Someone recently asked me “So, when are you going to get around to having kids?”
The way it was asked seems to assume that having kids is what people should do as part of their lives and those who don’t are somehow defective or at least weird for not having kids. Now, I’ll admit to being weird, but it’s because I’m rather unconventional in a lot of ways. However, the assumption that not having children makes someone somehow “off” is pretty messed up.
Why should people be expected to have them? Most children born these days were not intended to come about. Hell, I’m an accident myself. I know I put my parents through hell and why would I subject myself to the same?
Plus, there are too many people as it is. I feel I’m doing the world a favor by not adding to overpopulation.
Now, I won’t be a hypocrite and say that having children is wrong (and I don’t believe that, as long as you can take care of them), however, it’s certainly not for everyone. There is nothing wrong with not having them. Some of us are very much better off without them.
I know those with children will defend it and say how amazing and transformative it is, and I’m happy for them. I also know there are many who would defend it because they have to. They got themselves into the accidental parent position and have been rationalizing since before the kid was born to convince themselves that this is what they really wanted. They don’t want to admit, because it might sound callous, that they really didn’t want to have a kid. Sure, they still love the kid, but they probably shoo away thoughts of how much better their life would have been if they didn’t have them.
I’ve also spoken with those who were honest enough to say they do regret having kids. That they love their kids dearly, but truly do wish they didn’t have them because it completely sidetracked their life. They may have had goals set that they were well on the way to and the kid suddenly destroyed those dreams by merely existing and needing to be taken care of.
Now, I know there are those who want kids and love having them, and more power to them. (This is also to pre-empt those of you who would say how great they are. I get it, and congratulations.) But for them to act like those of us who do not have kids are lacking something in our lives…well that’s not only incorrect, but fucked up.
See, when I come home, my house is quiet. I never have to worry about a kid doing something to my guitars, computers, etc. No crayons on the wall, no screaming, crying, whining, etc. I come home and relax and unwind and can just de-stress from the day, rather than coming home to little ones that add to my stress by making a ton of noise and always needing something. When I come home, my place is as I left it.
I can be spontaneous and go out when invited. I can take impromptu road trips, I can travel much more easily. When I go to the movies, I know I won’t have to miss any of it because I have to take a loud being out of the theater.
I don’t have to worry about having someone I must protect all the time and worry about how they’ll turn out or if they’ll get in a fight, or in trouble at school, or the nightmare of them being taken by a stranger and molested. I don’t have to worry about someone inflicting their beliefs and ignorance on them. I don’t worry about them crossing the street. I don’t have to put up with their terrible two’s or the selfish, ungrateful, shitty teen phase or all the argument and stress in between.
I understand there are also some amazing and wonderful parts of having children, but I am completely willing to trade those for my quiet, my freedom, and my sanity. I’m am really good with kids who aren’t mine. I get along with them very well and they tend to really like me. However, I can only handle them in small doses. They’re like Walmart…it’s not long before I start to get a headache and need to get away.
I know myself well enough to know that I could be a good parent if I was really diligent, but the reality is that I’d be constantly shooing them away and telling them to be quiet. I really, really value my space…my own environment…my sanctuary. I don’t like noise, unless it’s music. I like to know my things won’t be broken by some being who just doesn’t understand basic concepts like personal property, being careful, respecting things and people, etc.
I also disagree with the argument that those who don’t have children are selfish. We should live life on our own terms. We can be generous and helpful in many ways and we don’t need to have kids to be unselfish. In fact, without a kid in the way, one is capable of helping even more people, right?
So, folks, if you wonder why some people don’t have kids…maybe they just don’t want to…and why should they be expected to in the first place? Why should it be considered abnormal? Some of us are not missing it at all. To those who love having kids, all I have to say is congratulations and I hope you continue to enjoy them. But, like I often say, there’s no such thing as one right way for everyone to live.
© 2015 William Suphan
- Friendly Feminism
- My Own “It Gets Better”