How to have a child-full (versus childless) life without having kids.
Being a Marriage and Family Therapist, random people have asked me if I have kids. I tell them, “Hundreds!” They look perplexed and inquisitive. I explain, “Through the decade-plus of teaching and being a therapist, I have cared for hundreds of kids!” Then, they look at me uncomfortably, figuring out whether to ask the follow up question… if I have my own. I normally am a straight shooter, but sometimes I like to be provocative!
What does having your own kids even mean?
In my other blog, “How to Know You are Ready and Willing to ‘Have Kids’… or NOT!” I explored if “having kids” was right for you. When I say “having” I mean being a main caretaker through marriage, adoption, birth, or otherwise. There are many reasons why people choose not to be a main caretaker, but it doesn’t mean they are unfit, selfish, or unloving. No, there is nothing wrong with them. They just don’t want to give their energy in this way. We all have a myriad of talents and ways we contribute to the world, and it’s best that we are authentic and not try to complicate our lives and others’ lives by conforming.
What does it mean to be child-full?
A child-full life means choosing to have children in your life in selective ways. Since being a parent is not about what you can “pass on” but more about how you can support, protect, nurture, educate, etc others, you can do this many ways. A friend of mine is a teacher and an aunt. She says, “I spend MORE time around kids and with MORE kids than most of my friends with children do.” Being a teacher and an aunt are different roles with different responsibilities, but there isn’t a hierarchy of worth. Yes, the teacher will not be the person giving the child love and seeing the child grow, but the aunt will. Also, the aunt doesn’t have to discipline and teach her niece, but she can nurture and play with her!
You can choose how you show up in a child’s life as long as you are being responsible, consistent, compassionate, and are in align with the main caregivers’ values and expectations. You can have a child-full life of your own making! If you ever do wish to “have kids” there is no expiration on that; it just might look different than you imagined before!
** If you feel you want to explore more about having a ‘child-full’ life, schedule a 15 minute consultation with me: Abby Volk LMFT LPCC firstname.lastname@example.org 415-878-6030 www.counselorsf.com