We’re DINKs And Damn Proud Of It

We are DINKS and proud.

Being DINKs, it’s not uncommon for us to get comments in passing about how easy and nice it must be. Clearly we must have more time, more money, and more energy than people with kids. Obviously we’re wrong for not wanting kids and we’ll want them at some point. Right?!

It can get aggravating at times, and I’m dedicating today’s post to tell people to stop treating childless-by-choice people like we’re some sort of fluke, don’t know what we want, or are irresponsible for not bringing another life into this world.

Let’s dig into some of the bullshit things Kristin and I hear semi-frequently. If you couldn’t tell, this is going to be an epic rant. You’ve been warned.

“Don’t worry, you have plenty of time to change your mind.”

This is by far the most common response we get when we tell people that we aren’t having children. Let’s back up for a second though. 9 times out of 10 when the conversation comes up, it goes something like this:

“Oooo, you guys got married this year, moving into a new house, next comes the kids!”

“Oh, we actually aren’t having kids. We’ll just get dogs instead.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh don’t worry, you have plenty of time to change your mind.”

“…”

“…”

I’m not sure why being child-free is still taboo in this day and age, but for some reason it still is. I used to just brush this one off and let it slide, but now I’ve made a point to tell people that we are 100% certain that we aren’t having kids.

Sometimes this raises more questions – is it a choice or a medical issue? Most of the time people drop the conversation altogether and we move on to something else, but not always.

There are countless people who want kids but are unable to. I can’t begin to imagine the emotional distress and frustration and sadness a situation like that would bring. But I would guess that being told “you have plenty of time to change your mind” to someone in that situation would be infuriating and heart-breaking.

Telling us we have plenty of time to change our minds is a very insensitive thing to say when you don’t know the details of our situation. If you do know those details, then it’s implying that we don’t know what we want ,and that you know better than we do, which is also infuriating. So please, just stop.

Why did you get married if you aren’t having kids?!?”

Because we love each other and want to spend the rest of our lives together. Kids aren’t a requirement of marriage, despite being told otherwise. I’m not sure why some people think that the only reason to get married is to reproduce, but it wasn’t why we got married.

In fact, part of the reason we got married was specifically because neither of us wanted children. We were compatible and make a good team.

“You will never know real love if you don’t have children!”

Believe it or not we have heard this – more than once. This is particularly upsetting because it points to a weak relationship with others and it implies that Kristin and I don’t love each other.

I’m not trying to deny that the love one feels for their children is different, and in some cases likely more profound, than the love one would feel to a spouse. But there are plenty of parents who don’t love their kids, and plenty of childless couples who remain happily in love with their spouse forever.

This one again undermines the foundation of the relationship child-free people have, and it’s really upsetting to realize that people think they don’t know real love without having kids. What would they call how they feel about their spouse? Fake love?

That’s not how Kristin and I view our relationship, and I would hope no other couple would view their relationship like that, but their words can suggest otherwise.

“I’d love to be as tired as you are!”

Our favorite way to piss off tired parents is to proclaim how tired we are. The classic response to a declaration of our physical condition is to attack us and deny that what we’re feeling is, in fact, tired. Kids are a lot of work – I get that. It’s more than I can comprehend and I don’t think anybody truly does until they’re a parent themselves.

But discounting our feelings just because you have your own is foolish and shuts us out. If it wasn’t clear, Kristin and I are very open and honest with each other, and we tend to extend that to our friends and family, our coworkers, sometimes even random people.

There is one surefire way to get us to not be open and honest with you, though, and that is to tell us that what we feel is less significant and less important than what you feel. Other people get tired and instead of denying their feelings, Kristin and I will simply acknowledge what they’re feeling, or offer ways to help should it be appropriate.

Kristin suffers from insomnia and has sleepless nights frequently. It’s mentally and emotionally draining, and yeah, it makes us tired.

You can afford it, it’s not like you have to pay for diapers.”

Diapers are expensive. Even if you get cloth diapers, you’ll have to shell out some cash for them up-front, and doing laundry that frequently I’m sure is not cheap. There are other things too implied by ‘diapers’ – food, clothes, sports and clubs, college…the list goes on.

