This is a difficult conversation to have with anyone. When I first started writing this blog post, I had to delete the first paragraph probably 20 times. Why? The difference between someone with a child and someone without a child, as it relates to work, isn’t much. But, I will admit there are some key issues for being child free in the workplace that we need to talk about. Yes, even as hard as it may be.
A professional who is child free in the workplace, it often comes with some pretty general assumptions. We have a lot of extra free time to work and don’t have hearts (ouch!) or like the idea of family. Child free people are workaholics who only focus on career. We don’t understand what it’s like to have other responsibilities. Well, people these statements are just so false in so many ways for many. Yet, these misconceptions commonly apply to every child free professional. We must wonder, is it fair?
Why is time more essential for parents than child-free people?
One of the biggest frustrations I’ve heard from people who don’t have kids is that when it comes to overtime and who can stay late to get a project done, it always falls on them under assumption. Parents are clearly too busy for that, so why even consider those people to put in the extra work?
Being child free in the workplace doesn’t mean that we automatically can be assumed to have nothing going on. Our personal lives are just as important.
The same could be said about how hard someone is working. If you’re anything like me, the amount of effort you put into your career matters. So, I do think it’s a little unfair to assume I automatically put more effort into my job on account of more free time. No, I care. And, it’s unfair to assume that someone with kids can’t put just as much effort into their job too.
The age old problem of good parent or not good parent
My biggest bone to pick is actually in favor of parents rather than the child-free life. I’ve witnessed people pass judgement on women in the workplace for choosing their careers over staying home with their babies. It seems incredibly judgmental.
How it relates to me is not as cruel, but still false. It’s that child free professionals are TOO career focused. Not that it matters, but I am not making a choice to be child free right now because of my career. In fact, whether you have children shouldn’t impact the trajectory of your career path.
Many successful people have risen to the top of their fields as parents. Many have made it to the top without being parents. It’s a life choice and each person deals with it in their own way.
What really makes this point a tough one is that whether we choose to be child-free or have children and work, there is always someone judging us. Someone will always say we are selfish or obsessed with success. We will always be labeled as having something wrong with us.
The benefits of being a child-free professional
Now, I won’t say that it’s all bad. Judgement aside, being child free in the workplace allows for a lot of freedom. Here is a list of my favorite things about being a child free professional:
- I work when I need to work. Weekends? Early mornings? Stay late into the evening? Nothing really keeps me from working as often as I need to get things done. (Just remember, it’s MY time.)
- Stress is minimal. There’s not too much to worry about outside of work, so it’s easy to tackle what I need to keep stress and anxiety down.
- Avoiding awkward conversations with people who ask about my kids. I know that it’s a friendly conversation, but before my two cups of coffee, you won’t find me having conversations longer than “good morning.” Also, we both know that too much “kid” conversation can be painful for at least one party. I also am cognizant to not discuss the DINK couple lifestyle too much too!
- Equally, I don’t have to divulge too much information to my coworkers. My private life is my private life. Usually, kids are an open door to asking more questions. Since I have no kids, I can just go under the radar and keep my life as private as I want.
- I’m really never running late. Unless I oversleep or am dragging in the morning, I know I’ll always make my meetings on time and not be held up by baby drama.
Really, there are some advantages that I enjoy. As always though, parents love their kids and they love what they do for them. I give them major props for raising a human.
A final thought on being child free
If you’re struggling with whether you should have kids, think on it harder. As I try to inspire through my blog, this isn’t a light situation. Kids are a big deal and you should be ready for what comes with them. Choosing to be child free has advantages and disadvantages, too. Just be proud of your decision in the end because the most important thing is living a happy life!