Karen Fratti
Updated August 15, 2017

It’s becoming, slowly but surely, more acceptable for women to say out loud that they don’t want children. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t faced with loads of criticism or judgement for their lack of interest in being parents. A common misconception (among so many) about women who don’t want to have children is that they’re frigid or selfish. But actually, women who don’t have kids can be nurturing, too. The way they express that ability just might look a little different from how we’re taught to think it will.

Just because someone doesn’t want children doesn’t mean something’s wrong with them.

What about all the men out there who cringe at the idea of adding a baby to their life? They aren’t less of a person or judged for not wanting to be a dad, right? Maybe it’s because mothers are still assumed to be the primary caregiver and are subsequently loaded with more parenting responsibilities and expectations. And society immediately decides that a woman who chooses not to have kids is incapable of unconditional love for and dedication to another human.

But that’s totally messed up. Actually women without kids are nurturing in some totally different — and also some not-so-different — ways than moms are.

1They’re amazing friends and babysitters.

A lack of desire to parent a child doesn’t mean that a woman possesses no inclination to nurture, take care of, or be emotionally generous with other human beings. Those things vary as much in childless women as they do in people who have kids (yeah, parents aren’t all saints, guys). In the absence of children to pour those wonderful qualities onto, women who don’t want kids spend their lives bringing those things into their relationships with friends, family members, romantic partners, and likely also kids who aren’t their own.

Also, um, most women who don’t want kids don’t “hate” children or judge a person for becoming a parent. In fact, all the work they see parents doing is a part of what convinces a lot of women that motherhood is not the right life choice for them. But hey, they’ll often be happy to babysit, listen to a parent’s stresses (even if they can’t totally relate), and generally support the parents of the world.

2They were honest with themselves.

People who don’t want children know themselves. They know that they don’t want to take care of a kid or raise another person. That’s saving those would-be kids from a lot of hurt and probable therapy. Just because women are capable of having kids doesn’t mean they want or have to be. Better for all kids to leave parenting to those who enjoy it.

3They make great mentors.

Clearly, women who are parents can obviously also mentor you at work and be badasses in the workplace. But a woman without children is likely to have a little extra energy to spare and possibly devote to younger people in their field. The fact is, being a mom isn’t the only way for women to invest in helping younger people thrive and succeed. Also, being mentored by a woman is highly recommended.

4They give what time and resources they can to help others.

Again, women who have kids can and definitely do volunteer and donate their time and money to charitable causes. But women without children — because duh, they don’t have kids — are more likely to have a little extra in the “time and money” department, which helps when trying to do good in the world and help others.

Look at Chelsea Handler, a super successful woman who never wants to have kids. She donates tons of money to charities and travels all the time to learn about the world and spread the word. The nicest woman in the world, Ellen Degeneres, has been adamant about not having kids, too. “I don’t want to have one. I don’t want to have six. I don’t want to have any. They’re precious to look at and I love them… [But I] don’t want ’em.” Sure, these two women are hella rich, but they’re also clearly not the selfish, heartless subhumans that women who don’t want kids are often made out to be.

5They take care of Mother Nature.

Sorry, parents, but if you’re judging women for not wanting to experience the joy they never knew they were missing, you might want to take a long hard look in the mirror. Having children is terrible for the environment. Really, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 58 tonnes a year just by not procreating. When it comes to climate change, having kids is like having a private jet.

Whether a woman decides to have kids or no doesn’t make a certain “type” of person, and it definitely doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to nurture others. Just like there are a ton of reasons for having kids, there are just as many reasons not to have them.