Kids are expensive, there’s no denying that. Just because we don’t have that expense in our life, however, doesn’t mean that we have insurmountable amounts of money to spend on stuff. We have goals – like paying off the house early and retiring well before we hit traditional retirement age. High on our list is travel – though not in a permanent state – and, yeah, sometimes we enjoy nice things. We love going out to eat and we spend money on date nights frequently.

The thing about money is that it’s very personal. Just because you have a line-item for ‘diapers’ and not ‘expensive-ass-date-night’ doesn’t mean that we can afford anything we want. Our incomes are still modest, we still watch our spending, and we still track our progress toward big financial goals. We’ve just chosen to align our money with what we value, not what you value.

Believe me, we have heard it all. And, truth be told, we’re sick of it. We don’t give people with kids grief for having kids. It’s time that childless couples get the same respect.

We Have Goals

We have a lot of things we want to do, but our goals do not include having children. Some of our goals are for leisure and fun – things like traveling, for example. Others are for leaving the world a better place, and having a positive impact on others.

Having children is not a requirement to having a successful life. There are other ways in which we plan to positively impact those around us. Helping and educating others, bringing joy and amusement to them, and supporting them are all important to us.

We also want to have fur babies – so many helpless animals in this world get mistreated, and that’s heartbreaking to us. It may be a ‘small’ decision but it’s profoundly impactful to another life.

Just because raising children isn’t on our list of things to do with our lives doesn’t mean we have wasted them.

We Work Hard

This is why we’re tired. We both work hard, and hard work can be exhausting. All of our hard work is building a better life for us and we want to help build better lives for others as well. We won’t do this directly by having kids, but we’ll do it in other ways like I’ve already talked about.

There is this stigma of child-free couples that they aren’t hard workers and don’t want to put in the effort. We just want to be lazy, watch TV, drink, and relax – right?

Wrong.

We Had An Expensive AF 2017

And finally, just because we don’t buy diapers and have other expenses related to kids doesn’t mean we can afford everything we want. It turns out that having a wedding for 100 people 2000 miles away is not cheap; we knew that.

We were prepared to pay for it all ourselves without incurring debt (to be clear, we did have a little bit of help from parents and such but the vast majority was our hard-earned money). Building a house, also not cheap – and we sacrificed to make it happen.

Being freed of some expenses doesn’t mean we suddenly don’t care about where our money goes. We still budget, track our progress toward major goals, and don’t want to spend frivolously on stuff.

2017 has been the most expensive year of our lives, by a WIDE margin, and we need to be even more diligent on saving than we otherwise would. 2018 probably won’t be much better as we settle into home ownership, figure out our work situations (since I’m on a contract that may leave me jobless for a short period of time), and try to drive our savings rate up significantly.

We Still Love Kids

After all this ranting, I need to clarify: we love the kids in our life SO MUCH. We have two smart, sassy, wonderful nieces. We both love them to pieces. Our friends and neighbors have kids and we love spending time with them as well.

We aren’t anti-kid, and don’t judge anybody who DOES decide to have kids. It’s just not for us.

Another point of clarification: our friends and family have generally been extremely supportive of our decision. At first the conversations were a little difficult but it gets easier and easier.

We’re DINKs. We will always be DINKs. And we’re damn proud of it.

Question:

What has your experience been regarding kids – good, bad, or otherwise?

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44 Comments

  1. We are also DINKs right now, and while not 100% committed to staying childless forever, we’re certainly leaning hard in that direction. I like the lifestyle we have now and have never had a strong desire to have kids.
    It’s never an easy decision to justify to other people. I was at the doctor a few weeks ago and when I told him we likely weren’t planning on children he cared all surprised and asked who would take care of us when we were old. Like seriously doc, mind your business.

    1. For the beginning parts of our relationship we were both semi-open to the idea. But neither of us ever felt strongly about wanting kids. I know nobody’s READY for them, but we have never really WANTED them. We have a lot of other things we want to do with our lives and think that we can positively impact the world better without having kids.

