My husband and I are childfree by choice. Yes, you read that correctly. My husband and I have been married for eleven years and have made the conscious choice to not have children.
I know what you’re thinking and allow me to refute it. We live very full lives. We are happy and fulfilled in our marriage, in our careers and in our relationships with friends and family. We also have plenty of children in our circle whose parents will be glad to drop them off for an afternoon if we need a baby fix (occasionally for me, almost never for my husband).
We also fill our lives with a great many adventures that wouldn’t be possible (or would be significantly more difficult) if we had children. We recently took a spontaneous trip to the birthplace of Garfield creator, Jim Davis, during which we stayed in a converted jail Airbnb and adventured through rural Indiana for two full days, all because it was the weekend before football season and we wanted to spend some quality time together. Planning for this trip required some online searching for accommodations, packing for only myself (I have long since given up trying to pack for him) and a short text to my sister (“Can you come stay with the dogs this weekend?”). We spend our (off-season) weekends playing disc golf, wandering through thrift shops, hiking, going to concerts, and generally just living the life we wish.
Don’t feel sorry for us; we love our childless life.
Due to my childfree status, I am free to attend as many games as I wish, go out to celebratory meals after wins alongside my hubby, overall spend more time dedicated to my role as the coach’s support system. I do not share in the struggles of worrying about whether the kids are home for bedtime or if they’ve eaten a nutritious dinner.
For this reason, I do feel that I often have difficulty connecting with other coaches’ wives who lament about traveling to games solo with children, getting up during the night to care for children, worrying about their children finishing their homework, making it to their own extracurricular activities, the list goes on. We all struggle, but the struggles look different and sometimes I feel there is an unbreakable barrier between us.
I also spend a lot more lonely, quiet hours.
I genuinely love game nights. I love the energy that surrounds it and being there to cheer alongside parents, grandparents, and teachers.
What I don’t love is the Monday night that he unexpectedly gets tapped to assist at the JV game and doesn’t make it home until late. The evening I had planned for us to sit down and have dinner together but instead end up eating something microwaved, by myself, in front of the TV.
You see, most nights during the season, it’s dinner for one. It’s him running in and grabbing a quick snack (or nap) between practice and work. It’s staring down the barrel of another evening of Netflix and chill … by myself.
It’s having my hands in a dishwater when the dog barks to come back inside and there is no one … not a partner nor a child … who can simply open the door and let him in.
It’s calling the husband on the phone at work just to have someone besides the dogs to say goodnight to before going to bed.
It’s spending a lot (maybe too much) time talking to the dogs as if they understand and are going to respond to my statements or queries.
It’s having the tv on something that I don’t even want to watch just to have noise in the house.
It’s also having to answer the never-ending (well-meaning but usually ill-timed) question (asked by parents, coworkers, other coaches, and coaches’ wives): “So when are you and your husband going to have children?”
It’s occasionally feeling overwhelmed by solitude. Occasionally looking at the wives in the stands who are chasing young children who have someone to ride home with after the game and feeling a type of jealousy.
No, I do not wish I had children (if I did, I would). I simply sometimes wish there were someone there to talk to during the long hours he spends at the school, someone there to laugh with at the dogs’ ridiculous antics, or somebody to cuddle on those first chilly fall evenings.
So shout-out to the coaching families who are childfree by choice, haven’t yet reached the stage of their marriage to have children, or have surpassed the stage in life of raising children and now face empty nests. I see you. I am with you. Let’s be alone, together.