Based on a true story
Ana X. Martínez Lima (She/Her) // Contributor
Sharleen Ramos (she/her) // Illustrator
There comes a point in life when people start asking you personal questions as if they were of public interest. You arrive at Christmas parties and they ask about your boyfriend, or when you will get a boyfriend, if you don’t have one already. If you are in a stable relationship, they start asking you about the wedding, or when you’ll be having children. It seems like we have to follow the same pattern to keep everyone satisfied.
I am 26 years old, and most of my childhood friends already have children, while I only have my cats. I do not say this as a complaint. I love not having children, and I love that my friends are happy with theirs. What I do not love is that every time we meet, we always have to talk about the same thing.
We start with them trying to find me a partner, making “jokes” about how I know nothing about babies because I have never had one (even though I am a teacher of children), and then we move on to the part where they say, “You should take advantage of not having children, your life is way easier than ours.”
If I am honest, many times I have thought that my life was easier because I only have to take care of myself,and not a mini version of me on top of that. But then I realize that no, our lifestyles are not the same, our priorities are not the same, and our goals (at least in the short term) are not the same. Why do people consider my life to be easier and simpler than one with kids? While you stay up changing diapers and putting your children to sleep, I stay up completing assignments and working. The only difference I see is that we are focusing on separate things.
I do not believe that one person’s life is easier than another’s, everyone chooses their battles and fights. Just as you dedicate your life to raising a child, I dedicate mine to my job and personal life. With this, I am not implying that the lives of parents are simple or that they should stop complaining; on the contrary, I admire all the effort, dedication, and courage they have to raise a child and support a family.
While my friends make comments about how I can enjoy life, travel, and do whatever I want, they complain about everything they have to do. I am not allowed to complain. Why? Because I do not have children.
It’s annoying to listen to the same story every time, and even worse when it comes from people you do not know or are not your friends. If you say something like “I am so tired”, they will say “Tired of what? You do not have children.” After that comes the story about how they had to stay up all night because the child was sick. Sis, I did not choose your life, and you do not live with me or know everything I do. I do not want to be rude, and I do not want to have an argument, which is why I really would like to tell them to not stick their noses where it is none of their business, or belittle the lives and efforts of others. Would it be rude of me? Perhaps, but these words are a knot in my throat in every conversation.
It all comes back to respect and not shutting down other people’s feelings. In one way or another, by making comments like, “Your life is way easier than mine,” you are diminishing the work and life of another person. Of course, sharing how tiring your day-to-day is is valid; what it is not valid is wanting to compare theirs with yours.
So, I just want to say one simple thing, stop telling me my life is easier.