      The doctor thing would be a bit frustrating for me, personally. Haven’t had to deal with those sorts of convos yet 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. My mother is insistent I will be infertile by the time we start trying to have a kid(in 3 years). I remind her we want to get married first but I need to finish my Master. Now I just call anyone out when they bring up kids. I think it’s weird that my mom thinks about the condition of my ovaries. We have similar goals to retire early but feel confident we can still do that and have one child. And don’t even get me started on the looks and comments I get when I say we’ll only have one kid. Good points my friend!

    1. Plenty of people have kids in their mid 30’s, even late 30’s or early 40’s. Plus if you guys are really worried about it there are other ways you can handle it like a surrogate.

      Ultimately it’s an extremely personal decision and I think the only people who need to make the decision are the two responsible for it. While I can understand some degree of concern, it’s really nobody’s place to make you feel bad about waiting.

      Thanks for sharing 🙂 Also if you want to come up and visit once the house is done (we close in less than two weeks!) you and DR are always welcome!

      1. We are also totally open to adoption. My company helps cover both IVF and adoption assistance. I the mean time we are just trying to save and pay the house off.

        We may take you up on that. DR’s grandma is in New Ulm. He used to spend summers in that area. It will have to wait till next summer though. We aren’t the wintering kind.

        1. One of my high school friends just adopted! It can be super expensive from what I hear, so the fact that your company helps cover some of that cost is incredible!

  3. Your article reminds me of how I feel as a person who would never consider having indoor pets. I like animals but I don’t want them inside and I don’t want to be shackled to the cost and hassle of caring for them. They simply represent way more trouble than the emotional return they provide to me and my wife. I can’t get my brain to a place where I can understand why anyone sees them as worth the trouble but I am not going to judge those that feel differently. Kids are kind of the same thing but with even more personal opinion attached. I did have kids but respect my sons decision not to have them and have no idea what my daughters will decide. If someone asks my opinion about having kids I am happy to share but I am not going to pretend I know more about your life and what makes sense for you than you do. Very well written post, but about your attachment to dogs, dude, we need to talk.

    1. Bahaha, the puppies are just too cute to not want one 🙂 Kristin is WAY more excited about that than I am though, that’s for sure.

      That’s great that you’re supportive of your son even though it’s (obviously) a different choice than what you made. Ultimately if people feel happy and fulfilled, I think that’s what matters most.

      Thanks for sharing as always!

  4. We love the lifestyle and freedom being DINKs allows us to have (and I’ll admit, it allows us to be a little lazy at home!) – it’s really helping us on our FIRE journey and if all goes well, we’ll reach financial independence by our early 40s. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    Now that I’m in my 30s, I get asked all.the.time. whether I have kids and receive the same “oh, you will eventually!” responses. I felt myself nodding my head as I read through your post. I get a lot of “must be nice” comments every time we take an awesome trip somewhere 🙂 #sorrynotsorry

    1. Whenever we get comments like that, I think to myself “You’re right, it IS nice!”. I know that people typically say things like that in judgement, but you just gotta roll with the punches on it.

      I will say yeah our weekends can be lazy at times, but we still do stuff frequently and I work on the blog mostly on the weekends, too. I like the OPTION to be lazy if I want, though. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. It’s not the exact same but we do hear it a lot…

    Before we had our son we loved our lifestyle and for the most part, we have kept a good majority of it with only having one child. We are extremely lucky he is pretty mild mannered. While it’s not the same, I’m sure as the endless questions you get when you don’t have kids, I feel like in a small way we get almost the same questions when we tell people we only plan on having 1 child.

    The most often one is “how can you do such a thing to him by not giving him someone to play with” I mean cmon! The kid has so many friends. My wife and sometimes I take him to play dates and he interacts just fine with others.

    oh, and the other most told comment; no I don’t plan to spoil him rotten since he is an only child.

    1. I think my parents were the same way before they had my brother. Sometimes couples just decide to wait a bit, for various reasons. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. We tried to have biological kids, but didn’t work out. That was hard with people offering “advice”. We adopted two kids from our area. Adoption is not expensive if you go local. Now they are almost out of high school. Time flies.

