October 06, 2006

Something for the Gratitude Journal

I was trying on some clothes in the four-stall fitting room at a department store when a woman walked in and tested all the doors to see if they were occupied. The woman in the stall across from me said, "We’re full in here but I’m almost finished. I’ve got a 9 month old I’ve left with my husband."

The woman waiting replied, "I’ve got a 4 year old and 6 year old and this is my first day of shopping without them in close to a year."

"I love shopping alone. Isn’t it awesome?" crowed the new mom.

"God, yes." Laughter from all the stalls. Except mine.

I was struck silent, thinking, "Hey, this is another childfree benefit I take for granted: shopping without kids in tow."

Later, in another store, this benefit was dramatised, as a mother walked in with two young kids. The eldest, a boy of seven or so, started to whine. "You said you were only going into one store. This is two stores. We need to get out of here."

He started to act up but the mother deftly negotiated five minutes more shopping time in exchange for a trip to McDonalds.

Which brings me to Benefit #2: I don’t have to eat at McDonalds.

I haven’t been to a McDonalds in…. Gee, I don’t know how long it’s been. Ages…since I burned the roof of my mouth eating a hot apple pie. Do they still sell those things or has someone finally sued them over the fact that those pies took two layers of skin off your palate?

Anyway, I’m a bit of a food snob so the reminder that I will never to have to eat at McDonalds again sent me into another spasm of gratitude.

What about your childfree life brings up feelings of gratitude?

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alphagirl said...

Everything about my childfree lifestyle elicits feelings of gratitude: Shopping uninterrupted by a whiny child, being greeted in the morning by purrs and nuzzles from my pets instead of by a screaming infant in a soiled diaper, time to read, reflect, and study in blissful silence instead of in the harsh blaring of the 10,000th showing of the lastest Disney flick on DVD, time spent with friends and loved ones without the need to rush home to pay the sitter and to get them on their way, a home free of the smell of stale milk, diapers, and the other elements of "babystench," and finally, a spontaneous, stolen moment with a Significant Other that does not have to be planned days in advance.

The list is much longer, but you get the drift. =)

To paraphrase a popular saying: If I wanted to hear the pitter patter of little feet, I would've put sneakers on my pets!

Chase said...

I don't think there's enough time in the day to list all my gratitude for a lack of kids.

Alone time.
No hassles.
No food-sharing.
No diaper changes.
Vacation - REAL vacation.
Time to blog.
Sleeping in.

*sigh* Lovin' it. :)

Elise said...

Everything alphagirl said, but #1 for me is probably...enough sleep. That will come up, over and over again, as #1 for me.

My fiance, who is a step-parent from his previous marriage and raised his step-daughter from the time she was 4 as his own, reports that becoming a parent (figure) changes your sleep patterns, even long after the children are out of the house. He was always a light sleeper, but it's worse, he reports, since he became a step-parent.

Me, I sleep through most thunderstornms. 8^)

Second would be the ability to save for retirement (or, at the rate we're all going, even *have* a retirement, period).


alphagirl said...

Oh, yeah...sleep..my personal favorite. =) How could I forget?
I'm grateful that I can have a night's sleep uninterrupted by the everyday needs of a child, and the even more urgent needs of a sick child(read: having to wash vomit-covered bedding and pj's at some ungodly hour)!

Anonymous said...

