When Being Childfree is Boring

When I was younger I was very focused on building my career so I could have the life I wanted. I didn’t know if I would ever get married and I knew I did not want children. So, I focused on my career and my education. I never pictured my future with children. However, I also never pictured what my choice to be childfree would mean for my friendships, our time together, and our conversations.
A lot of my friends with kids do not live close by, so when they had babies I didn’t notice them drop out of my life like I’ve heard other people describe. Instead, I noticed feeling like an outsider during conversations almost immediately. From diapers to preschools to summer camp, our conversations since children came along almost always come back to a child related topic.
How many times a day is he eating? Have you gone down to just one nap with her yet? What size is she wearing now? Should I sign him up for this camp? or this camp? or this camp? All important conversations to have when you’re a parent. When you’re not a parent, well, sometimes I feel like I’m a kid again, waiting impatiently for the grown-ups to stop talking so we can go.
A few of my girlfriends and I try to get together every year for a weekend. For years our reunion weekends involved at least one baby who was nursing, which meant all activities and time away from the baby had to be strictly choreographed to get home before it was time to nurse again. We all piled into one car, usually with 2 people squeezed in the backseat along with a car seat. (Apparently when you put a car seat in your car it has a cement foundation so it’s nearly impossible to remove.)
Often our outings involved going to local outlet stores to shop. We would inevitably end up in multiple children’s clothing stores, my friends marveling at the great deals. I would look through the racks for a few minutes, then wander outside, waiting patiently on the benches, staring at my phone or the ground. I don’t begrudge my friends for having kids and I certainly wouldn’t trade our weekends for anything, yet sometimes I can’t help but feel left out by conversations I can’t contribute to.
As we’ve gotten older, and babies have grown into school age children, as a childfree woman I feel a sense of loss. I’ve lost some friendships because raising kids is a full-time job and there is no room for me. I’ve lost interest in spending time with other friends because I can’t relate to their life that is completely child focused. I’ve lost a sense of community because my friends find their community in other places, with other parents.
On the other hand, with great loss comes great joy. When I hold my friend’s babies or spend time with their kids, it’s a pretty special feeling. I see my friends in their facial expressions and personalities. Watching them grow up is a privilege and a reminder of how quickly life goes. I love my friends and I love their kids. Sometimes that means feeling loss and sometimes that means feeling joy. And sometimes that means zoning out just a little bit when the conversation turns to all things child.
I have the life I wanted and worked hard for and my decision not to have kids is affirmed every day in one way or another. If you have kids, I hope your decision to become a parent is also affirmed every day too, well, most days anyway. I’m sure there have been a few days when you had no sleep, your hair was filled with cheerios, and your kids wouldn’t stop fighting that you rethought the whole parenting gig. Now, excuse me as I get another cup of coffee while you discuss whether you should get the 5T or stick with the 4T for one more year.



  1. Erinn on July 5, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Wow this is such a personal post…thank you for sharing this about your life! There was a time in my life where I said no children, no way. I’ve changed my mind since then, but I do not think I am ready for children quite yet. Soon, but not yet. It’s definitely a huge decision and it’s something that is different for everyone.

    • Courtney A. Casto on July 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks Erinn! I was trying to balance humor, honesty, and grace in this post. It’s tough sometimes! I’ve known my whole life that I didn’t want kids. Most of my friends and family have kids so I’m definitely the minority.

  2. Childfree is Not a Dirty Word on July 7, 2017 at 12:19 am

    I felt like this for the first couple years after each of my friends had kids but it seems once the children are past the toddler stage you get some of their ‘adult’ time back. Have you tried finding activities that they may be interested in doing with you. I love races and obstacle courses etc., and I have one momma friend that does those with me. I have another momma friend who does trips with me now that her children are of the age that they can stay home. I also have a few friends without kids as well who I do normal everyday things with. Great post, I enjoyed reading it!

    • Courtney A. Casto on August 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for your comment! I somehow missed it until now! Adult time does seem to get more plentiful as the kids age, that’s for sure. You make some great suggestions, I really appreciate your input!

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