Ina Garten: Not having kids ‘is a choice & that was the choice I made’

40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards

Ina Garten is a domestic goddess. I covet her life. I covet her Hamptons house. I covet her kitchen. I covet her herb garden. I covet her fabulous friends. I covet her poker nights with all of her gay-dude friends. I covet her marriage to the happiest man in the world, Jeffrey Garten. Jeffrey is the dean of a college, and he’s away from the Hamptons for half the week. When he returns to the Hamptons for long weekends, Ina always cooks him a special meal (and it’s usually kosher). In Jeffrey’s absence, Ina is mostly just cooking for her friends and for herself. Jeffrey and Ina have been together for 48 years. They know what’s up and they have their relationship completely figured out. And as it turns out, having kids was never on the menu.

Ina Garten and her husband Jeffrey have one of the most coveted marriages on television. Over the course of 48 years together, they’ve shared laughs, love, and not to mention very good food, but the pair decided early on that they wouldn’t share kids together.

“We decided not to have children,” the Food Network star says in a new episode of the Katie Couric Podcast airing on Thursday. “I really appreciate that other people do and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to but it was a choice I made very early. I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I’ve had. So it’s a choice and that was the choice I made.”

When Couric brought up the stigma that often surrounds married couples who decide not become parents, Garten says she never felt judged for her decision. “I never felt that people did,” she says. “I think the one thing that we miss is a lot of people’s friends are the parents of their kids’ friends. So we never had that connection with other people that I see, that network. But no I never felt judged by it—maybe people did but I didn’t notice.”

[From People]

Ina worked for years/decades to get where she is – she often talks about the years she spent getting up at 4 am to make chicken salad for her restaurant, The Barefoot Contessa, or the time she spent in Washington working as a policy wonk. Her career as a professional chef/cook started somewhat later in life, and she’s probably right – she wouldn’t have been able to work as much as she has throughout adulthood if she had kids. She’s also right about how it’s a choice and it’s a choice some women make. It’s a choice I’ve made too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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238 Responses to “Ina Garten: Not having kids ‘is a choice & that was the choice I made’”

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  1. L84Tea says:

    I want to put Jeffrey in my pocket and take him home. He’s so cute!

  2. Jenns says:

    “My best friends have kids…”

    LOL. I love her so much. I’m child free and don’t give a flying f**k about kids. If people ask me why I don’t have them, I have two responses depending on my mood: “I don’t want them” or “It’s none of your business”. The end.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Same.

      Especially if the choice is taken mutually and both parties agree about it (I asked to my husband if he wanted them before getting married, to be honest!), it should not be anybody else’s business.

      I used to watch her show but I haven’t done that in ages, I’m too busy.

    • anna says:

      my favorite line upon telling people that i’m not interested in children: “just wait, you will want them eventually.” i hear that for ten years now. still waiting.

      • zxc says:

        That’s when you ask them if they ever thought of getting a pony, and if they look at you like you’re crazy you start convincing them it’s the best thing ever and in a few years they’ll be mature enough to see it, surely…

      • sendepause says:

        Uh, I love that zxc! Totally gonna steal it for everyday life situations!

        … when you just meet the right person, you´ll want to have a pony with them
        … you will regret to never have had a pony
        … why don´t you want one — do you hate ponies?
        … tick tock, tick tock — it´s your biological clock ticking, you better hurry up and get a pony
        … you are just too selfish for not wanting a pony
        … aren´t you afraid to miss out on life experiences if you never have ponies?
        … You only will know what it´s like to be a real woman after you had a pony

        :D

      • scootypuffjr says:

        Zomfg, same here. When I was in a long-term relationship, I got asked this constantly. Some people just can’t wrap their head around the fact that other people don’t want the same things they do.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      “I really appreciate that other people do and we will always have friends that have children…”

      Why does anyone have apologize for such a personal decision, or assure listeners that they don’t hate children or parents?

      My favorite reply “Why have children when you can have cake?”

      • third ginger says:

        One of the bravest and wisest decisions in life is doing what you know is best for you despite social pressure. Although I wanted a child desperately and finally had one at age 40, I cannot convey how much respect I have for individuals and couples who know themselves well enough to make a choice that is good for them. Anna, I am an old lady and just want to assure you that people will talk crap forever about things they know nothing about. It’s a favorite pastime for some.

      • norahb says:

        Mine is “Why have kids when I can be a fun Aunt?”

      • Dee Kay says:

        @third ginger, thank you for your comment. As a married childfree woman, I really appreciate the support of parents like you who understand my decision not to cave to social pressure. I am so grateful for what you write about respecting “individuals and couples who know themselves well enough to make a choice that is good for them.” And I SO AGREE with your last couple of sentences :) . Thank you!!

      • Betsy says:

        “Why does anyone have apologize for such a personal decision, or assure listeners that they don’t hate children or parents?”
        I have child free friends who chose not to have children specifically for this reason.

    • Jaded says:

      I have always asked myself would I be a good Mom not do I want kids. Knowing myself I don’t think I would be a great mom, I feel like it’s a responsible way to look at it.

    • Megan says:

      We’re child-free by choice and, as we have aged, our circle of friends has evolved into couples who are also child-free. Nothing intentional about it, but I suppose like finds like.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I usually just say that I have no plans to have kids, I’ve just never had the desire. Most people leave it at that, but a female co-worker one time kept pressing me on “didn’t I feel that I was missing something?”

      I told her I had a dream a few years back where I was pregnant. It was so real. I explained (looking deep in her eyes) when I woke up, I was so incredibly sad deep down in my soul because I felt like everything I’d wanted to do in my life wouldn’t happen because I was pregnant. I know I do not want to me a mother. That dream removed all doubt.

      She seemed shaken and troubled by my thoughts. To borrow from Britney, you can’t handle my truth.

      • Wellsie says:

        What is wrong with your co-worker (and other people like her)? When people are so oblivious to how prying and basic they are it drives me nuts.

        I have kids and love them and our life, but I’m not so dense that I can’t see other people’s point of view. Blarg.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Exactly, Wellsie. It is such a personal choice, and who would want someone to become a parent because they felt obligated or pressured? Ultimately, she was a shitty person for a number of reasons, and that was just one of the red flags.

      • Christin says:

        The person who quizzed and attempted to guilt-trip me the most was a former classmate. The subject came up every single time I saw her. My response was always a brief and chirpy, “We decided to have pets instead”. She would even ask if my parents didn’t want to be grandparents. Guilt trip city!

        Fast forward — She abandoned her family (three kids, aged 5 to 12 at the time). Her co-workers have since told me that she did not want more than one child, and fretted during each subsequent pregnancy. Apparently she did not believe in BC for religious reasons. So, her relentless quizzing was likely tied to seeking reinforcement for her own doubts.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Wow, Christin! That is all kinds of sad.

    • Sarah says:

      My sister is two years younger than I am, 53, and has no kids. She is happy as a clam. She is an athlete, and works out about 2 hours a day, then goes to the job she loves. She gets home around 9PM, where her long time boyfriend has dinner ready for her, they eat together and she really enjoys his company. She was married to someone else but because there were no kids involved, it was easier (NOT easy, but easier) for her to finally decide to divorce him. ‘
      I have three kids I love to death. I also have huge student loans from their college (which we are sharing with them) and I have stayed with my husband, when maybe I wouldn’t have, for the sake of the kids. I do love him, he’s a good man, maybe not the best for me in particular, but because he wasn’t abusive, was a great dad, a loyal husband, etc., etc., I never felt that leaving him was worth the angst it would have caused my daughter, in particular.
      Every life has trade-offs. As long as people are happy, we shouldn’t judge anyone’s status as a parent or not a parent.

  3. PunkyMomma says:

    Ina and Jeffrey have been staunch supporters of Planned Parenthood, too. Props to her for living her dream.

    I covet Ina’s Paris apartment.

    • Pix says:

      I love her too and have almost all of her cookbooks. Her recipes are great. As a “personality” I feel like she has an unknowable quality that I appreciate. She’s keeps it about the food. She’s not playing to the masses and revealing every benign detail of her existence. I have certainly never judged her for not having children, but I don’t know that I would ever judge anyone about that.

  4. adastraperaspera says:

    She is my celebrity friend crush. I dream that she makes me a lovely themed brunch!

  5. Clare says:

    So much this – having children is a CHOICE.

    I’m so sick of women being shamed for not having children. I relative posted something on facebook yesterday, about a 30 year old woman who couldn’t have children and whenever someone asked her about it she put on a brave face but then ‘went home and cried’. As if the ONLY reason a 30 year old woman wouldn’t have kids is because she couldn’t. Ridiculous. Rage. I wish people would stop normalizing this insane mindset that if you dont have kids by a certain age, something just muuuuust be wrong with you.

