Why I’m child-free: I didn’t want my mother’s life

Don’t judge me based on the somewhat shocking title. I love my mum very much, but I knew at a young age that I didn’t want her life.

I grew up in a traditional household. My dad was a train driver who did shift work. My mother was a stay-at-home mum. I don’t think there was ever any question of her working – and in the 70s and 80s, it was rare that a mother did work. After all, society deemed it a mother’s job to stay at home, be a homemaker, and have children.

My mum was everything a woman in that era was supposed to be: a wife and a young mother with two children by the time she was 23.

She was an excellent cook and not only made us amazing meals, she also baked delicious cakes, slices, and biscuits.

I have fond memories of lunch boxes full of homemade goodies and school friends who envied what I was eating.

Mum made many of our clothes and could sew anything from curtains to the most complicated dresses to beautiful knitted jumpers. She had a green thumb and a thriving garden.

She loved being a mother. She loved all the domestic duties that came with that life and the world she had chosen.

My mum’s life revolved around her family. She coached our netball team, ferried my sister and I to our school and sporting activities, and spent time in the school canteen. She cooked our meals and packed Dad’s lunch. I don’t remember too many social outings with her friends, to be honest. Most of her time was centred on us.

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As happy as my mum was, I couldn’t understand it.

As I got older and was exposed to other worlds through television and movies, I saw another kind of life for women.

I was heavily influenced by the 80s power woman. My role models were women like Amanda Woodward from Melrose Place, Murphy Brown, and Alexis Carrington from Dynasty.

I wanted their lives. I wanted a career. I wanted travel. I wanted freedom. I wanted money and material possessions. I wanted it all, and I was not prepared to give up that life by having a child.

I also couldn’t see myself being happy as a mother.

I never wanted a domestic life. I don’t cook, I am useless at sewing, and I have given up trying to keep anything green alive.

I have vivid memories of girls in high school talking about their life ambition as being married with kids and thinking, ‘there is so much more to life than that’.

I never felt a maternal urge and never experienced what society refers to as the ‘biological clock’ – the fact is, it doesn’t actually exist and it’s not scientifically proven. I also didn’t see all the rewards that many do in becoming a mum.