    So many times, we wished we were still DINKS! Ha ha. That’s normal, right?

    1. Thanks for sharing – I’m sure that must have been hard. Adoption is a great alternative if you’re not able to have your own biological kids; there are so many children who need a stable, loving home. 🙂 And yep I’m sure that’s normal haha

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  7. Sorry to hear that people are judging you about your life choices.

    I’m sure that the topic of kids (or lack thereof) is one that comes up too often, however, people will voice their opinions on anything.

    We’ve been travelling (6 months of the year) with our multiples since they were born. The first year it was “you won’t be able to do your 3,200mi drive when they’re two because they won’t sit for so long”. The next year it was “they’ll want to stop off and see the sights”. Then, “they’ll miss their friends” and so on. This will be our eighth year this year and we’re still going strong. Not one of anyone’s predictions have come true yet, people are still voicing them.

    Some people have a hard time with different but you only have one chance at this life and you have to do what makes you happy.

    Thanks for sharing and all the best.

    Besos Sarah.

    1. Wow, that’s awesome that you’re able to do that with kids. You’re right – people will voice their opinion on everything. And with kids a lot of people say that they hold you back but that’s a personal choice. Like people who say you can’t live in an apartment if you want to have kids…why not? It makes no sense!

      Good for you for doing what you guys want and providing a rich experience for your children. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  8. We’re DINKs who want to have kids soon (and respect and don’t criticize your decision not to). I think the world has changed in the sense that people are far more tired and overworked today than in the past, thanks to technology. When I was growing up in the 90s, I remember my dad’s day ended at 5 or 6, and he usually spent the rest of the day on leisure, unless he had a big project and had to bring work home.

    Now, it’s the opposite. Working nights and weekends is common, due to e-mail and smartphones. We’re all drained.

    I think this affects child-rearing in that parents are just far more tired and resource-starved than in the past. Don’t know that it’s a sustainable situation.

    1. I think with the advent and popularization of cell phones, more and more employers are expecting their employees to be on call 24/7 even if they don’t have a company phone. It can make it really tough for some people to truly disconnect and get that mental break they need. I know we’d struggled with that in the past; but now it’s less of a concern for us personally.

      The side-hustle culture these days has definitely perpetuated that ‘tons of work’ feeling I think, too.

      Thanks for sharing, Miguel.

  9. So glad you posted this! The whole world needs to just STFU about other people’s lives. Maybe you want kids and can’t have them, don’t want them but they happened, are perfectly satisfied with how many you have, maybe you want them but your partner doesn’t or can’t. One, two, five, twins, adoption, surrogates, IVF, just fur-babies… everyone’s life situation is unique and you gotta do what’s best for you and your values.

    The whole “family” thing is a VERY personal decision and the fact that people are super nosy, rude, and/or judgmental (especially TO YOUR FACE) drives me crazy. Like, yeah I’mma judge the couple with nine kids in my head but I won’t say a thing about it out loud. That’s their life and time and energy and money, not mine. My life and time and energy and money is mine, I will use it how my husband and I see fit and that’s the end of that.

    Way to write it all out in a clear and concise way. It’s awesome that you know your mind, and have great reasons to back it up. #Respect

    1. Yeah, there are so many factors that go into that decision and I just don’t get why it’s “expected” of EVERYONE. It’s such a personal choice and many reasons for people to make the decisions they do. You’re right – it’s everyone’s own life, time, money, and energy 🙂

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  10. I never knew what a DINK was until I just Googled it. Hey, that’s really cool. Ya’ll can wake up in the morning uninterrupted. You can do whatever you want all day long and create content together. That’s what I call a power husband and wife team. I do want to know what real love is but don’t know if there’s a special someone out there for me, or if I’m destined to have children.

    Do ya’ll have a YouTube channel I can watch you on so I can stay connected? 🙂

    1. We still have jobs during the week so we can’t be nearly as flexible as we’d like quite yet! Someday though we’ll get there. 🙂 If the blog takes off who knows, maybe it’ll be sooner than we think!

      We don’t have a YouTube channel but I’ve been toying with the idea of a podcast – TBD on that though.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  11. OMG. All of this.

