Having children in my life is one of the most rewarding feelings I've ever imagined – they just are not mine.
My husband and I have chosen as child-free. , a choice that more American women meet. According to The New York Times the US has achieved a record birth rate for the second year in a row. One of the main reasons young women have said they did not have children ̵
I understand. I have no problem with children, I just do not want any. That's why I chose to hunt, a kind of descriptive description of the joyful, heartfelt care of children who are not your own – not just nieces and nephews or even biological relatives, but also the children of your friends. Based on a report from 2012 the website Savvy Auntie, which dedicates resources to "PANKS" (professional aunt, no children), estimates that every fifth woman is 18 years old and up to 23 million is North American women have no children but they have a special attachment to the child of another.
Aunting is my preferred childcare. I love children, I also like to give them back to their parents.
I am in a group text chain called "The Patinnen". It consists of mothers and non-mothers. She came from a friend who had a baby and hoped that her sweetheart would play an important role in her daughter's life. And while she officially named two childless women in our group as fellow goddesses, we all bear the responsibility. We write daily – often every hour – and chat about everything from the latest news to our parents to gossip to celebrities. We share many photos – especially of the children.
I love being with all the children of my friends and families and my goddaughter. I'm looking forward to the days when I can take her to manicures, Broadway shows and maybe even traveling.
Kristen Luna, a journalist who runs the hugely successful blog Camels and Chocolate and was married this December for nine years and says she and her husband are satisfied with their decision to be child-free , She tells me by e-mail: "Ten years ago, we decided that none of us wanted children and that decision was never influenced." She recalls the day the decision was settled. "We were in a hotel in Guatemala City when we both admitted that none of us wanted children (thank god we were on the same page!). Although people still want to tell us that we will change our mind (insert eye roll here) … even though we are 35 and 44 and pretty sure we know each other better. "
Luna is a proud aunt who quickly shows you the Nieces & Nephews folder on her phone as if they were her own children. "I have three nieces and two nephews and the children of some cousins, whom I treat in the same way. I can spend a lot of time with everyone, so I definitely get enough of my child! Just last weekend, we retreated to the mountains with my sister's in-laws – including nine children, eight of whom are under the age of ten – and though I'm not related to any of them, I'll gladly claim them as mine own anyway. "Luna's sister had a baby last spring; She is 8 months old and Luna will tell everyone that she is her favorite person on the planet after her husband.
My husband and I are also fortunate to be a biological aunt and uncle, which was an incredible experience. Our niece started spending the night with us when she was a little girl, and while, I'm sure, we've made very inhumane judgments – as if she'll let her jump on the furniture, stay up so long, as she pleases and makes her brownies and ice cream for breakfast – we have experienced the joy of this role early in our marriage. This niece is now 18 years old and we just took her on a trip to Peru and joined Machu Picchu. Our nephew will do the same thing next year.
I know these are formative experiences that my niece and nephew will remember for the rest of their lives. I will too. I also know that it was hard and expensive, and I am glad that I had the privilege of giving them something special, without the tremendous responsibilities that a genuine parenthood of 18 years brings. As Luna tells me, she values most about child freedom: "I am not responsible for another person's livelihood, their well-being, their emotional development, their happiness and their education. That's a HUGE burden that I'm not sure I want to endure. I'll be the first to say that all the parents who choose this path are absolute saints. They do the work of the Lord, as we say in the South. "
In the past I felt that people assume that I have no children because I do not like them and that kind of idea created a big gap between those who are childless and mothers (19459004 ), as if we were going to compete against each other for our chosen life. However, I believe this is changing as more and more of us choose to be free of children. As women, so many of our choices are made for us. I can only hope that as mothers and those who voluntarily have mothers without offspring, we find ways to support each other and our choices.
For me, this means that I get the best of both worlds: being part of my favorite people's family and leaving the child to those who are better suited to the job. I really believe that children enrich our lives, and travel for my husband and me, our careers, a marathon and the world together. I will not speculate if women who want to be mothers can "have everything". But for me, I have everything I need.
Anne Roderique-Jones is a freelance writer and editor whose work appeared in Vogue, Marie Claire, Southern Living, Town & Country and Condé Nast Traveler. Twitter: @AnnieMarie_ Instagram: @AnnieMarie_