    #endrant.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      “I’m so sick of women being shamed for not having children.”

      I wish they would stop asking over and over again too. Once they get an answer, that should be definitive. Instead they insist endlessly until you start answering in an impolite manner.
      That should not be necessary.
      #endofmyrant

      • Venus says:

        I’ve watched Ina for YEARS and never once wondered whether she has children. Who would ask a professional male chef that question? Seriously, it’s no one’s business.

      • Clare says:

        @silverunicorn – I find it additionally troubling and stressful every time someone asks when we are having kids because although I don’t want kids, my husband does. He is wonderful and has chosen to respect my choice (sincebhey, my body!), it does open a can of worms and often leads to a rehashing of conversations that bring up a tonne of hurt feelings (sadness for him, feeling like a shit wife for me).

        It’s just no Ines business you know? If we aren’t shagging you don’t get to ask me about my plans for procreation. You don’t get to shame me for it. And you definitely don’t get to tell my husband that I’ll ‘come around’.

        I know this is super personal shit, but it makes me so angry!

      • Nicole (the Cdn One) says:

        @silverunicorn – I’m in my late 40s now so they’ve stopped asking, but when I was younger – this is how I responded:

        Them: “So, when are you guys going to have children?”
        Me: “When we get back from the Orient.”
        Them: “You’re going to the Orient?”
        Me: “No.”
        Them ” . . . . . [long pause] ohhhhhhhh”

        Seemed to do the trick :)

      • lilipad says:

        People in general have no boundaries. Before we got married, it was “When are you getting married? Don’t you want to get married? Don’t your parents want you to get married?” Then, “When are you having kids? Are you having problems getting pregnant? (W-T-F kind of question is this?!) Are your parents excited about being grandparents?” Then, when we had the first kid, “When are you going to have the second one? You really don’t want to have an only, they grow up so selfish. (again, WTF people!) You want to have them [close/medium/far] apart in age so they can [be best friends/play together/oldest can protect the little one]. ETC.” Now that we have two girs… “So when are you having a third one? Don’t you want to have a boy? Wouldn’t a boy be so cute? Doesn’t your husband want a boy? Oh, you’re craving Thai food – maybe you’re pregnant! With a boy!” My response is smile, nod my head, murmur some polite noise of assent, immediately excuse myself to get a drink, go to the facilities, say hello to someone else, make a phone call. They usually don’t ask again. We are lucky that we have a CHOICE and hopefully, we will make the choice that is right for each one of us. There’s no duty to have children. Each child *should be* fervently wanted, not created because of dumb societal expectations.

    • Kitten says:

      This. I’m envious of Ina because I definitely feel the judgment. HARD.

      It’s rude and intrusive enough to be asked about having kids but the way society perpetuates this narrative that kids are the American Dream or the forgone conclusion of marriage makes me want to tear my hair out. Women are more than just baby-makers. That is not to judge any person who has children, just to make the point that women who don’t have children are not somehow *lesser than*. Different strokes for different folks.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        “That is not to judge any person who has children, just to make the point that women who don’t have children are not somehow *lesser than*. ”

        Yep. I must also paste your quote all over the internet considering the reactions to some of my comments…

        I also try not to feel the judgement and have started to avoid the topic altogether in real life but sometimes… it gets brought up by people I haven’t seen in ages..

        I just wish they would stop asking, that’s it.

      • jugil1 says:

        Kitten, I can’t agree more. I’m over 40 with no children (my choice) & yet the way people, relatives act, you would think I have a terminal illness. My favorite quote is “Don’t you think you’ll regret it later if you don’t have kids?” I always say “what if you regret having them when they’re here”. It’s ridiculous.

        Why is there a burden to assume that every woman wants children? I never did. I like other people’s kids, and I also like going home & saying goodbye to other people’s kids. The judgement put on “childless women” is absurd.

      • NotSoSocialButterfy says:

        It is rude and intrusive. And lazy! I think people use the query as a lazy way to connect with someone, because from their POV parenthood is a nearly universal experience.

        So much more acceptable would be a inquiry into travel experiences, news headlines, hobbies, potential for common friends at a function, recent NPR stories, etc. Mr. NSSB likes to ask people what they enjoy doing in their spare time- that opens conversations beautifully.

        Asking about children is just lazy conversation.

      • Nicole says:

        I just had a partial hysterectomy last Tuesday. Now I’m being asked when I’ll adopt or foster. Shut UP. I am healing you boneheads.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Well said, Kitten!!! Hell yes!

      • detritus says:

        I don’t even get asked If, I get asked When.

        This is especially hard if as a couple you are hashing it out.

        My partner, 6 years older, rarely gets asked, and if he does its ‘are you having kids’, not ‘when are you’.

    • sienna says:

      I think the saddest thing of all is having a child if you don’t really want one. My father never wanted children, but he relented after 10 years of marriage and they had me. He left a few years later and we have no relationship. I’m lucky that I have the world’s greatest mom and now stepdad.

      Most parents stay but resent their kids. I know many people who only had children because of social pressure and regret it..

      Accepting and respecting that different choices are right for different people leads to a lot less unhappiness for everyone.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        “My father never wanted children, but he relented after 10 years of marriage and they had me.”

        Same here. And my brother and I ended up being part of an abusive home environment (my father didn’t leave, don’t know if that would have been better…. however, we do not have any relationship with him either).

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Oh I have gone full a**hole on the topic. I’m in my early 30s and around 25 I realized that the “maybe” surrounding kids was turning into “most likely not”. Coupled with the fact that I have yet to meet someone I would even consider moving in with? It doesn’t look like it’ll happen. I’ve never been in the “no way” camp but have started pretending I want no kids under any circumstances. It’s easier. And if someone wants to tell me I just don’t knoooow the joy? I tell them that having their kid scream for 30 minutes didn’t help. Shuts them up quickly.

      I’ve been a total a** to people who want to force their idea of happiness on me. Again, never say never but … I mean it sounds exhausting, frankly. I’m just not into it. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m not waiting for all of my friends to reproduce. Babies are awesome but not 24/7. I’ll be the spinster aunt with the good makeup and the cocktail in the corner. There are worse things.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        “Coupled with the fact that I have yet to meet someone I would even consider moving in with? It doesn’t look like it’ll happen.”

        I married in my 40ies and still didn’t want kids. Worse, one of the requirements for us to get married was to agree about being childfree.
        Do not marry/partner up with someone who thinks differently from you, unless you are the one available to change your mind. Wanting/not wanting kids is very important in a relationship (now… don’t ask him/her about that on your first date though LOL)

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I think once you’re in your 30s and your date doesn’t have kids already, it’ll come up quickly. I’m shocked to find that almost every guy I meet wants kids. Right now. I can’t deal with someone who’s 100% certain and won’t budge because I’m undecided. Or rather, I’m leaning towards no. Heavily. I don’t know if in a year or two, a guy will cross my path and I’ll think “Yes, let me have your baby!” but really, how likely is that? But the pressure of “I definitely want kids.” is not for me. I have the odd thought of “But you’ll be alone with your cat.” but I don’t know if that’s society or really me. But that is no reason to bring a child into this world.

      • NotSoSocialButterfy says:

        This whole diatribe made me laugh so hard, from the “gone full a**hole” to “the spinster aunt with good makeup and a cocktail in the corner.”

        I have three teenagers and think women like you would be a hell of a fun friend to have!

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        NotSoSocialButterfy – I’m bringing the wine. The days when I was silently fuming are over. It’s just so condescending. I am so happy for my friends when they get married or have babies, I just don’t understand why my life has to be labeled “sad” etc. by some … acquaintances. 2016 was the year I said “f*ck it”. Stopped hanging out with certain people, leaned into the carefree single life hard. I think it offended some people. I’m supposed to shrivel up and cry because if I don’t, it means their life choices aren’t the only option. The horror!

      • Beth says:

        I’m in my late 30′s and I finally found a guy who doesn’t want any more kids. He has 2 from a previous relationship. Thank goodness! All other guys wanted to start families. I knew there had to be a guy like him somewhere. I haven’t lived together with any bf because I was never sure how it would be. I’m careful about serious stuff like that. Maybe my bf ends up being the one I’ll have forever. That would be great!

        When people nag me about how I’d be happy with kids and to hurry up, i think that’s so rude. I’m happy already. Not everyone wants or can have kids. None of their business.