    We actually did want kids for a few years, and tried, but our brains wised up before biology did, and we decided “Nope, this isn’t what we want.” Four years of trying to have kids, almost ten years of “actually no we don’t,” and people STILL tell us we’ll change our minds. Nobody questioned a couple of 23 year-olds seeking fertility treatments, nobody suggested we might change our minds, but two 27 year-olds seeking sterilization were “too young to make that decision.” (Ultimately he was able to get a vasectomy, but even now at 37 I can’t get a doctor to give me the time of day once I mention wanting a tubal.) Sorry for some TMI. lol

    These days, my husband is working on a second Masters degree and I have my dream career as an author. We live in Europe (he’s military), travel constantly, and have a lovely low-key life (we’re homebodies when we’re not traveling). From a lot of people, we either get “your life would be so much better if you had kids” or “you only get to do the things you do because you don’t have kids.” Like, which is it? Kids would enrich our lives or we should feel sorry for you because your kids drag you down? *scratches head*

    And of course being a military family, we are DEFINITELY outliers. Every time we transfer to a new base, it’s the same gauntlet of “How many kids do you have? Oh, when do you plan to have them? …Never? Really?” *side-eye* I can’t wait until he retires.

    So we’re 100% happy with our lives, and we’re thankful every day things didn’t work out when we DID want kids. Nothing is missing in our lives, least of all nothing that would be fixed by having kids. And even now, after 15 years together and with both of us creeping up on 40, we get to answer the same damn questions every time we meet new people. Every. Damn. Time.

    Sorry that went on really long!

    1. Wow, you’d think after 10 years people would not say anything 🙂 We’re going to go next year for a vasectomy for me most likely. I’m bringing Kristin along right away so we hopefully don’t have any issues with the doctors!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. It’s probably gender bias, or maybe the industry I work in, but my wife gets this stuff a lot more than I do. It doesn’t really bother me, but it drives her crazy.

    She’s become very cynical and sarcastic in her responses.

    When people tell her that she still has lots of time to change her mind, she is quick to point out that they do too and can give their kids up for adoption whenever they want.

    It’s a good way to end the conversation and move on to another topic.

    My way works too though.

    I just shrug my shoulders and say “we’ll see!” Because the truth is…they’re not wrong. We do still have time to change our minds. I’m pretty sure we won’t, but I’m not going to go so far as to say I’m 100% confident about ANYTHING in life.

    I don’t think it’s taboo to be kidless…it’s just unnatural.

    Reproduction is THE meaning of life from a biological perspective. That is just what organisms do…so it isn’t surprising that the default setting for most people is “have kids” without much thought about why or if it’s the right life choice or whatever.

    So I don’t really hold it against people for having a hard time wrapping their heads around our decision.

    We’re the ones who are going against the natural order of the universe…it’s reasonable that we should be the ones who have to explain ourselves.

    We have a number of well formulated, cogent reasons that we feel very strongly about.

    This is easier though:

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/84248620/no-kidsjust-money-family-car-sticker?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_us_d-accessories-other&utm_custom1=57affd09-d450-428f-9bcf-50fd5d8ab8bf&gclid=Cj0KCQjwr53OBRCDARIsAL0vKrOSVAhFr7H40yehzkgMPZ6XCKG_t8T1DtrSgWcrm7GTeYvDufWfuOgaAniGEALw_wcB

  13. The amount of dialogue there is around this topic now is so nice to see. We went through all of that with some of our family and general observers in life for years. When we got married 20 years ago we told our families to not even talk to us about having kids for 10 years. By the time we hit year 7 we knew we liked our lifestyle and did not want to change it. I know if we had had children we’d both be single parents because we would have divorced over differences in child-rearing beliefs. By remaining childfree we get to enjoy each other’s company and are still married after surviving cancer, bankruptcy, losing a home in the recession, and relocating a thousand miles away from our family and friends in order to recover from the recession. We’ve lost pretty much everything but we still have each other, and we’re very proud of that fact. And now that we are 47 years old people have stopped asking about the kid thing, although they’re surprised we don’t have grown kids hiding somewhere. Oh, and it’s really nice to see a man write on this topic, there are tons of articles by women ranting about this, but we rarely hear from a man. My husband would agree with you on everything.

