This week, I had the opportunity to chat with Lilli, a fellow childfree woman and blogger. On her site, The American Spinster, Lilli tackles childfree-friendly topics like “Why Having Kids is Not a Retirement Plan” and “Top 10 Reasons NOT to Have A Baby.” Lilli also directs her attention to a demographic so often ignored in our society: single women and, more specifically, single women who do not wish to get married nor have children. I could write about the content on Lilli’s site for hours but I thought you guys might enjoy hearing from her. So, without further ado, here is The Revelation of Singleness: An Interview with Lilli of The American Spinster:
What was your motivation for starting The American Spinster and when did your site launch?
I launched the site in December of 2014. At that time, I’d been in a serious relationship for a few years with a man who wasn’t interested in living together or having kids. This caused me to re-examine a lot of assumptions I had about relationships, marriage, and children. After some soul-searching and a lot of critical thinking, I came to two clear realizations. The first was that I really liked living alone. And the second was that – if I was deeply honest with myself – I didn’t want kids either.
Those two tidbits of self-awareness changed my life. Rather than feel like I needed to get married and have kids anyway because it was ‘the right thing to do,’ I felt enlivened. I realized my life was mine to do with what I wanted. It was such a revelation that I wanted to share it with every woman who was wasting time lamenting her singleness. So I started The American Spinster to spread the word.
Why do you feel being single and childfree is the best decision for you personally?
So many generations of women have set their own personal development aside for the needs of their children. And that’s noble. And if one already has children, that’s the ethical decision. For myself, however, I know that I can contribute more as a childfree woman than I ever could as a mother.
As to being single, I’m currently in a long-term, living-apart-together relationship. I consider that single, because although we’re monogamous, we aren’t married, sharing a household, or filling out the U.S. census as a couple. I’m a very introverted person and work best alone. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love spending time with my S/O. It just means that at the end of the day, I love coming home to solitude.
What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding about single women?
A lot of folks seem to assume that single women (especially past the age of 25) are flighty and childlike. I see this in the way I’m treated at work, and I know other single women (and men) who say the same thing. It’s as though if you haven’t gotten married, or at least shacked up, you’re not a true grown up. It’s a bit odd to me that an 18-year-old living at home with her parents, husband, and baby is often treated as more mature and “settled” than I am living on my own and taking care of myself.
What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding about childfree women?
That we’re selfish. Far too many people believe it’s selfish to forgo having children to focus on your own self-improvement. To me, adding a new child to an over-populated world because you want the experience of being pregnant is a much more selfish choice.
If you could give the rinky-DINK life readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
No matter how many times you hear it, don’t fall for the whole, “You’ll never know real love unless you have a child” spiel.
How can the rinky-DINK life readers stay in touch with you?
Additional thoughts from Lilli:
I think Millennials especially get a bad rap lately for staying single longer and having fewer kids than previous generations. But I genuinely believe that this generation’s focus on developing themselves and contributing to the world directly, rather than passing the buck to their children, is a very positive trend. Childfree people are statistically happier than parents, and single people – again, by the numbers – are more generous with their time and money than married people. This is a social step in the right direction, and I hope we can keep it going.
I hope so too, Lilli!
Lilli is the creator of The American Spinster, a blog dedicated to the single and childfree lifestyle. She is also the author of the upcoming nonfiction book Radical Spinsterhood.
What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding about single, childfree women? Comment below!