Lise

As soon as I tell people I don’t want children, there’s a misconception that I must hate them.

But I actually love kids - that’s why I’ve worked as a nanny for 13 years.

I was 26 or 27 when I realised that I didn’t want to have children. I have a brother who is 20 years younger than me, and my mum had really bad postnatal depression, so I helped look after him. I learned first-hand that you can’t go out when you have a baby, and you spend all your money on nappies and food. But I also realised that I actually love babies - I just don’t like it when they grow older and start asking lots of questions!

I’m open with everyone I work for, about not wanting kids myself. They think it’s hilarious that I’m a nanny and feel that way, but I don’t think it’s weird. I’m doing it for the money, and when my shift ends I get to go enjoy myself. They can’t do that because they have someone at home who’s dependant on them.

I only look after one baby at a time, usually starting when they’re a few days old and leaving when they’re about one, one-and-a-half. The longest job I ever had was looking after a child until she was about five, and I told myself I’d never do that again. She started to feel like my own, and I cried so much when I had to leave. My new job is 24/7 care, looking after a 15-month-old from the minute he wakes up until he goes to sleep, for seven days in a row, taking the next seven days off while another nanny looks after him.

It feels like some people want kids but they don’t want to have to deal with them. I’m the one who looks after them through all the sleepless nights, while the parents get to come in from work and have ten minutes of cuddles before bedtime. I do all the things these parents don’t want to do: I’m the one that has to deal with the kids being sick and pulling tantrums. Because of all the help they get, some people have the attitude of “kids are amazing!”, yet they can still get angry at me when they miss moments like their child’s first steps or first words. But you can’t have it all, that’s just not how life works.

I think the job I do contributes to me not wanting kids. I see all the really negative things about having children, and the parents I work for get to have all the fun.

I wish women had the opportunity to see what it’s like to have a child before they decide to do it. I feel like it might change their minds if they saw the reality.

I don’t see how I could afford to have a baby even if I wanted one, and I’m not stupid enough to just tell myself it will all work out. I know exactly how much nappies and baby food cost. I know I’d want my kid to go to university, and that I’d have to start saving for that, because they wouldn’t be able to afford it on their own. I don’t want to spend my money on those things.

When it comes to relationships, I try to put all this out there as soon as possible, but it’s hard because I know it can be off-putting. With my last boyfriend, it took me two years to pluck up the courage to tell him, and he was devastated. He still thinks he can turn me around; he just doesn’t get it. He has a child from a previous relationship who he doesn’t really see, so I think he wanted another opportunity to be a father. But I don’t want that in my life, so we had to break up - this is something I can’t compromise on.

I come from a big family, with two sisters, one biological and one adopted brother. As I’m the eldest, they all tell me that I need to meet someone nice, and as soon as I do, I’ll want children. I tell them that it’s not going to happen because I’m actively looking for people who don’t want kids. Maybe that’s why I’m single; it seems like everyone wants kids.

My mum doesn’t believe me when I tell her I don’t want kids. She’s very traditional and bit close minded and she’ll ask me, “What else will you do if you don’t have children? Are you just going to keep travelling around?” I tell her I’m not travelling around, I’m living in different countries. Even when I was younger and my friends from school or college would say they just wanted to get married and have kids and work towards buying a house, I never wanted that. Who wants to be stuck in one place?

I think there is a change happening. My mum had me when she was 21, and now it’s really rare for anyone of that age to be thinking of having children - especially before starting their careers. I’m happy when my friends have a baby and it’s clear that this is what they wanted, and that they’re having fun being a mum.

But you might not also be able to be a mother and be badass at your job, because, frankly, the only people I know who have both awesome careers and kids are those who have enough money to hire help like me.

So this job is a perfect outlet for my motherly instincts, and I get paid a lot of money for it!