        @littlemissnaughty, being an aunt is awesome. I love it because you can enjoy being with the kids but send them home to their mom when you’ve had enough of them

      • BTownGirl says:

        Yup, I’ve gone full zero f**ks given too! I’m 35, my fiance is 50 and has teenage-young adult children, so we’re not having any. It worked out perfectly, because I love kids but never reeeeaaaallly wanted to have my own. Between my stepkids and my niece and nephew, I’m all set. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people, out of alleged “concern”, respond to the very happy news of my engagement like, “Are you SURE you’re not missing out?” or “Are you SURE you’re not settling, because if you found someone younger…” I don’t even respond to the question really, I just bring up the fact that we’ve been to France several times this year while looking pointedly at their minivans. Seems to do the trick.

      • Anna says:

        to be honest, i don’t even want to date guys who have kids. all i ever wanted was a strong, loving partnership with one person who loved me back and was faithful. kids were never of interest to me and especially not now that i’ve been teaching for over a decade. the older i get, though, the harder it is to find a guy who doesn’t have kids or now that i am in mid-40s doesn’t want kids (since the likelihood of me carrying a baby is pretty slim even if i wanted that) and i’m too old to deal with anyone’s parents giving me grief because their son loves me but will never give them the grandkids they are desperate for…ugh…it’s all so confusing…i work so much i don’t even know how to date anymore, can’t remember the last time i actually went on a proper date…

    • Carol says:

      I’m sick of women being shamed at all: Oh, you don’t want kids? Oh, you want kids? You’re stopping at one? You’re having more? Aren’t you having too many? You’re staying home with them; aren’t you just wasting your education? You’re going back to work; why have kids if you’re letting someone else raise them? You’re not breast-feeding? You are breast-feeding?

      The list never ends.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I saw that thing going around too. Every time there was someone who said “or she made the choice to be child-free.” There are so many reasons, including that and the whole list, so people need to just mind their own business and stop asking women about it.

    • Jessica says:

      We chose not to have, and I hate it when people press on it with me. Our choice. And we love Ina and Jeffrey!

      • Andrea says:

        My mother’s biggest regret was marrying my father and having me. She had a potential full career in IBM, one of the only women in her field who knew computers at the time and turned it down for the easy life of marrying my father who had money and promised she’d never have to work again if she didn’t want to. I’m 36 now and have lived away from home since 18. She has been nothing but miserable/verbally abusive to my father and myself for as far back as I can remember all because she is angry over her own choices. No one should have children they do not want, it is horribly miserable for the unwanted/neglected child/children.

      • Andrea says:

        I also want to say that at 36 with no children, I too am horrified at the late 30′s/early 40′s men who want children. I am fine with being a stepmom, but I have major fertility issues and do not want to be a mom for the first time through adoption in my 40′s. I also find men who don’t want children tend to be self-involved, selfish, and majorly set in their ways, so so far I can’t seem to win!

    • Laura says:

      I have children, and they require a lot of work and sacrifice and compromise. My advice has always been, “do not have children unless you actively want them.” I find it mind-boggling that people with children try to shame others into having kids they don’t want. Who benefits from that, really?

      • Dee Kay says:

        Yes! Imagine if we had a society in which every single child born was desperately loved and wanted, and anyone who simply did not want children (like myself) did not have them?! Every child, theoretically, would grow up with a tremendous amount of security and warmth in their lives, and because of this, they would grow up to be terrific adults. It would be a great world.

  6. Lucy says:

    It really is so, so simple. Some people want kids of their own, some people don’t, and being able to make either choice is a wonderful thing.

  7. RussianBlueCat says:

    Maybe it is just me, but I have always felt it rude when people ask women(and some men) when they will get married or have children. It is none of my business so I will not ask the question. The only time I think it is funny is at weddings. There is usually alcohol flowing so it is always fun to see the responses people get to such a question.

  8. AreYouForReal? says:

    Good for her! I made the choice to have one and he’s the best thing to ever happen to me. Point. Blank. Period. Sure, my career slowed down because I didn’t want to be an absentee parent (like mine were), but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. That’s what’s wonderful about having a choice.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Strange, because you seem resentful that she made that choice and you seem to imply she had it wrong too.

      I’m so sick of hearing women being judgemental or acting outraged/offended in front of such a choice…
      Well, guess what… the best thing it could ever happen to me was having no kids.
      To each his own. And I have no career at all, so it’s not like I traded something for something.

      She’s not criticising anyone and I like her stance here.

      • Baby Jane says:

        She does not sound resentful. AYFR literally said good for her (re: Ina’s choice) and that the OP’s choice is what worked for HER and her alone. So you just hop right off that high horse…er, unicorn.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @BabyJane

        “I made the choice to have one and he’s the best thing to ever happen to me. Point. Blank. Period. ”

        “Sure, my career slowed down because I didn’t want to be an absentee parent (like mine were), but I wouldn’t trade it for the world”

        Really? Or maybe your high horse, ahem unicorn, is just imagined? Re-read her post well. Oh and I cannot ride so I cannot hop off any horses, no pun intended ;-)

        Stop judging. It’s bad for your health, be positive :-)

      • HappyMom says:

        Wow-talk about reading into something. All she said was great for choices-and she’s happy with her choice.

      • Jo says:

        I have to agree with you. I think the way AYFR phrased her comment made it sound like not having kids means women/people might miss out.

        What if it hadn’t been the best thing that ever happened to someone? Would someone even admit that?

        Maybe other people just have other stuff going on.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Jo

        “I have to agree with you. I think the way AYFR phrased her comment made it sound like not having kids means women/people might miss out.”

        Thank you. I’m not a native speaker so sometimes I can take some stuff in the wrong way and in written language it’s difficult to discern the ‘tone’. But the way it was phrased seemed to imply (to me), that ‘trading a child for a career is a choice’ whilst many do not need a ‘career’ to make that choice.
        Serena Williams is becoming a mum, I think she has a great career, right?

        It is simply the desire of not having children.

        @AshleyNate

        Clearly you are or reading way too much into my replies.

      • Ashley.Nate says:

        Talk about ready way into things. Sounds like you’re just looking for a fight 😏

      • Miss Jupitero says:

        I took her post to be a tad… defensive. Not a huge deal, but I think I understand Unicorn.

        When your response to someone who is talking about being child free is to immediately bring up your child and talk about how he is the best thing that ever happened to you, etc., I have to ask if it will ever be possible to have even one conversation about parenthood that isn’t all about the glories and miracles of stay at home motherhood. There is also something of an implication that not having children means being all about your career, i.e., yourself.

        Imagine if Ina talked instead about being an atheist, and someone responded by saying “Good for you! For me, though Jesus is the best thing to ever happen to me. Point. Blank. Period. Sure, I have to get up early on Sundays now, but…”

      • Baby Jane says:

        Agreed- you are looking to instigate, SU, and it’s unbeoming. It sounds defensive, but I don’t know you so I won’t assume. Besides all this, if you REALLY don’t care what people think, why TF did you take time to over analyze this post? Aren’t you just sooooo busy you don’t even have time to watch Ina’s show? Byeeeeeee.

      • Nicole (the Cdn One) says:

        @Miss Jupitero – your analogy was spot on. It’s like, “no offence, but . . .” People are going to be suspicious of what comes after the but.

      • ohdear says:

        I read it differently – I thought she was alluding to the fact that she made a choice that can also be judged – having 1 child, instead of more. Parents who just have 1 kid often get asked some pretty judge questions – won’t the be lonely, is that fair to the child, they have to carry the burden of older parents alone, etc.
        I thought the comment was a sisterhood of choice.

    • Missy says:

      Not sure why people are taking what your saying so negatively.

    • Lucy says:

      I’m with you. My husband and I choose to have 1, I took 3 years off to raise her and started my career back up again – we are done! I wanted to be there and raise my child but I’m not willing to sacrifice my career any more, we are happy with our little family. Each woman should be able to make the choice that is best for herself with no judgement from anyone!

    • Chaucer says:

      I agree. It sounds like not having kids and focusing on her career and marriage worked best for Ina and that’s fantastic. I had an oops baby after not wanting one at all, and it’s been the best thing for me. different strokes and all.
      Fyiy, I don’t see the bizarre resentment SU pointed out about your post. It seems like there’s a lot of defensiveness on this thread and it’s not coming from you. What you said about your experience is fine. What Ina said about hers is fine.

    • fiorucci says:

      JO I think you and the others are reaching to be inferring all the offence in her comment. Definitely took “good for her” in a positive way and felt she was just sharing a bit about her own feelings, situation and choices. As a parent, I don’t go around saying my kids are “the best thing that ever happened to me.” No one asks that either; not all parents say it or would answer with it to that question. The only time I hear/see that phrase is on Facebook mommy groups. People preface complaints or problems about their kids with that phrase, I guess they don’t want the rest of the moms to get the wrong idea.

