One of the many things you discover in a life with no children is people’s huge misconceptions of what it’s like not to have children!
I can only speak for myself, and the few people I know that aren’t part of the parenting world, but trust me it’s definitely not endless travel, lie-ins and nights out.
There’s also a tendency to think of people without children as being selfish, or at least selfish with their time. However, when you stop and think about this, how true can this really be? When was the last time a childless friend wasn’t there for you when you needed them?
In a world focused on families, single people and/or those without children can often be mis-underrepresented, which can lead to a lot of assumptions being made. Assuming single/childless friends/family members won’t mind if they don’t get invited to events because they don’t have children/they’re single. Assuming they’re not busy because they don’t have children, or assuming they don’t mind if they come to visit you rather than the other way around.
Now I realise this might sound like a big long list of whinges, but over time these things can build up to be incredibly hurtful and frustrating.
Single, childless or parents; we have more in common than what sets us apart
After all, we all need to generate an income, eat, sleep and stay healthy, as well as get through the long to-do lists of the usual life admin and chores.
Some might argue that single/childless communities have more time to do all the above, however as loneliness is one of the most prevalent side effects within this community, perhaps we should be asking what impact ‘time’ actually has on this community.
Not that long ago I found myself living alone, working alone, not in a relationship and childless. I didn’t plan it, but a set of circumstances, including the time of my life, led to isolation. In turn, this created the biggest spell of loneliness I’d ever felt. (although I didn’t recognise it at the time).
Doing stuff for others, and/or always keeping busy can be a side effect of loneliness, but balancing keeping busy without burning out can sometimes be a tough nut to crack. One that can sometimes be misunderstood by those looking in.
Sometimes creating boundaries and honouring them can be perceived by others as selfish, however, they are really investments in those we love.
Only when we stop to ask and don’t assume do we begin to really understand what other people’s lives are really like.