Are parents envious of the childfree?

Many childfree individuals like myself get asked repeatedly when it is that we plan to have children. The pressure is even more pronounced for women, who society expects to kick into baby-making mode as soon as the so-called clock begins to tick.

What doesn't add up, though, is that many of the parents asking the question are the same ones who complain about the stress and headaches brought on by parenting. They're endorsing the very thing that's making them go haywire. It's like being miserable at work as an accountant and encouraging others to follow the same career path.

As hard and stressful as it may be, having kids is the norm in most people's eyes. It's just "what you do," and if one decides not to have children, people assume sterility is to blame or that something else is wrong. 

It's unfair to say that all parents are envious of the childfree, but it's certainly likely that a few of them are. After all, the childfree have more money to spend and time to waste. For them, sleep is no luxury, but an everyday commodity. 

People having a hard time coping with parenthood could try to encourage their childfree friends to have children so that they can be in the same boat. As the saying goes, misery loves company. Those parents enjoying the experience, however, couldn't care less. 

My sister, who has a four-year old of her own, often asks me when my wife and I will be taking that life-changing step. She also has a tendency to ask what our plans are for the night each time we see her early in the day. I sense that a part of her misses the freedom my wife and I enjoy, but it doesn't discount the fact that she loves my niece unconditionally.

Life is all about tradeoffs. Parents of newborns will have moments where they miss their old lives. People who elect to remain childfree will often question whether they made the right move, and might come to want a child once it's too late. 

Whether one opts to have kids or not, I think he or she can enjoy a rewarding life nonetheless. We live in a day and age where having kids is optional, not mandatory. No matter what people decide, their decision should be respected.

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