  9. Adorable says:

    I adore her & her husband,funny how I used to think her name was “contessa”🙈…i.e..”barefoot contessa”her shoe

  10. TQB says:

    Not everyone needs to have children to have a full and beautiful life. It’s a choice and I respect anyone who opts to be child-free. It doesn’t make you less of a woman or in any way incomplete. Period.

  11. Beth says:

    Not every couple needs children. I’ve had people say I’m running out of time so I’d better settle down and start a family. I can’t have kids. Awesome to see a happy couple together for so long

  12. Missy says:

    More power to the women who choose to not have kids, it’s not for everyone, plus the world is over populated enough. I think if I had to plan on having kids it never would have happened, my pregnancy was kind of a surprise but one my SO and myself realize we wanted when it happened.

  13. Who says says:

    Too often, women who choose to be childfree are asked to defend their so called “selfish” lifestyles. They’re told that motherhood is the “most important job in the world” and face accusations of living “meaningless” lives. I think if a woman or couple choose not to have children it is their personal choice and should not be judged by it. Having children or not is one of the many lifestyle choices we make on the journey of life.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      “They’re told that motherhood is the “most important job in the world” and face accusations of living “meaningless” lives. ”

      We’re also brought up with that mindset, are we not? Our mothers filling our heads about it since we are barely able to walk. I used to have those baby-dolls when I was about 5-6, it felt so stupid to me… A child with a baby LOL Guess what though, my brother wasn’t given one lol

      • Missy says:

        Some kids want those baby dolls though, they want to act like their mommies. I have a friend who has a four year old daughter who loves to play with baby dolls and pretend to be a mom, and her one year old little brother plays with them too. The dolls weren’t shoved into their hands, they chose them. Now my four year old daughter is the exact opposite, she wants nothing to do with babies, all she minds is cats. Cat stuffy, clothes with cats, pretending to be a cat, everything cats lol.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Missy

        Your daughter sounds like me, I also wanted puppies and kittens around. I cannot speak for others but in my little group of friends we were given the dolls, only because others had them (and maybe wanted them? No idea).

        To the epitome of ridiculous my brother did want one and was never given one (you know, all that prejudice about becoming gay etc etc.), he ended up getting mine when nobody was around lol

      • Kitten says:

        I always hated dolls. I was strictly stuffed animals.

        @SilverUnicorn-I think this is sort of what you were getting at up-thread right?
        The whole “my kids are the best thing that ever happened to me” line that we hear so often. I completely understand how life-changing raising kids would be and it’s not hard for me to believe that they would be the best thing to happen to someone, yet rarely do we hear women saying that their career is the best thing that ever happened to them or even that their marriage is the best thing that ever happened to them.
        IDK….maybe I’m overthinking it..

        Anyway, I don’t think it has to be a battle of Moms Vs. Childfree Women. I’m glad to see that most of the people here are supportive and respectful of the different choices of others.

      • third ginger says:

        You never know what kids will play with. My nephew [42 year old partner in a law firm] used to set up his pretend salad bar. At 4 his fondest dream was to be the “crouton man’.

        When my daughter came out, even close friends tried to make some connection to her childhood, noting that “she never did like dolls.” LOL

      • Missy says:

        @kitten. I have used that line…that my kid was the best thing to ever happen to me…I’ve also said oh my fucking god why did I have a kid lol. Everyday is different

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Kitten

        “The whole “my kids are the best thing that ever happened to me” line that we hear so often. I completely understand how life-changing raising kids would be and it’s not hard for me to believe that they would be the best thing to happen to someone, yet rarely do we hear women saying that their career is the best thing that ever happened to them or even that their marriage is the best thing that ever happened to them.”

        Yep. I also think some mums shouldn’t feel the need to ‘oppose’ the childfree mindset with comments like that, because… they actually have no need to justify their decision?
        I hope I’m not offending anyone here but it’s ‘us childfree ladies’ who are not considered ‘normal’ or not conforming to the rule, usually.

        @Missy
        My mum always said that and I also agree it was the best decision she could ever take, she was a wonderful mum. But as with anything else in life, it’s not for everybody and generally both ways should be accepted, at least in the 21st century where being a parent is not a ‘social obligation’ anymore.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Even as a kid, my cabbage patch dolls weren’t MY babies…they were little sisters to me. I never wanted to be a mother, even in childhood.

      • teacakes says:

        @SU – I get what you were speaking up against upthread – someone jumping in on a post about childfree women to talk about how their kid is the best thing to ever happen to them and they don’t mind the career slowdown……. is a bit unnecessary, to say the least. You don’t see us childfree people going hammer and tongs about the childfree life in posts about people who’ve just had babies!

        And I’m actually really grateful for the example of women (both ones I know and ones I don’t) who’ve skipped having children but still lead fulfilling lives. I mean, would anyone dare argue that Coco Chanel amounted to less in life because she had no children? Or Rei Kawakubo?

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      Thank you. I’m 44, child free and going thru menopause. The other day I was told that I still have a chance if I tried hard enough. I could not f@cking believe it. I’ve never wanted the responsibility of kids and if that makes me selfish then so be it.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        “The other day I was told that I still have a chance if I tried hard enough.”

        You’re kidding!!!

        The ‘selfish’ part is what gets to me, it annoys me to no end. I’ve pets, husband, house, I am busy 24/7 anyway, it’s not like I’m in front of a mirror all day and kids would ‘disturb’ my beauty schedule. I never liked the idea to be a mum and I think not having kids was a blessing because there are plenty of women who were never meant to be mothers anyway.

      • Missy says:

        Doesnt make you selfish at all…way worse to have a kid when you really don’t want one. My mother in law won’t leave me along about having another kid…she literally texted me from her vacation the other night, knowing me and my SO having a night to ourselves cuz our daughter was on a sleepover, and said “have a good night and make some babies.” 🙄…I just pretended like I didn’t get the message. For a long time I didn’t know if I really wanted or could handle another child….little does she know that her son and I have been trying for two years and it just isn’t happening.

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        @silverunicorn, I replied that I would start going out to bars and having unprotected sex with randoms until something happened with my ladybits. That shut her up. Sometimes you have to be just as rude as they are.
        I work with kids. I know how difficult they can be. This is why I raise cats.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @BengalCat2000

        Hahahahaha must reply the same if I ever hear that from anyone!

        “I work with kids. I know how difficult they can be. This is why I raise cats.”

        I used to work with kids too and I raise cats (bengals for you? I’ve coonies!), is there a pattern? LOL

      • BengalCat2000 says:

        @silverunicorn, lol, I think we’re definitely cut from the same cloth, which is why I love this site. Hug your coonies for me!

      • NotSoSocialButterfy says:

        Holy cow! How long did it take you to get your jaw off the floor?

        Well, you just have to consider that someone who says something so incredibly myopic as that has a very, very small world and set of experiences from which to draw, so IDK…a little pity for him/her might be the easiest way to deal with someone like that.

      • Jessica says:

        Yes! We made the decision. So I’m selfish. I don’t have to deal with or pay for a kid. I like going to brunch when I want and basically do whatever I want and have my second house in the mountains. I enjoy my friends’ kids and even read stories at Easter dinner, but I like giving them back to their parents. I’m a lawyer, wife, and kitty mom and pretty happy about it. Stop with the shaming.

    • Annie S. says:

      I got a lot of flak from conservative acquaintances when I raged on Facebook about Princess Nagini Trump’s mailer about her “maternity leave” plan. (My roommate is a registered Republican [who voted for HRC]. And we’re both in our 30s, single and childless. Talk about not being able to read a room.) It said that “motherhood is THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB A WOMAN CAN HAVE,” and I was all, “bitch, my college professor ass is helping raise hundreds of young people to be employable, knowledgable citizens of America. And I can do that in part because I don’t have the demands of a family at home. SIT DOWN.”

    • anna says:

      women are still expected to work all day for free for the benefit of society. like a selfless madonna-mother type. thing is that we should get this by now and ask ourselves if these are the norms we want to apply to us and other females. i say, be selfish ladies! do whats good for you and NEVER forget your own needs.

    • Missy says:

      @silverunicorn. My kid is something special let me tell you lol…she has a cat name for everybody, she watches the most awesome cartoons. And she understands choice too, she knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like and is not shy to voice her opinion. The other day, her 80 year old great grandmother (my SO grandmother) told her that two boys don’t kiss, that it has to be a girl and a boy..she looked in square in the face and said “that’s stupid, they should kiss whoever they want…what’s it to me”. This kid listens to everything me and her dad say, I swear she has super hearing…like a cat lol.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        Fantastic, and yes special because I haven’t heard many kids being that blunt to their grandparents!! I hope she stays that way. I was silenced a lot when I was a child and that impaired my self-confidence skills enormously. It’s only recently that I’ve started to voice my opinion. Heck, until a few years ago I didn’t even comment online either because I feared to freely express what I thought.

