Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tiny Homes and No Kids

I started writing this post in early August and then shelved it. But tomorrow I leave for the first ever conference for women without children. And, oh yeah, I am the co-administrator of the conference. This is something I have always wanted to do but before quitting my corporate job, and freeing my time and money, I couldn't have attempted it. 

On Saturday, August 1st I woke up to an amazing surprise. It was International Childfree Day, a celebration designed to demonstrate that choosing not to have children is a valid life choice. On that day the annual winners of Childfree Person of the Year are announced.

And I discovered that not only had I been nominated but that I was given the honor of Childfree Woman of the Year.

I don't often talk about my decision not to have children in relation to having our tiny house. And I certainly don't think that being childfree is the only way to live tiny. In fact, many of my favorite people within the tiny house movement are parents. I respect all choices, which is why I expect others to be respectful as well.

But there are ways in which not having children has affected the decisions I've made around my home, my career, and more.

Let's take a closer look.
  1. Smaller space for fewer people. Our tiny house is 120 square feet, which is of course also the name of this blog. Many people suggest that this is too small for even two people. It isn't for us, but it might be for someone else. For us, it is the perfect size but we didn't have to make considerations for additional people so we had more freedom to choose a design that worked perfectly for our specific needs.
  2. Reduce expenses and income. One thing I couldn't have done if I had kids was feel free to quit my job without any sort of safety net. Not that other people with kids can't make similar choices but since I don't have kids I couldn't even begin to understand the trade offs and sacrifices that are necessary. I had plenty of fear that I couldn't sustain myself, but not having a mortgage and not having expensive bills that come with a large home helped give me the confidence to quit. 
Update October 6, 2015: 
The NotMom Summit

Tomorrow I make my way to Cleveland to meet a woman I have been working with since 2012. I am excited to bring together 125 women from all over the country (and Canada) who share this experience of not having children. When you don't have kids the conversation is different and we are just looking for our tribe.

And that's the thing about women without children.

We belong to all kinds of demographics from tiny house dwellers to large home dwellers. We are all colors, all cultures, and all ages. And for the first time we're getting together in one place to share our stories and learn from one another. And that I had a had a hand in it - because of the opportunities I've had after building a tiny home - is incredible. 

This is exactly what I mean when I say "Live Deliberately." 

5 comments:

  1. Hi Laura,

    We do have a child (and would not miss her for the world!), but here's the thing:
    No one (not once!) has ever asked me why we wanted to have children. A dear friend of mine however constantly has to explain why she chose not to have any. And plenty of people are downright rude to her about it, which I find very disturbing. So hurray for your conference! Hope you encourage lots of people and have a great time!
    Kind regards,
    Carolina

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  2. I had never heard of Childfree Day until this moment, and had to snort. My husband and I were child free for twenty years and then decided to become foster parents with the intent to adopt. Eight kids and two adoptions later, we are no longer child free. Not by a long shot. I can completely identify with Anon above with the comments. Had to live with that for all those years. Honestly, as hard as it was, it was nothing compared to the difficulty of dealing with kids with social issues that you simply could not explain away and were usually blamed for. And it continues. I say, if you really want to make a difference in this world, go the extra step. Don't stop at not contributing to overpopulation, really bite the bullet and try to salvage the damage done by abusive and neglectful parents. That takes courage, boldness and sacrifice. But it is worth it. As our neighbor so eloquently states it, "You can't save them all." No, but you can save some, and they are so worth it.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. I absolutely commend you with your choice and you are an amazing person for doing it.

      I do think, though, that individuals will have to make decisions for themselves. I would make a pretty poor parent - foster or otherwise - so I don't see that it would be a good idea for me to bring children into my house. I can volunteer in other areas and aspects of my life and community. I will leave foster parenting to those who feel truly called to do it.

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  3. As a childless couple, I can relate to the questions from family, friends and strangers alike. It is a difficult topic, and I commend you for addressing it.

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  4. I have six children, and I think it's incredibly rude for anyone to question a person's decision to have any number of children . . . whether that's zero, one, or many. We don't know all the variables involved in such a personal decision, and it isn't for us to criticize another's choice. I'm happy with my family size. Glad you are, too. :)

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