Dear Childless Millennials,
I hear you. The discourse around consciously not wanting to have children is not lost on me. I scroll through all your reasons and, honestly, I can’t help but agree with some of you.
It’s true. Parenting is probably one of the most difficult things out there — no les quiero mentir. As a single mother of two, I am constantly struggling. Telling you this feels like I’m letting down the world of single motherhood because, as if it’s an unspoken rule, we make sure to portray strength. But at what cost? Have we created an unrealistic expectation for others to bear children? Is this why millennials are so skeptical when the topic of starting a family arises?
I’m not only a single Latina mom, I’m also a millennial. So, I get why this is a hot topic. Although, if we are being frank here, sometimes these labels are so beyond me — and not because I don’t care — I just don’t seem to have the time to dive into the many layers of our current society. All I know is that I want my children to grow up to be kind, mindful of their surroundings, and well-read. No es mucho, cierto?
I hear claims about children stunting your growth both personally and professionally. And I wish these were not the case, but they present many truths. However, it isn’t impossible — with a nice support system (and plenty of patience), you can obtain progress in your life. As for the travel that I read about so often, it’s definitely not like traveling on your own. Everything, every minute, and if you can, every second, needs to be planned. This doesn’t mean it won’t be enjoyable. A special kind of joy comes when you see your children admiring and learning about new cultures. It’s a sense of pride to be able to show them the world through your eyes and have them experience it with you. It won’t always be perfect, but it will be memorable to say the least.
Speaking of the world, many times, it does feel like it’s crumbling before us. I’ve seen how other millennials, including yourself, tend to find having children in these times irresponsible. I’m not going to lie, sometimes it does feel selfish on my part to want to continue growing my small family, especially when it’s so hard, but I guess that’s what makes us different. The type of love I feel for my children is indescribable because it’s too grand to fit into words.
Even then, there are moments where I almost regret my decision in becoming a mother. Not because I don’t love them, that’s not the case, but because this isn’t the ideal world, I’d like them to live in.
Perhaps some things would be easier, and maybe my children wouldn’t have to be exposed to shooting drills at school and a macabre series of events on the daily. Sometimes I, too, would like to be a childless millennial. Or how some of you call it — childfree.
That thought, however, is something that consumes for half a moment. I snap out of it quickly, yet it saddens me to know that I can’t control everything around me for their sake. All I want is for them to be free of worry and be good human beings. I might not be able to rid them of worry for their entire life, but I can make sure they are good people.
With that said, I don’t get upset whenever I hear you wear your “childless millennial” badge with pride. In fact, I rather this be it.
The way I see it is that you are giving way to other people who truly have the parenting calling. Not everyone has that calling, and that’s okay. I’m glad you are responsible enough to admit rather than bring a child who may not receive their fullest extent of love out of resentment. Besides, don’t we have enough of those types of parents? I know our Latino community has them, hence the generational trauma.
If anything, people not choosing to have children is helping our community break free of those emotional chains that have held us back for too long.
I think we can all be thankful for that.
As for me, I’ll be happy being a mom and be ready to support any of you should you decide to become parents. And if you decide you don’t want to go down that route, I’ll still be here. All I hope is that your decision helps us a bit. Maybe it’ll give you enough time to build a better world for those children who are already inhabiting it.
A Mom Who Gets It