      • Missy says:

        @silverunicorn. its hard to be confident enough to speak up, and not care about what others think. I’m not really sure how my kid has developed this boldness..she’s a lot like her dad. I’m extremely honest with her because my parents were never honest with me. My mom never spoke about periods, or sex, or relationships, I kinda had to figure it out on my own. So when my kid asks I tell her. I don’t use baby words for your genitals, or any of that nonsense. I think silencing kids and talking down to them just affects them too much later in life.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Missy

        “I think silencing kids and talking down to them just affects them too much later in life.”

        I agree. It seems you have it right though, as a parent! :-)
        I was a babysitter/aupair for many years and it was so difficult to follow parents’ instructions sometimes… the ‘baby words’ killed me, particularly if they were in a foreign language, I was totally living in terror of saying something I should haven’t said to the kids!

    • Missy says:

      @third ginger…crouton man..I love that! Kids can come up with the weirdest ideas. I never played with dolls growing up either..mom says I used to rip the heads off Barbies…and im definitely not gay

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Someone explain this to me because I honestly don’t understand. How am I selfish??? The person I’m supposed to be there for doesn’t exist. So who am I letting down, exactly? Selfishness always includes someone else at whose expense you’re doing something. There is nobody! I’d have to grow that person. So WTF?

      Now, if someone thinks my life is meaningless? Whatever. I’m not sitting here waiting for someone’s approval. Do they think that I’ll take their comment to heart, run out, and get pregnant? Because someone judged me? LMAO No. That is not happening.

      They’re just mad because I don’t have to pay for diapers and kindergarten.

    • Sarah says:

      Missy, I loved to play with dolls, but mostly Barbie and Ken dolls. I loved the clothes and makeup, loved to have Barbie and Ken hump each other, even before I knew what they were “doing.” :)
      Now my son, he knocked the head of my daughter’s Barbie right off with a play hammer. I am not sure if he wants kids. HAHA!

    • graymatters says:

      I never understood why childless adults were seen as “selfish”. Speaking as a mother, I’m grateful for the childless people who pay taxes to support my children’s schools. I’m grateful for the sacrifices they make when they support legislation to protect the environment my grandchildren will enjoy. I am also fortunate to have childless friends in my life who can provide an additional source of occasional wisdom for my children when I’m not enough — as I don’t think any one person, or even couple, can be all things to a child.

      I always knew I wanted children. I don’t find it hard to believe that others have the same conviction of not wanting children.

  14. Eric says:

    So she’s just Barefoot Contessa, not Barefoot And Pregnant Contessa.

    Gotcha!

  15. Rhiley says:

    The funniest thing I have ever read was DLISTED’s piece about the time she would not visit the little boy who wanted to meet her as part of his Make a Wish request. If Goop is a snob, Ina Garten is, I don’t know what the word is. She makes me nuts but I do like watching her show ;-)

  16. HappyMom says:

    Wow-good for her. I also think she was really brave because during the 70s not having children was certainly not a common choice. You got married, you had kids. One thing also stood out, she comments that she never felt judged. I’m sure she was asked a million times if they were having kids. But she clearly never felt judged or offended by the question. I think being confident in your choices-whatever they are-is really key.

  17. Ann says:

    Know why I dont want children? Because I’ve met yours. Boom.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      God, that’s harsh LOL

    • HappyMom says:

      I have to say, despite having 4 myself, that I really don’t like children. I like and love my own. And there are a few of their friends that I like-but in general, I don’t like children.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @HappyMom

        That’s actually the opposite of me lol I adore other people’s kids and have babysit countless ones too yet I’m childfree myself.

      • HappyMom says:

        @SilverUnicorn-ha! You’re like my sister-in-law. She is totally delightful with children (much more than I) and is the best aunt ever-but she and my BIL made the choice to not have kids. Selfishly I wanted them to have one so I could be an aunt (and so my kids would have cousins) but I totally understand why they didn’t. She’s an actress, they travel, are passionate about various social causes, go to concerts, plays, work as late as they want or need to, have a lot of friends-they live totally full lives.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @HappyMom

        Hahaha I don’t even have that excuse because my life is full of ‘homely’ business (I don’t know how to define it in a better way) and I don’t travel much, especially because a few years ago I started to raise kitties and I feel awful to have a cat sitter around or even take them to a cattery for one week or two. We went on holiday twice in 5 years…

        But I do like children and all my cousins had babies plus I’ve two nieces and a nephew on my husband’s side, so I end up being ‘with kids’ around anyway :-)

      • Maria says:

        I hate kids. Had two of my own, and we are fine, close, now that they are over 30. But they gave me plenty of sleepless nights and gray hairs. There were plenty of times when I thought “what were we thinking”? But other people’s children drive me nuts. They throw tantrums in the supermarket, fidget on the subwa, scream in restaurants, can’t stand it.

      • Beth says:

        @maria, I live right by Disney World in Florida and see families full of obnoxious kids everywhere. At the stores, restaurants, and the parks when I see bratty kids screaming, crying,running around, and out of control it drives me totally nuts. Parents look helpless and annoyed. I then remember how much I really didn’t want kids of my own

    • S says:

      Eh, definitely funny, but not exactly certain meeting rudeness with rudeness is the ideal way to go.

      And also seriously not true. I have limited patience with anyone else’s kids — one reason we almost didn’t have them — and this boundless well of patience with my own that surprises even me. It really is different when they’re yours, because I definitely know it’s not because my kids are some superior species to everyone else’s. Trust me, they can be hella’ annoying … It’s just that, as their mom, I’ve got some chemical or something that makes me endure 10,000x the amount of nonsense from them that I would from any other human on the planet.

      I mean, I love my kids, but I also know they can be a$$hole$. It’s just that they’re my a$$hole$.

      Also, while haranguing someone or trying to guilt them into reproducing is gross, I don’t think all, “Are you planning to have children?” conversations are judgmental. I know I’ve asked myself, and heard it plenty of times before we spawned, and it ALWAYS felt more making conversation, than trying to critique your life choices.

      • Ann says:

        That’s just it. Most people don’t like children, but like their own. So, no one has to apologize for not liking/wanting children.

      • Ash says:

        I hope the parents who say they hate other children realize that others probably feel that way about theirs too. ;-)

        FWIW, I don’t have children. I never wanted them.

      • S says:

        Never said I didn’t like children … Just that I have had much more patience with them since having my own. I had nieces and nephews before I was a mom and, while I loved them, I couldn’t understand how my brother and his wife dealt with all the noise, and the mess, and the crying, and the bodily fluids, etc. And the answer is, Meh, you just do.

        Now that I’ve been a mom, I can carry on a conversation while a baby screams or a toddler tantrums without blinking an eye; before having kids of my own, I would have rather had an ice pick through my skull. Now, I know that babies cry, happy kids are sometimes loud kids and often the best way to curb a toddler’s tantrum is to completely ignore it.

        This doesn’t make me superior because I have kids, it just happens to be a skillset I’ve acquired. There’s still stuff that weirds me out about “other” children, just because mine aren’t like that. I’ve got the rough and tumble kind that fall off the jungle gym and climb back up even when they’re bleeding and then wail when you try to get them off to render first aid. Who careen through life at top speed making friends with everyone they meet. And, trust me, this isn’t coming from introverted, anti-social me. My husband, also the quiet type, jokes that we never attended raves or parties as teens, so our kids are determined to make us feel like we’re living in one. Either that, or it’s a super funny gag by fate that uptight, Type-A, Martha Stewart-me has only rambunctious, could-care-less offspring. Yin and yang and all that.

        Anyway, the point is, I don’t deal as well with the sensitive kids who cry at every slight. Not because they’re inferior to my little loudmouths in any way; it’s just not something I’m accustomed to.

        The best example that springs to mind is recently when my oldest interrupted me in the shower to tell me about a kid on the Disney Channel that also was a voice in a cartoon they were watching. During this urgent update, his little brother grabbed a toy from his baby sister who started hitting him and they both tumbled into the bathroom to tattle, bringing the dog who happened to be eating my oldest’s waffle that he’d left on the table. At my house, this is, like, an average Tuesday morning. I mean, I haven’t used the restroom alone in 9 years, even though prior to that I’d never so much as left the door open when my husband was home. Every mom I tell this to thinks it’s normal and funny and every non-mom friend is horrified, appalled and kind of grossed out.

