in “why you shouldn’t make fun of people”, page after page of results will load with the reasons why you shouldn’t tease not only overweight people, but people with autism, acne, people who dance for a living, it even brought up an article about not making fun of people who make fun of you. So really, if you took the word “fat” out of this comedian’s sentence, it could stand on it’s own.

Continue Reading

My Top Four Replies to “When are you having kids?”

by: Colin Brolley

So, when are you having kids?

There are very few questions that make me more uncomfortable than this one and I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. It’s not a matter of being insecure in the decision my wife and I have made to remain childfree that makes me feel awkward. Rather, it’s the nonchalant responses to my answer(s), which usually consist of brushing off our decision as immaturity or trying to delay the inevitable.

“That’s what you say NOW”

“You’ll find out”

“Yeah, wait until your wife decides she wants one”

And the list goes on and on and on. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before.

These replies are usually coming from co-workers and general acquaintances – people who don’t even know me very well. Frankly, there are times when I just don’t feel like getting into it with these people. So, I’ve come up with a new game- a game in which I volley the awkwardness back to the boundary-invader before the conversation has a chance to devolve into dismissive clichés.

Continue Reading

The Struggle to Sterilization: An Interview with Childfree Woman of 2016

 

Childfree Woman of 2016, Crystal Money

There has been a lot of buzz lately about women’s reproductive rights. After reading the many stories of women speaking out about their method of choice for birth control, I was even inspired to share mine. I also felt encouraged to get in touch Crystal Money, 2016 Childfree Woman of the Year. Although Crystal was not nominated for the way in which she remains childfree, her tubal ligation has certainly sparked interest. In fact, Crystal will be giving a TedX talk next month about her recent sterilization surgery. Prepare to be emboldened as we hear from Mrs. Money herself:

In your interview with Laura Carroll, you mentioned trying a variety of birth control methods at the insistence of your doctors but were unsatisfied with the side effects. Which contraceptives did you try before ultimately choosing a tubal ligation? Can you elaborate on the side effects?

I honestly don’t remember the names of all of the pills I tried, but I can say that I tried a variety of pills over the course of several years, and the worst side effects were frequent night terrors and night sweats. The shot option made me bleed non-stop for four months. Then the last option I tried at the insistence of doctors was an IUD. With the IUD I felt a constant depression and as if I was always being jabbed from the inside. While these side effects aren’t detrimental, I just didn’t see a reason to have any of them when I knew that I never wanted children. For the past 5 years I have known for certain that I wanted a tubal ligation, and the only thing standing in my way were all of these alternatives that the doctors were actually willy to prescribe.

Continue Reading

The Nonprocreating Presidents of the United States of America

But who will carry on your legacy?

This is one example of a bingo, or common phrase one may hear when they tell others they do not want children. I don’t hear this one very often but when I do, I can’t help but chuckle. It’s hard to formulate a proper response.

I think to myself, It will be no great tragedy if my lineage ends with me. But if I say that aloud, I may sound self-loathing or perhaps a bit antinatalistic. It’s just that when I contemplate legacies being carried on through generations, I don’t think of myself, I think of kings and queens and even prime ministers and presidents. I wonder if George Washington himself was bingoed when he didn’t carry on his legacy.

History has shown us time and time again that if a person’s legacy is truly of importance, it will live on through his or her own name.

This is true of the following childless presidents of the United States:

Continue Reading

Childfree Date Nights – Separating Myth from Truth

Sometimes I get a little sick of dinner-and-a-movie dates. And when I do, I search the interwebs for new ideas.

One time in particular, I stumbled upon the article When You Don’t Have Kids, Every Night is Date Night written by Julia Pelly, a working mom/blogger.

Julia begins her post with “To my childless friends”.

A little background info: I try to keep an open mind in most situations. My goal is to listen to all sides of an argument. Even if I do not personally agree, I look to understand how others might. Even when I read articles addressing the childfree from the prospective of a parent, I do my very best to understand. I want to understand. I would say I’m fairly successful in doing so.

My mindset for this article was no different. After reading though, I did feel the need to separate fact from fiction regarding the childless and childfree. Here goes…

…the thing you might not realize, the thing I sure didn’t realize before I had my son, is that when you don’t have kids, your whole life is a date night.

-Julia Pelly

Is it, though?

Continue Reading

The Childfree Commuter’s Guide to Staying Sane

One of my least favorite things about working far from home is the seemingly never-ending traffic. It doesn’t matter if I hop on the highway at 2 in the afternoon or 6 in the evening, I seem to be destined to stare into seering tail lights.

I drive roughly 35 miles to and from my home four days a week for work. This equates to about eight hours of sitting on my rear, all alone, in my little tin can of a vehicle.

In the mornings, I sip coffee from a thermos and listen to a popular local radio show, Preston & Steve. To all you Philly and South Jersey dwellers, gadzooks!

My evening commute is quite different. As I’m sure you can relate, I can’t stand traffic. I’m not an angry person by default but stick me on a road with nowhere to go and no change of scenery, and I’m the very definition of road rage. Or at least I was.

I’m not sure when it hit me but I eventually began to realize that, aside from changing jobs, I couldn’t do much about my situation. I could either sit and sulk from the driver’s seat or I could use my time constructively. Either way, the time would pass. How painfully it would pass, however, was up to me.

Here is my commuter’s guide to staying sane:

Continue Reading

Childfree by Choice: A Generational Gap

If you’re of child-rearing age, many people of the older generation expect you to have children to protect the family’s legacy.  Hearing that you do not intend to produce offspring and fill the imaginary ancestral throne with little heirs and heiresses is often met with accusations of selfishness. After all, their generation had kids so if we just prioritize like they did, we should too.

Settle down, buy a house, it’s never the right time to have kids, these things have a way of working out…

There’s no substitute for experience, and older people obviously have that in spades.  The fact of the matter is that it’s almost always a good idea to seek advice from our elders. Almost. There is a generational gap at play that just may skew their outlook.

Making a Living is Hard(er Than They Might Think)

A recent study based on US Federal Reserve data indicates that millennials have a median household income of some 20% less (after adjustment for inflation) than their baby boomer parents did at the same stage of life. This is despite the younger generation being better educated and more likely to be in a dual income household.  Their net worth is about half that of Boomers, home ownership is lower, and student debt is drastically higher.  With so much financial insecurity, it should come as no surprise that the interest in having offspring has seen a downturn.

Continue Reading

3 Reasons Your Super Bowl Party Sucks and What to Do Instead

Football reigns in our home during the cold months. My husband Colin is a devout New York Giants fan making me, the occasional viewer, a Giants fan by marriage.

After we had been married for some years, I decided I should at least learn the basics of the game. Maybe then I would understand the hype.

Equipped with YouTube and some hand drawn charts, Colin taught me all I’d need to know to get by. After that, I diligently watched the Giants games with him.

After their fourth Super Bowl win, and the first I truly cared about, I decided it was time for me to retire. I ended on a high note, not unlike Michael Strahan circa 2007. I recognized football as infinitely more important to my husband than it was to me and I went back to my days of writing, reading, and just overall relaxing (see also: napping).

To this day we both love our autumn to winter Sundays though we observe them differently. We also both look to the end of football season with the same sense of dread. Soon our fantastic Sundays will come to an end, but not before THE PARTY – the abominable Super Bowl party… Oh, you don’t dread it? Well, you might after reading this.

Sorry in advance, xoxo.

Continue Reading