By Lisa Manterfield
This year has been another busy year for travel. Between work-related trips and visits to family and friends, I’m feeling as if I’ve spent more time away from home than at home.
I’m not complaining. I enjoy travel and I’m also aware, if I had children, I couldn’t be doing this. If I had school schedules and missed classes to deal with, or frankly even if I had to find the money for three round-trip tickets instead of just one, it wouldn’t be feasible. Being childless not only allows me the do the fun things without worry, it leaves me free to take care of the other things that are important to me, namely my family—in particular my mother and husband.
There’s a downside to this freedom and independence, too. People often have expectations that a person without children is a person with nothing important to do, which equals the first person to be called when a favor is needed. Do you know what I mean?
Although my geographically undesirable location means I’m usually the last person to be called in for family help, some of my friends are given more than their share of the responsibility because of their childlessness. Quite often they’re called upon to organize family gatherings, take care of sick relatives, or just run errands because the family members with children don’t have the time.
I know that my childlessness affords me more freedom than many of peers who are mothers, but that doesn’t mean I’m sitting around idly looking for something to do. If I had children, my life would be full. But guess what? Because I don’t have children, I’ve made certain my life is still full, whether others believe it is or not.
What do you think? Do family members assume because you don’t have kids you have nothing but time on your hands? Do you feel the lion’s share of family duties falls to you? And what are the advantages of freedom and independence you do get to enjoy?