        It’s not a matter of right and wrong, or better or worse … It’s just a different perspective, based on differing experiences.

      • Sarah says:

        My kids were really good kids. I always was told that they were delightful when I took them out in public. I read a great book about raising them and did a lot of what it said, and also did the opposite of what my mother did. So if they had a tantrum, I ignored them, pretended to ignore them if in public. Happened once for each of them, never again. They had good manners or no dessert in restaurants and friend’s houses, etc. Natural consequences for behaving badly. It worked. They are in their 20s, and really wonderful human beings (who all DESPISE Trump.) Haha.
        Many kids are just horrible in public. I cannot even imagine how they behave at home. So I don’t enjoy most other people’s kids either.

      • S says:

        It’s so odd that I hear stories like that so often — people whose own children were always perfect, or acted out “just once” vs all the other monsters terrorizing the public at large — yet not once from a mother with children currently 10 or younger! Baffling.

        Could it possibly be that, like the pain of childbirth, such things fade from memory over time, and the best moments linger with a rose-tinted glow? Nah, that can’t be it.

        Makes me recall the time that I got on the plane with my (then) two kids under 5 in tow and sat in first class (we have a LOT of miles) amidst many, many evil glares. Three hours later, as we’d reached our destination with my children quietly playing, reading and coloring the entire time, I was regaled by all the former stink-faces about what a good mother I was, etc. An hour and a half after that, my youngest “angel” was lying on the sidewalk outside a restaurant screaming his head off while I sat on the curb trying to ignore his tantrum, but also make sure he didn’t run into traffic. Funny how I was the exact same mom on the plane as I was on the curb, but not one person who walked by stopped to commend my parenting then. 😂

        Real truth: Some days my kids are awesome. Some days they’re terrible. I think it’s because they’re imperfect little human beings, but I can’t always be 100% sure.

      • Ash says:

        @S

        “It’s so odd that I hear stories like that so often — people whose own children were always perfect, or acted out “just once” vs all the other monsters terrorizing the public at large — yet not once from a mother with children currently 10 or younger! Baffling.”

        I find it baffling too. Parents always think their children are the most wonderful ever, and everyone else’s children behave like jerks.

  18. Leslie says:

    Can’t believe this is still an argument, you shouldn’t have to give a reason why you choose to not have kids.

  19. Jess says:

    I didn’t know this about her but now I love and respect her so much more! I’ll have to read more about her life and her marriage, which sounds adorable. Having kids is a choice, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with choosing not to. I’d much rather people be honest with themselves over bringing an unwanted child into this world because they feel pressured by society. Do what makes YOU happy, and people who say it’s selfish are sort of right, but selfish doesn’t have to be negative, it’s your life and your life only, you have to do what’s best for your own damn self:) My hope is that this topic gets discussed more freely and people will stop hounding child free women about it, leave them alone and show some respect.

    My then 7 year old daughter was asking me about an aunt of mine who doesn’t have kids, I said you don’t have to have children, and she said “what?!? Hmm, I’ll have to think about it then and I may not have any”. Even in her little 7 year old mind she thought she didn’t have a choice, I felt bad for that, but at least she knows now, I was just shocked by her mindset at an early age.

    • Dee Kay says:

      What a great comment, Jess. That is wonderful that you were able to open up your daughter’s mind to the fact that women have more choices, more possible destinies, than a young girl in this society might think. And so much yes to the fact that in general people need to discuss childfreedom and lots of other options for living, so that children understand they can live whatever life they want to!!

    • LokiGal says:

      Good for you and her! Sometimes we don’t realize how much pressure the rest of the world applies on young girls. I told my girls they don’t have to get married and have kids. They were gobsmacked thinking their grandma would have my head if they didn’t.
      Told them they didn’t have to marry if they don’t want to, and if they wanted kids without marriage there are plenty of orphans needing homes. They came home and told me their friends refused to believe it. Couldn’t compute a parent would actually mean it, that girls didn’t have to marry and have kids to be good kids and happy women

  20. Lucky says:

    Unpopular opinion but I can’t stand her. Cannot watch her show she is so goddamn smug. But I respect & appreciate her child free by choice life.

    • shelley* says:

      Lucky you and my Husband both, He can’t stand Ina, for some reason, but I quite like her.

      Having said that, the one lifestyle programme that really gets me in a fury is…The Pioneer Woman. I don’t know what it is about that Woman but she brings me out in a violent rage, but somehow I can’t switch channels, maybe its a masochistic tendency in me, but I just have to watch in horrified fascination as she knocks up a batch of chicken wings for her ‘Marlborough Man’ Husband, while gurning at the camera..

      She is the smuggest of the smug..Gah

    • Sarah says:

      The one I can’t stand is that Giatta (sp?) With the HHUUGGEEE smile and really low cut shirts. :)

  21. Gisele says:

    I’ve never understood what exactly makes not wanting to have children ‘selfish”. If anything, it’s the opposite and indicates self awareness. It’s a personal choice that people make and none of my business. People even feel the need to comment when someone chooses to have only one child. That’s apparently selfish too. The judgement is infuriating. They’ve been happily together for 48 years. Their choice has obviously worked well for them.

  22. Katherine says:

    I like people talking about this. Statistics show so many women are doing this and there’s so little talk about it and so much judgement.

    • Maria says:

      Problem is once you have them, you can’t really send them back. And then there is the unwritten expectation that nothing could possibly be wrong with them. So then the bragging starts, little Johnny is so bright, he walked early, talked early etc. And that is hard on parents because they feel judged if their little darlings aren’t quite up to snuff. And on and on it continues until theses little darlings grow up and produce children of their own, then grandparents start bragging. and that is mindnumbingly boring. Can’t believe the extent to which some parents brag about their kids.
      Sorry this rant is a bit off topic, but now I feel so much better.

  23. S says:

    OK, I’m a SAHM and my 3 kids are the most amazing things in my life (sincerely), but my husband and I actually waited 8 years to have kids, and seriously considered not having them at all. (In fact, that was our initial position, which did evolve over time.) We both had careers that required a LOT of travel and time away. Realistically, if we were going to have children, one of us, me, logically, because I made significantly less money, was going to have stay at home or transition to an entirely different field.

    Yes, once we had our first, I cried at the idea that we almost didn’t do this. BUT that doesn’t mean I don’t think we could have had a happy, fulfilling life together AND BEEN A FULL FAMILY without offspring.

    My in-laws bought us one of those signs that says “Blank Family, est.” with the year our first child was born. Now, I love my in-laws, but F that noise. My husband and I were a family the day we got married (or engaged, or whatever point you want to determine we made that commitment to spend our lives together). The first 8-1/2 years of my marriage absolutely “count” and anyone who says otherwise is a flat-out wrong.

    So, we may politely get the sign out when they come over, but I also had one made for door that has our wedding year on it instead, and I hope they notice it every single time they walk into our house because, damn it, my kids are my life, but they’re not what made me whole, or worthwhile, or a wife and partner.

  24. Nic919 says:

    There are a lot of screwed up people out there because their parents didn’t really want to have kids and it shows in how they dealt with their kids. If more people put a bit more thought into whether or not they should have kids then the world would be a happier place.

    • me says:

      I agree. A lot of people have kids just because they think they are supposed to. I mean what damn year is it? I don’t think I’ll ever get married and have kids…but it’s always the same thing from both men and women “What’s wrong with you? Why don’t you want to get married and have kids? Poor thing probably can’t find a man…we should hook her up with some loser since she’s probably desperate”. Ummm yeah no thanks ! It’s funny because most of the married people I know are miserable…and most of them act as if their kids are a burden.

      • S says:

        I never thought I’d get married, partly because I saw my father go through 5 marriages and, after living with him myself, could tell you pretty clearly why none of them worked out. I used to joke if I ever married, my husband would have to live next door because I did NOT want to share my space with a man. Then, despite my best efforts to remain a spinster, I met the right guy. And I was happy to get married, but definitely had zero interest in having kids.

        And then, after years of life experience and growing together, we were. Now we have three.

        Despite the above, I can see paths where I’m single and happy, paths where we’re childress and happy. I don’t see it as only one set of life choices that leads to fulfillment for me, or anyone else.

        A big part of life is embracing all the possibilities.

        Childfree by choice? Great! Childfree by circumstance? Still plenty of room for happiness. Same with becoming a parent by design, or via “surprise.”

        My life choices are neither validated nor diminished by yours, and vice versa.