    1. Knowing that kids just weren’t right for you guys is great – much better to know that and live your life that way versus not knowing and making a mistake!

      That’s a LOT to go through, and the fact that you guys are still together speaks to how strong of a relationship you’ve built.

      Thanks for stopping in and for providing your input! I’m happy to be a man speaking on it, because like you said I’ve read opinion pieces like this before, but I can’t remember a single one written by a man. 🙂

  14. You know exactly what you are doing. Take it from me , kids do not make a marriage. Two individuals with common goals, love strong, and dedication to each other. You know what you are doing. I hope to find that someone day….. Congrats on your wealth (love, intelligence, etc)

    (newly single mom with 2 sons).

    1. Thanks Andrea 🙂 Kids definitely don’t make a marriage. We’ve been told that if you don’t have kids within 2 years of getting married, the marriage is doomed. I’ve seen exactly the opposite, in my experience. My parents, together 45 years next year, waited like 10 years to have children.

      Keep at it and I’m sure you’ll find joy and happiness 🙂

  15. I adore my kid but I didn’t choose to try for zir til I was in my 30s. I was only going to adopt, then I wasn’t going to have kids at all because of my illness, then I was willing to consider it. But there’s a pretty even split between my friends: half have kids and half don’t. As long as those who choose not to or can’t have kids don’t despise kids, and withhold judgment on what a damn mess we are, then we don’t have any problems with the different lifestyles. And hell, we’re still good friends with people who generally hate kids. We still don’t have any problems.

    The problem I have is with people who pry into and presume to judge or dictate anything about our choices to reproduce or not! It’s nobody’s business if you choose to have 0, 1, 2, or 5 kids. Even worse when people pry into the business of people who tried and can’t have kids 🙁 And not having kids doesn’t automatically mean you don’t have any problems or expenses – the presumption that you can spend a childfree person’s money for them because they don’t pay for formula or childcare blows my mind.

    As for the result of having kids – we ARE exhausted. But I’ve had chronic pain and fatigue for near 20 years. I’ve been exhausted most of my life! The kid is a joy. And a pain. And hilarious, and a mess. In many respects, much like having a dog but this one is finally learning more vocabulary than the dog (Seamus) and WILL mimic cussing so probably should watch that particular verbal tic 😉

    1. It sounds like you’ve got some great people in your life, who have all sorts of different situations. You’re lucky to be surrounded by positive vibes and folks who don’t pass judgement 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  16. I think it is completely fine to not want kids. It is one of the strange pressures of life that others put on people, but why does it matter. There are plenty of people on this planet! I do think that having kids can bring meaning to a lot of peoples lives, but if you are living a life you love then why change anything! Good for you for taking a stand.

  17. Love this post Dave! I’m the youngest of 8 siblings and me and the oldest are the only one’s that don’t have kids. At 50 and after 27 years of marriage, I can’t say that it ever gets easier. Also, as you age, and people around you do start to have kids, they tend to gravitate toward others that also have kids. Individual choices like this are just that, individual.

    1. Wow Jim, that’s a big family! Good to know that we’re in these sorts of conversations for the long haul.

      Thankfully our two really great friends don’t have kids (one couple can’t, the other just hasn’t yet and TBD if they will…they may adopt but I wouldn’t be surprised at anything with them) so even if our friends with kids gravitate to other couples with kids, we’ve got a few non-kid friends to keep us company 🙂

  18. I had my daughter when I was 18. It was an accident. I kept her and got my college degree and love my life. But I never wanted kids. And never had any more. Actually I got my tubes tied to make sure. While I was younger OMFG the number of people who flat out told me I would change my mind when I met the right man…. I’d want to have *his* kids. And by people I mean random people who saw me walking around with my daughter and asked me if I was going to have any more.

    So even though I have a kid I feel your frustration. I get it completely because no one wanted to hear how I didn’t want to give her a sister. Or give my future husband children. People should keep their opinions to themselves.

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