By now, it's obvious that I am not a parent. So what am I?
I'm a husband. I'm an uncle and a godfather. I'm a brother, a son, a nephew, a friend and so much more. I've chosen to define myself not by who I produce, but by who I am. My life is absolutely complete without having children. That's not to say that I've taken a stance against having children. On the contrary, I love my niece, nephew and godsons to pieces. They take up a special part of my life, a part I don't want to have dominate over the rest.
So where did my decision to be child free come from? I actually made the choice years ago, when I was in high school. At the time, I joked that it was because I liked to sleep until noon on weekends (what teenager doesn't?), but it turns out it was just a simplistic way of expressing what I felt. The truth is, I want to live my life in a way that doesn't work well when children are involved. I want to walk down the street and make a spur of the moment decision to go into a pub. I want to drive to my favourite city 2 hours away because I can't think of anything better to do. I want to spend the night away from home without having to think about it or plan. I want to see my friends when I want to, not just when I can. I want to watch MY shows on television, or spend hours playing video games or on my computer without an interruption. I want to skip dinner in favour of pizza at midnight.
This is where it gets tricky. I could have made that last paragraph three times as long without thinking too hard. The problem is, no matter how long I could have made the list, it wouldn't change the reactions I often get. People will sometimes call me selfish for not wanting children in favour of doing all those self-motivated things. I think it's honest. I don't like the sight of viscera, so I'm not be surgeon. I could be saving lives and making a difference in our otherwise understaffed health care system, but I'm not because I don't want to deal with the accompanying unpleasant aspects. By the same token, I don't want to be a parent. That's not being selfish, it's recognizing my own capabilities and limitations. Would you want a surgeon who gets squeamish when he cuts you open? Neither would I.
Surgeons don't get to sleep in much, though. I do every weekend and I love it.