life choices

My Kids Don’t Want Kids & I Have A Lot Of Feelings

I always assumed I’d be a grandma one day — but maybe not.

Young mother and baby.
Bruno Brunelli/Stone/Getty Images

All three of my teenagers have been pretty vocal about not wanting kids. My oldest was about 14 when he first started telling me the reasons: kids seem expensive, they are a lot of work, crying babies really bother him, and he didn’t think the world needed any more people. Of course, I thought he’d change his mind as he got older. Six years later and he still feels the same way — and his siblings agree with him.

I haven’t spent tons of time thinking about the day I become a grandmother, but I’ve always assumed that, one day, I’d be one.

I have imagined my kids coming home for the holidays with babies, diaper bags and strollers in tow. I’ve pictured myself baking with my grandkids and reading to them and rocking them to sleep. I’ve wondered if I would be able to take care of them while my kids go to work and I’ve often thought about how much I’d like to help them when they have newborns because, for me, that was the hardest part.

My kids are the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

But at this point, they seem to genuinely feel like they want their life to go a certain way and that kids aren’t in their plan. One of them wants to travel the world. Another is really focused on starting a business and doesn’t “want a life that has kids in it.”

I realize you never know what is going to happen and people change their minds all the time. But I have to admit that the thought of not having grandkids upsets me and leaves me feeling a little … lost. It was something I’d assumed I’d be. And the thought of having my kids grow up and move out and not having grandkids to look forward to means I have to accept the end of an era, and the fact another era might not even happen.

But I’m realizing that I need to start adjusting to the idea that my life might not involve grandkids. And I have to be okay with that and not make my kids feel guilty about their lifestyle choices. Their life is theirs, not mine. And I wouldn’t be the ones raising their kids anyway.

I can always get a puppy or visit my friends’ grandkids or volunteer to work with kids somewhere because I didn’t have kids to talk them into living their life according to me. I had kids because I wanted to and it felt as natural as breathing and all I want is for them to grow up knowing they are loved unconditionally.

Diana Park is a writer who finds solitude in a good book, the ocean, and eating fast food with her kids.