      • KiddVicious says:

        When my son was 3 or 4 my mom told me I should start working on baby #2 because you shouldn’t have them too far apart. I told her I wasn’t having anymore, one was enough, and sometimes one was too many. The first thing out of her mouth was “but you’re supposed to have two, that’s just how it’s done and I want more grandchildren”. I laughed so hard. I told her she’s going to have to adopt grandchildren because I’m not risking my sanity just because I’m “supposed” to have two or more kids.

  25. M.A.F. says:

    You know, the only people to say the “just you wait” line to me have been my MALE coworkers, never my female coworkers (my mom use to say but i think she now understands and has now stopped sayinging it). They say the same thing when I say I don’t want to get married. For some reason one of my co-workers feels that I would be much happier if I did. I took that as a slap in the face (he said it behind my back). I rarely speak to him now.

    • Ange says:

      My husband gets way more flak from his male coworkers than I ever have for not wanting kids. They always tell him I’ll suddenly change my mind one day, that kids just happen and he’ll have no choice in the matter. It says a lot more about their home lives than it does me I think.

  26. Zip says:

    It seems to me that everytime a woman publicly says she does not want kids (or didn’t want any) it’s always followed by a “but I’m a great aunt” or “I’m really good with my friend’s children”. Can’t anyone just say they don’t give a sh*t not even about nieces and nephews?!

    • Beth says:

      I am unable to have children, but I didn’t really want to have my own. When people don’t know me and tell me I need to have a kid, it pisses me off. I am however, my nephews favorite Auntie. They tell me all the time.They live down the street, I spoil them rotten, hang out with them, and would do anything for them. I honestly love them more than anything in the world. I wouldn’t care if someone said they didn’t give a sh*t about my nephews. Nobody has ever said that. They ask to see pictures and talk about their kids too. I give a sh*t when most people talk about their family

    • QQ says:

      LOLOL I Like this!, I’m that Aunt, I Adore my Niblings but I don’t Like em Kids ALSO! when I tell you I didnt babysit until they stopped pissing the bed and kicking at night… LORD I actually haven’t changed diapers and stand firmly on that I legit will hand a baby back and say: “I didn’t have this Child!, Here”, I’m fun Aunt,/buy anything Aunt/Watch This Aunty QQ Aunt I’ll buy and make em food I’ll Play with them Outside the house but Heavenly father DO NOT Leave me with kids, them or any unsupervised for any more than a Movie’s worth of time cause I need frequent Calming Bathroom breaks and such. I’m terrible like that to where I routinely forget to ask people about their children

      • HappyMom says:

        Ha! QQ-a book club friend was just telling me how insulted she was because someone wanted to know how SHE was, apart from her kids. She took that as some kind of slight of her role as SAHM. She was trying to get me to agree with how horrible this was. I guess she figured that since I have a whole crew, I too, would be up in arms. I really disappointed her. I said, no, I would never be insulted. I’m a person apart from having kids and being a SAHM. I would actually appreciate talking about something else. God-I’m home all day with them. Please-let’s talk about books/movies/current events.

    • Susan says:

      I got you and agree Zip. And yes, Beth had nice thoughts but sort of proved your point..women should not have to justify their decision not to have kids by stating “But I love my nieces and nephews and friends kids and they all think I’m their favorite!” It just puts the same expectations on women..that they must be nurturers and adore children even if they don’t want their own. No excuses are needed! Ina says it best..”I had a choice and I chose not to have them”. End of story.

    • meh says:

      Zip, I agree. The “I’m not having kids of my own but I DO REALLY LOVE THEM” thing is so annoying. No one needs to qualify WHY they don’t have kids.

      I have two older sisters and they’re both childfree by choice like me. My nieces and nephews are dogs and cats and I bloody well adore them. If one of my sisters had a kid, I would not give a crap. I do not like being around kids, period. I don’t care who the kid is or who its parents are.

    • Ange says:

      Yeah that’s me, I care abstractly for their wellbeing but I’ve never lived near them and we’re not close. I actually just became a great aunt and I’m sure my lack of response has been noted.

  27. HK9 says:

    I think what gets me as a childless person is those who look at me and say, ‘you can’t know real love until you have a child’ . Really? I get you love your kid and it’s been a life changing experience, but not everyone needs to have a child to know how to love ok?

  28. Maria says:

    I adore Ina Garten. It’s a personal choice kids or not. I was constantly asked why I don’t have kids, and since women have children much later in life even into my early 40s. I’m 58 now and thankfully those damn questions stopped since. I knew from an early age on that children were not for me. Kids and marriage was never on my bucket list of accomplishments. Never once in my life did I regret my decision.

  29. Her H!gn3ss says:

    I have also decided to be a child free woman. i get judged alot but who doesnt get judged.

  30. prettylights says:

    I’m 32 and have been with my husband for 9 years (married for 2.5) and we do not want kids. I was floored once when a female dental assistant asked if I had kids and I said no and I don’t want any, and she said “oh honey, you’re a woman, that will change”. How presumptuous! Just because I am a woman does not mean I want kids. I love my neices and nephews and have fun with them but in general I just don’t like being around children. When I was 13 I was basically a live in nanny for my brother for a summer and took care of his 6 month old (even getting up with him in the middle of the night to feed, change, and soothe him back to sleep) so I know what taking care of a baby entails and I do not want that.

    My female coworkers tell me how I should have kids because I’d be a great Mom but that doesn’t mean I should have children. The world is populated enough that there’s not a need to have children. Whether you want them or not – that decision is no one’s business but your own and your partner’s. I also get asked “If you don’t have kids who will take care of you when you’re old?” Having children is not a guarantee that they will grow up to take care of you when you’re old, and frankly what a selfish thought – to bring life into the world just to be there for YOU someday. There’s no guarantees in life. What if I don’t even make it to old age? Might as well enjoy my life, my way, while I have it.

    • Christin says:

      I had a couple of primary reasons for choosing no kids — I was a little older when marrying and had a parent who had been ill since my birth with a disease that can be hereditary. I knew I couldn’t juggle everything (work, home and helping my parents) very well.

      My parents are now gone, and I don’t regret the decision as I approach 50. I have relatives who occasionally ask me what I’ll do when I’m older. That’s what my long-term care policy is for. My MIL has three children who live close, and only one (my husband) will help her. Having kids is no guarantee of having help in later years.

  31. Caroline says:

    No one should be cowed into having kids if they don’t want them. Ina and Jeffrey have a wonderful life and she owes no apologies or explanations to anyone. I adore her.

    But even those of us who do have them sometimes long for what we gave up. Try to take the long view. My take, ironically enough, that I just wrote, about not having regrets:

    https://t.co/SSVaGzG7iB

  32. CANotary1 says:

    Sigh…I’m judged by so many for not wanting kids. It is especially bad now that I am getting married (fiance doesn’t want kids, either). Add on to that being from a traditional Latino home! Oy vei. I feel pressure from all sides of the family to have kids. It’s ridiculous.

    When I’m feeling nice, I’ll respond: “you’ll be the FIRST to know when I get pregnant”. When I’m in a bad mood, I’ll say, “kids are great…but then you have to take care of them” with a frown. In the end, it’s no one’s business. But these questions will not stop! Drives me nuts.

  33. brit says:

    It would serve these busybodies right if when they ask their very rude questions they were told “Well actually I had a miscarriage last week, my third” Or something like that.

    • Susan says:

      Seriously, my situation is much more complex…combination of life threatening illnesses that prevented me from even considering carrying a child myself had I truly wanted to, inability to adopt because of said illnesses, lack of funds for a gestational surrogate (but it’s too dangerous for me to do IVF to produce the eggs anyway), and lack of a partner who could care for the child in case of the very real possibility that I didn’t live a long life. Do folks really want to hear all that in response? Do they just not care that their probing could have incredibly complicated, emotional and devastating impact on someone?

    • Susan says:

      Thanks Brit. And I got your point and completely agree!

  34. Susan says:

    Just to clarify, Jeffrey wasn’t just dean of “a college” but he was dean of Yale’s business grad school, the School of Management. But that’s not even the most prestigious thing on his resume. Now, as Dean Emeritus, he is still teaching courses as a professor but not the current dean.

  35. kibbles says:

    Educated women are choosing not to have children or to have children later in life, and they are living more fulfilled lives because of it. Trust me. I am an older Millennial and my friends who aren’t married and don’t have kids are doing very well in their careers and personal lives, even more than women I know who ended up divorced or single parents. One of my few friends who married early in life (before the age of 25) has constant arguments with her husband and they are struggling to make ends meet. I had told her to wait a few more years to have babies, but she ended up pregnant almost immediately after her wedding. Now she is at a dead end with no career and a man who isn’t living up his bargain to provide for the family. Women, whether you choose to have children or not, be sure that you are financially independent unless you are lucky enough to have a trust fund or can rely on your parents for a constant stream of money.

