I Don't Want Children & There Is Nothing Wrong With That

I'm A Woman Who Doesn't Want Children, Please Respect That There Is Absolutely Nothing Wrong With That

Apparently everyone in my life expected me to grow up to be a mother, except me.

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I knew when I was about 17 that I did not want to have children when I grew up. It was at a point in my life where I spent a lot of time considering the future I wanted for myself. I thought about it probably more than I should as a senior in high school and ultimately decided that I just had no desire to have children.

I had friends at the time who were unclear about what they wanted to do with their lives. They didn't know what they wanted to major in or what career they wanted. All they knew was that they wanted to be a mother. I had a lot of respect for them because I could never see myself as a mother or wanting to be one. In the same way that they knew without a doubt that they wanted children, I was sure that I didn't.

Until I really thought about it and came to the conclusion that I didn't want kids, I hadn't noticed how often people reference my hypothetical children. I came to realize that the expectation of me to become a mother was enormous. My parents, the rest of my family, my teachers and mentors, all of them seemed to have this picture of me with children. The phrase "well when you're a mother..." was apparently commonly used in my life. I found myself continuously having to explain that none of the hypothetical scenarios the people in my life were referencing would ever exist.

Sure I could let it go and just allow people to have their own vision of my future, but some part of me felt a need to question why it was automatically assumed that I would become a mother. So many women feel that the feminist movement judges them for decided to be stay-at-home mothers, and I have never been one to say that wanting children makes a woman less of a feminist. However, until then I had never understood the pressure women are under to become mothers.

The worst part was that when I responded to people's comments by saying that I didn't want children, they would immediately tell me "you'll change your mind". To everyone around me, it seemed unfathomable that I would not want to be a mother. My family treated the issue like there was something they knew that I didn't and that when I grew up I would magically want kids. I've never discounted the fact that I could change my mind at some point, but no one respected that I know myself and what I want.

I even had a moment with a close friend of mine. He was telling me how he couldn't wait to have kids, and I was unable to relate, eventually telling him that I actually didn't want children. I could never have predicted his response. He used the words "what you're meant to do" telling me how unnatural it was that I didn't want to be a mother. I was so shocked, that someone my age and who knew me so well could be so upset with the fact that I didn't want kids.

In reality, today less American women are having children than ever before. It shouldn't come as a surprise that as young women are deciding what they want their lives to look like, many choose not to involve children in their aspirations. It's clear to me that society has quite a lot of work to do if we still expect girls to aspire to motherhood without holding boys to the same standard.

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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