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On Motherhood and Marriage Regret

On Motherhood and Marriage Regret

By Kristen Chase

I never wanted to have kids.

This is always a surprising revelation to most people I talk to since I have four kids and actually enjoy it. Mostly.

Okay, sometimes.

In the grand scheme of things, motherhood is awesome, but I think we can all pretty much agree that the day-to-day of parenting, especially alone, can be extremely taxing. Sometimes dehumanizing.

But I was perfectly happy with my life as a Dual-Income-No-Kids (DINK) person. And yes, while I had my first child fairly young (at 28) and didn’t have the mid-thirties “I NEED TO PROCREATE NOW!” desperation that I hear some women talk about, I never felt like I was missing out or better, would miss out if I didn’t have any children.

Also, I really didn’t want to mess them up. I was good with books and papers and college students. But shaping small humans into responsible, loving, caring, ethical adults, well, that’s no slouch job.

That shit is hard.

So then why do we feel like everyone should want to do it?

We hear a lot about marriage regret but little about motherhood regret, probably because it involves small, innocent humans that we actually love deeply. And for them to hear that we regret the decision to have them could be a life altering one, or at least, one that will fuel therapy for years to come.

And somehow, because we all have a uterus and ovaries that we should want kids.

Look, I’m tall and have long legs and have absolutely no desire to play basketball, volleyball, or any other tall-person sports. And yes, comparing sports to motherhood is hardly equal, but when you break everything down to biology, it sort of is.

Also, since when are all people good at the same exact thing? Pretty much never.

To be clear, I don’t regret motherhood. At all.

In fact, it’s probably the one thing in my life I have no regrets about.

But I do regret marriage. I regret feeling as though I had to fit a certain mold and follow a societal norm that was created based on values and tenets I do not believe in.

I regret not listening to my gut.

Those feelings can apply to both motherhood and marriage.

Many of us grow up in non-traditional families, and live non-traditional lives, and yet we still feel this pull, an obligation almost to fit our square pegs into that round hole. And we pound and pound because it looks amazing and everyone’s doing it and I want a white dress and a big party with lots of booze and a gaggle of children to call me “Mommy” when really it might not be for us.

But really, when you have experienced a life that is vastly off the yellow brick road of normalcy well maybe Oz is not the end-all-be-all for you. Which isn’t a bad thing, because as we all know — as the divorce rates climb — not too many people can hack it.

I’m not saying this “Oz” of happy endings, awesome relationships, THE ONE isn’t possible for people.

It would, however, be lifesaving for so many if we just admitted that we all might get there in a different way, with stops and bumps and detours. A lot of detours. And that when we do get there (wherever “there” is), it might not be exactly what we expected. It might be worse. It might be better.

Or we may never get there at all. Sometimes it’s just the journey, right?

But when we give people (and ourselves) permission to pop this bubble of a happy marriage, happy family that we’ve somehow created like it’s cut right out of a fairytale book — no regrets, no guilt — my guess is that we’d all actually be happier.

Our kids. And ourselves.

Kristen Chase
About the Author

Kristen Chase

Kristen Chase is a writer, author, and a single mom of four. It’s as exhausting as it sounds (at least the mom part). Also, awesome.

Kristen is also co-founder of

Kristen Chase is a writer, author, and a single mom of four. It’s as exhausting as it sounds (at least the mom part). Also, awesome.

Kristen is also co-founder of Cool Mom Picks and author of The Mominatrix’s Guide to Sex.

 

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Comments

  • Dawn Marcotte

    Great post – I have been trying to explain this concept to my oldest daughter. That she doesn’t have to do what ‘society’ expects her to do just because it is what everyone else does. She doesn’t want kids or a husband. I want her to understand that choice is okay – but it is an uphill battle against the media and society at large.

    Happiness doesn’t look the same for everyone and it is nice to find an blog that not only shares that idea, but is happy to announce it – from one mother to another – thanks.

    • “Happiness doesn’t look the same for everyone” — Love that. Thanks Dawn.

  • Yes! I was just thinking about writing a blog post about this – I the idea that we don’t have to tell our daughters…”someday when you get married”. I think it sets them up for the expectation of a life that they may not want. I was talking with my five and half year old daughter last week and I mentioned something along the lines of “you know you don’t HAVE to get married”. She immediately responded “then how will I have kids?”. I reminded her of the single mothers we knew and she was relieved. She says that she is sure she wants kids but not so sure about getting married. I hope that we are able to leave the door open for her so that she can choose what she wants – not what society says she should want.

    • Exactly! We hear that so much. My 5-year old keeps telling me she wants to have a boyfriend and adopt kids because she doesn’t want to deal with the pain. Ha. 

  • Claire

    I did the whole breaking the mold, against societal norms thing. Realised I was deeply unhappy (but that was the relationship, not the way I was living), changed it all and now live the stereotypical life, husband, dogs, 2 kids etc. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Which is odd because that isn’t really how I expected life to pan out!

    I want my kids to be happy. However they achieve that is fine by me. I have a son and a daughter. If they chose to stay single, travel the world and never have kids, I’m ok with that. If they chose to settle down, marry, have kids and dedicate themselves to raising a family I’m ok with that too. So long as they choose it themselves, freely and willingly. That’s what I want to instil in them – that they have choices, and we will support them in them.

    • I love that, Claire. Congrats to you! You sound like an awesome mom.

  • Hi, I’m Natalie.

    Thank you. 

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