I’m writing this post from the airport terminal in Los Angeles. This will be my third trip in as many weeks. My husband and I went to New York for a weekend to celebrate my 40th birthday earlier in the month; next his job called him to Northern California and I tagged along with my traveling office. Now a family emergency means that I need to go home to England for a couple of weeks, so off I go again.
The thing is, if I had children, I couldn’t be doing this. If I had school schedules and missed classes to deal with, or frankly even if I had to find the money for three round-trip tickets instead of just one, it wouldn’t be feasible. Being childless not only allows me the do the fun things without worry, it leaves me free to take care of the other things that are important to me, namely my family—my mother and husband.
There’s a downside to this freedom, too. Although my geographically undesirable location means I’m usually the last person to be called in for family help, some of my friends are given more than their share of the responsibility because of their childlessness. Quite often I think that the sibling without children is given the responsibility for organizing family gatherings or taking care of aging relatives.
What do you think? How does your childlessness affect your role in your family?