What would life be like without children?

 

My wife and I were recently having a conversation that I’m sure most parents have had from time to time. Ashley asked me if I ever wonder what our life would be like if we didn’t have kids.  I of course answered with “What?!  Absolutely not!  I could never think of that.”  I was mostly just joking and trying to make her feel bad for a second.

Sure, I suppose I’ve wondered what it would be like to live without children, but I don’t think about it often. That’s not because I’m some kind of super dad that cherishes every moment as a parent.  As much as I’d like to say that’s true, parenthood certainly has its moments, and I’m not immune to that.  The reason I rarely wonder about life without children is because our kids have been around for a while now.  Noah’s four and a half years old already and Charlotte will turn three pretty soon.  I haven’t spent a single night away from them since they were born.

Children require a ton of work and raising one is not an easy job. It’s also very rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, but I guess it’s ok to wonder what life would be like if I didn’t have kids for a moment.

So let’s suppose I married Ashley, but we never had any kids. We would definitely see more movies (we average one trip to the movie theater per year now).  I’m sure we would also go out to eat more often.  Ashley suggested we would go downtown more.  She figured we would be at more festivals, and go out for drink at places on the water and eat at restaurants we haven’t been to before.  We’d also go on more vacations, some that might not be so kid-friendly.  I’m sure I would have persuaded Ashley to visit more National Parks by now (and we might have returned to the Mall of America).

lw

Besides for going out more and going to different places, I’m not sure how else our lives would be different. I suppose we wouldn’t have to rely on our parents nearly as much as we do now.  They babysit so much for our children and we will forever be in their debt.  It would be nice not having to depend on them so much.

I imagine that sooner or later there would come a time when we would wonder the exact opposite of what we are wondering now. We’d wonder what life would be like if we had kids.  We’d wonder if something was missing in our lives.  Nearly all of our friends have kids, so we would become the outsiders wondering if we were lucky that we didn’t have any kids or we would become jealous of the others that did have children.  Knowing what I know now about us, I would definitely say that our lives would not be complete without children.  However, I had no idea that would be the case before we had any kids of our own.

I could always tell that Ashley was the motherly type and that she would absolutely excel as a mom. She was a teacher after all, so you’d have to assume she’d want kids of her own at some point.  On the other hand, I was never certain if kids would be in my future.  At least not when I was a single guy.  Maybe it was because my sisters had five kids between them.  Seeing them with those kids might have been some sort of temporary birth control for me.

While I think I would have survived and been happy in life without children, I feel like I would have been missing out. Fatherhood has turned me into an entirely different and (I’d say) better person than I was before.

I can barely remember what it was like to be with Ashley and not have kids. That’s because we have been together for just over seven years and like I already said, Noah’s been around more than half of that time (Ashley got pregnant about a month after our wedding).  It’s probably easier for me to imagine what life would be like without Ashley and our children than it is to consider life without just the children, simply because I was a single adult for a while before Ashley and I started dating.

First, I have to reiterate that I would never want to lose Ashley and my kids, but I’m just going to imagine what life would be like if I had never met Ashley in the first place. If I had never met her I’d still probably be a single dude wandering around aimlessly.  No kids, no wife, no girlfriend, no prospects.  I’d probably be living in some basic no-frills apartment.  I’d likely be drinking more and eating worse, but there’s a decent chance I’d at least be in better shape.  I’m just thinking that if I had a lot more time on my hands and was a single guy on the prowl I’d probably still have a gym membership.

I would definitely still be going on long road trips out west and spend a lot of time exploring National Parks. That’s the only thing I really miss since we’ve had kids, but we’re planning on taking some family trips out that way when the kids are a little older.  If I never met Ashley I’m also certain I’d be watching a lot more football and going to more Bills games.

I’m sure glad I met my wife, because I love my current life so much more than the alternative I just described. I’m sure that if I hadn’t met her I would spend a lot of my time looking for someone just like her.  I’d probably be lonely, especially considering my best friends are all married and have kids now.  I’d surely be spending a lot of time by myself, and while I’m comfortable alone, I’m much happier with the family I have now.

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