Yes, I'm Single. No, I Don't Want Kids.

Being child-free could mean permanent singlehood, and that's fine.

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| October 30 2017,

1:06 pm

I'm a "good black man" who is single, and likely will stay that way because I don't want children. Unlike my three siblings, I am not partnered. It's not because I'm bad looking, disrespectful to women or void of ambition. I have a number of flaws that make me less than ideal for a great number of women, but the biggest factor is simply that I am among the statistical minority who wish not to breed. I don't want children now or later; I do not want them on a plane or a train, Sam-I-Am. It is frustrating that women often reject my person before they discover it, simply because I object to another person. Still, if permanent singlehood is the price I must pay to live child-free, my response is a resigned transfer of funds.

The idea of raising children simply does not appeal to me on any level. When I share this with people, they typically respond by labeling me "selfish." Ironically, every single reason people give me for wanting kids starts with, "I want." Some say, "I want to experience motherhood/fatherhood." The more thoughtful say, "I want to leave a legacy" (as if Malcolm X is remembered because of his children). I've also heard, "I want someone to take care of me when I'm older." It can be argued that none of those motivations are truly selfless. Rather than label each other, why don't we simply admit that we all have different desires and in pursuing them, we create an intellectual framework that renders us virtuous, and others questionable. Deal or no deal?

I'm a realist. There are only 24 hours in a day, and between my proclivity to procrastinate, fitness goals and other interests, there simply isn't enough time to devote to children. There could be, yes, if I decided to cut back on some of those other things. But the marginal utility from child rearing simply doesn't exceed anything currently on my list. I believe that if you parent, you should do it right. Children require a certain level of investment and if you cannot provide it, joyfully, you do yourself and the child a disservice by having them. I know people who honestly believe they can be business moguls, work 80 hours weekly and be great parents. The truth is it's not realistic, and since I know that, I'll choose the things that make me most happy — and raising children just isn't one of them.

I feel most judged in social settings when people discover that I do not drink alcohol. They somehow take the input of me not drinking and derive a host of character flaws and assumptions. Just as not drinking does not automatically equate to some deeply embedded issue with control or anger, my decision not to procreate does not necessarily mean anything other than I want something different than you do. I have lived in eight cities and I love the freedom I have. I am a classical "save the world" type who is presently working on creating jobs on the South Side of Chicago. While it is completely possible to have children and make positive contributions to the world, if you have no off switch, there are examples in history that suggest raising children might not be best. Case in point, the demands of Dr. King's schedule essentially made Coretta a single mother at times. Children deserve full-time parents, and I just don't ever want to choose between the causes I commit myself to and a kid's soccer game.

I am completely selfish and quite stingy, I will admit that. When I am enamored with someone, they receive a great deal of my attention, and I like the same in return. Ginuwine made a great song ("Stingy") that captures it well. I realize that many factors can disrupt the flow of a relationship — work, family stressors and the like. Still, the inevitability of that disruption due to children is more risk than I'm willing to assume. Couples with children certainly derive a host of benefits, but they also have a lower level of marital satisfaction, and the decline in that satisfaction for such couples happens at about twice the rate. Some of it may be due to hyper-focus children often are given. Some years ago, Oprah featured a mom who proclaimed that she had a passionate sex life with her husband because her children were not the center of her world. The vitriol she received was surprising. This woman loved her children, and in no way neglected them, but for many, that she refused to make her children her world was offensive. There should be a healthy balance but from where I stand, it seems so elusive, thus I'll simply pass.

The fertility rate in the US hit a record low in 2016. The number of women between ages 15 and 44 without children is higher than ever. But based on my lived experience, none of the data is encouraging to me. I've gone on dates with a number of amazing women who were around 32 and childless, but in reality, that meant they were hoping to make partner or CEO in the next two years, marry and pop out a baby, all before 35. It would seem that I've painted myself into a very lonely corner, but I stand by my choice. I could concede to a life with children simply to become more appealing to women, but it would undoubtedly be a life I do not want. That wouldn't be fair to anyone. Rather, I choose to build the life I want and enjoy all that comes with it. I'll try to save the world, travel, enjoy the joys of casual dating and shower love on the nieces and nephews present and forthcoming. I'm fine with that, and I'm perfectly fine if the rest of the world chooses something different.

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Love and Relationships