  36. bogos says:

    I wish couples like this would have kids rather than those who make children the be all and end all of their existence. A lot of their children seem listless and not too enthusiastic about life.

    • kibbles says:

      I agree. The most awesome people I know don’t want to have children. I tell them they need to contribute to the world by passing down their awesomeness to the next generation. The people I know having tons of kids are either religious, conservative, or extremely irresponsible. It’s a shame.

  37. paddyjr says:

    I love Jeffrey and Ina! They are my #marriagegoals: two intelligent, fun people who are living their lives exactly as they want. They don’t need to be together all the time, but seem to be really happy when they’re together. I have been watching Ina for years and never once thought about whether she and Jeffrey had children. It is a shame that she needs to even address it publicly.

    I don’t have any biological children, don’t want them, but my husband has two children from former relationships. It is the best of both worlds for me: I can be the fun adult and a confidante when they need it. We see them on the weekends when we’re in town (we both travel a lot for work) have fun and then they go back to their mothers. Even though my stepsons are teenagers, I still get asked if I want children of my own. I always say they are my own, I just didn’t give birth to them.

  38. Summertime says:

    Oh man, I’m so sorry for the disrespect you all have experienced for simply opting out of parenthood. Those people are probably nosy across the board, or just programmed to default nuclear family setting. I think it’s helpful to be honest — “We don’t want kids” — so they don’t make more rude assumptions.

    I’m a parent by choice (and much effort), and admit to being overeager about motherhood. The first few years of each child’s life, albeit sleepless, were always so magical for me. FOR ME. But as they’ve grown and I’ve grown, I realize motherhood isn’t pure joy for everyone. Some moms are lonely and resentful. Some are tortured by imperfections. I try to be sensitive, but I’m also honest about how great it’s been for US, because I craved that reassurance while we tried (and tried) for kids. Anti-motherhood messages are less common, but it’s definitely hip to be the snarky mom who whines about her kids for laughs.

    Also, I think it’s important for “Best Aunt” types to be careful. My SIL is childless by choice. I think it’s great for them and have always been supportive. However, she tries to cultivate a relationship with my four daughters that’s more second mom than aunt. Like, wanting to be the one who takes them out for milestones, the one who gives them feminist pep talks, the one who talks frank to them about sex. She thinks I’m “just” a SAHM and that my daughters will suffer for it, despite my feminist beliefs (and freelance writing career). She even sent my kindergartner a letter on her first day reminding her to focus on learning, so she can have a powerful career like her one day. My knee-jerk reaction was, “Have your own damn kid!” It feels like she’s trying to have her cake and eat it, too — like, “I practically raised these girls — but I never sacrificed my life to do it.” I dunno, I was never close to my aunts and feel like she’s overselling her influence without my consent.

    • Dee Kay says:

      Summertime: That is too bad about your SIL! I hope that you tell her frankly that you have an idea of what healthy boundaries are for her involvement with your kids’ lives, and that she should respect them because *you* are their mother!!! I am a childfree-by-choice woman who has 10 nieces and nephews and 3 godchildren, and I love them all and am available to them anytime they need me, or want to stay at our place, etc., but I think there is a HUGE difference between an aunt/godmother and a mother, and always keep at the forefront of my mind what the children’s parents’ policies are, what they would want me to do or say, etc. I’m there to *help* my siblings and friends, definitely not to replace them! But I know exactly what you mean by “Best Aunt” Syndrome and have seen it first-hand. Parents sometimes love it when relatives are willing to step in and do the hard work with them, but they don’t realize at first that that means inviting in basically a third parent, who has their own opinions and who may really disagree with the actual parents’ decisions.

    • LokiGal says:

      I know a SIL who blatantly admits that she wants them to think of her as their fun and consequence free mum. Saying that she would need to ensure that someone would be willing to take care of her once she is old. When asked what about their actual parents, she said they have a spouse who would. I shouldn’t be surprised though, I was told their grandmother was just like that with the grand kids about wanting to be the fun one so that all the kids would like and love her, ensuring they’d care for her. Yikes

  39. Your mom says:

    If only others would make this choice our world would be SO MUCH BETTER OFF. I adore my childhood but parenthood isn’t for everyone. It is not a requirement of life.

  40. Anna says:

    I always feel sad when another friend announces they’re having a baby. It’s not that I’m not happy for their choice because of course I do want my friends to be happy. But it means I will probably never see them again after that get-together when they are breaking the news to me. The worlds of people-with-kids and people-without-kids are very different, and after people have kids, they simply can’t engage anymore even to a tiny degree the way they used to. I love my single girlfriends and though are all so busy it’s hard to meet up, we at least can have uninterrupted phone conversations and hang out without it being a major ordeal. So mainly I’m just feeling sad in missing my friends with kids. :( It always feel so abrupt to me and these days I find myself wanting to hang out as much as possible with friends recently married or “at that age” to get as much time in before they announce they’re pregnant and the fun is over.

    • justwastingtime says:

      Anna – sorry that really sucks. My husband and I have been married for 21 years, we decided to have kids (now 18 and 8) and have some long-time friends who we first met in our 20s in NYC, who chose not to have kids. They are far more interesting than us at this point, and frankly, financially better off. I enjoy hearing about their lives and they pretend that they are interested in our kids :)

  41. jenn12 says:

    I love my kids and adore being a mother, but why force that on someone who doesn’t want it? How does someone choosing not to be a parent when they don’t want to affect anyone’s life but the person choosing it? Why are people personally offended by what doesn’t affect them? No, better to be a human cow like Tori Spelling, who keeps birthing kids she can’t afford, or a POS like her husband Dean McDermott, who has fathered SIX kids he can’t afford. I know many people who want babies, but the reality of being a parent hits and they don’t want the kids. That’s a better decision? I recently had a conversation with a parent who said, “I just can’t be a mom anymore- it’s too hard” while her 7 year old kept peeking in at us. Later, the child said, “What were you and Mommy talking about?” Thank heaven she couldn’t hear her mom, but from what I observe, she absolutely knows how her mother feels.

  42. PaigeC says:

    I was one of those people who thought they never wanted to have kids. Never had a maternal instinct, never cooed over babies. My ex husband and I were married for 10 years when I found myself pregnant. I actually fretted during the pregnancy because I didn’t know how I was going to be a Mom. Every cliche is true. It IS different when you have your own child. From the minute he was born I would have given my life up for him and still would. Sadly my marriage did not work out but I do not regret having my son for one minute! He has made me a better person in so many ways and my love for him is boundless.

    That being said, I still do not consider myself a kid person. I love my nice orderly quiet life with one child. I feel like one child is all I can comfortably provide a nice life for and have the energy for. I still do not like to be around other people’s kids for an extended period of time. I share joint custody of my son with his father (who is a great Dad) so I get plenty of adult “me” time. I also think I lucked out in that i have a very laid back compassionate child.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I fully respect the choice of others not to have children. I was once in their shoes. Although I do think it’s hard to know how you would really truly feel unless you have a child. If that makes any sense?

  43. b87 says:

    People who still live like the Gartens even after they become parents may have resentful children who won’t end up visiting them in nursing homes but are helicopter parents any better?

  44. Alex says:

    Kaiser, I made that choice too. I dont think that I was like Ina or any succesful woman who accomplished her dreams. I let my dreams take a long nap and became so unhappy on a marriage that lasted 13 years too long. I dont regretted it but I sometimes Ii wonder especially now. I am alone, alone, my family is on the other hemisphere and could careless about me. Friends, what friends?? I made sure that I made my thoughless pig of exhusband my world, and suddenly you realize it is all my fault. I thought I was going to be with my insignificant other for the rest of my life with as many animals I could adopt, rehab, love. Wow!! I lost myself in some crazy diatribe from the deepest crevasess in my brain. Ahhh! Yeah I am 42, divorced and dont regrett it, but I would love to find a Jeffrey

  45. shannon says:

    I do have kids, spaced far apart (one is 9, the other 22 and off at college). I adore them, but I never judge people without them. In all honesty, I’m sometimes jealous. Sometimes not. But to me it’s funny because I feel judged when I admit that I don’t really want a pet lol. I like other people’s pets, and they seem to like me, but I’ve never been enough of an animal person to want one of my own. A lot of people find that weird. People need to just let others live their lives as they choose with stuff like this.

  46. Danielle G says:

    It was a great decision she made. Not everyone has to have kids. She has a wonderful life with Jeffrey and they look so happy together and filled with love. Life goals, tbh.