I am someone who likes and NEEDS a LOT of "me" time which I just wouldn't get as much of if I had a child!
I love to travel and I do and I've heard that this too is MUCH harder with children in tow! It might be OK with one but I know two couples who tried it with THREE! The kids didn't want to eat any foreign food and so on and the parents wanted to try it and couldn't! I also know that one of these couples and one other couple I know of haven't travelled overseas/abroad for years - one of them 13 years, one of them 15! and both said it's harder to travel with children! Travelling is mine & hubby's greatest passion!
Sleeping in yes! I babysit my 2nd cousins a few times. One night the baby woke every two hours and cried. It took me a whole week to stop waking up every two hours after that even though baby was no longer there! I don't need as much sleep as most but I do need more than most new mums seem to get!
Peace & quiet or even a night out say dancing or dining (or both!) not as easy with a child/chidren in tow!
My career, which I have to work on at the moment a bit (extra training, yawn!) it would be harder to find the time with a child as well! AND if I was working on my career AND a child I'd have even LESS free time as I've already said. I see how frazzled and busy some working mums seem to be and I say NO THANKS!
And relying on a hubby's income after about 15 years of working in some capacity and having some money of my own? NO THANKS!
I like to sometimes watch kids movies but not ALL the time. And I like to watch them usually on DVD and in peace & quiet! I like to also be able to watch stuff that ISN'T for kiddies! like "Whodunnits".
I'm not a big shopper but it's hard enough when I go shopping with hubby. Usually we split & catch up later so we can both look at what we want to. It would be MUCH harder with a child!
I used to try to drag MY mum out of the clothes shops!
I like having more money, time, energy and freedom than I would have if I had a child. And all the above are VERY important to me!
Oh! And as for McDonalds! I've gone RIGHT off it, did a few years ago, burger king ditto. Don't like it anymore, don't miss it. The desserts are OK, the burgers are crap. And in some of the ones - esp some of the Burger Kings in London - the toilets were filthy. Don't miss that AT all!

Anonymous said...

I love that after a long hard day stuck in a classroom with teens. Babysitting -oh I mean teaching them lessons on health education. I get in my car, turn up my tunes loud and breath. I watch the kids grow small in my rear view window and know I only have a dog to tend to when I get home. On weekends, this ritual is even more sweet. No homework to help them with, no parent calling when my kid has been a jerk or skipped school. No phone calls at work with over tired women on the other end telling me that my kid is sick, come pick up. Nothing but what ever I want when my work day is done. Childfree is dreamy.

Tiara Lynn said...


I'm coming off an amazing weekend. It began with an overnight Friday trip for an out-of-town concert. We stayed up until the wee hours, hung out with the bands and socialized with friends who we rarely see because of the distance.

Saturday my husband hosted a birthday party for me, complete with tasty fancy martinis, a dozen and a half friends coming and going and a game of Apples to Apples that lasted well past midnight.

Today my husband and I met friends at the Chicago women's roller derby finals where we cheered on a bunch of rabid ladies on skates (a few of whom are close friends), loud punk music and a rowdy, enthusiastic crowd. We got home around 10pm and are still coming down from the excitement.

Sure, we may have been able to hire a babysitter for one of these events. Our busy social calendar reminds us of how much we love our childfree life. And even when we purposely block of the weekend for "just us", we appreciate it more for the quiet moments snuggling up on the sofa watching movies or going for long walks together.

I'm grateful for my life.

Teri said...

LauraS - Spasms of laughter!

I'll never forget the first time my cousin and her family, including my niece and nephew (ages 4 and 7 at the time) came to visit us. The kids were promised a McDonald's dinner and when it came time to deliver, they were incredulous that I actually did not know where the closest McDonalds was!

I am grateful for the freedom to go somewhere for the holidays, and not worry about a big present exchange. I am also grateful that my husband and I can have so many candle lit dinners...Oh, and everything on Chase's list!

Anonymous said...

I'm most grateful for being childfree when I see how awful my friends' kids are turning out.

Anonymous said...

Oh YEAH! I can relate to THAT one!! There was a boy I taught in Nursery who was a handful then and he is MUCH worse now!!
There was a boy on Supernanny who was swearing at his mum and trying to punch her!
The day before THAT there was a boy who'd thrown his family's cat out the window because he was jealous of it!!
My own brother was really awful to my mum and dad for several years, swearing at them, smashing mum's perfume bottles, nearly killing himself, telling Dad "I hate you and I hope you have a really horrible father's day" and calling mum a "b....!" Apparently trying to sell drugs to other kids in school. He's out of that stage now but what hell he put them through as a teen!
WHAT little S...s some kids can be. Not ALL; some of them are really wonderful, lovely and totally charming!! But you just never know which one you might get!
If I had one of the above (NOT the lovely charming ones of course, the monster ones! I'd probably try and sell it I'm not kidding!!

ChrisR said...

I guess I'm grateful for time. To read, to travel, to eat decent food, to watch interesting movies, to work back late if I need to, to do things with no advance planning.

More to the point, it's the time to be 'me', not what someone else wants me to be. You know, I don't have to be someone's mum or playdate or whatever, I can just be Chris.