After Dustin’s post yesterday about the cost and stress involved in the first year of parenthood, I had one overwhelming thought: Why do you people keep doing this?
“You people” meaning parents. Or people who want/plan to have children. People who are unlike myself. I’m what’s referred to as “childless by choice” or “childfree” or whatever term people have come up with to describe those that actively choose not to procreate. Or what the Pope referred to earlier this year as “selfish.”
Are we selfish, though? I would argue we’re not, and I trust that most intelligent people would recognize that. But while the number of people who are childless has increased over the years, you might not personally know anyone who has chosen not to have kids. “Childfree” is different from “childless.” Childless means currently without children. Childfree means “I distinctively remember sitting at a McDonald’s play area in March of ‘04 and explaining to my uterus that we needed to shut this whole thing down.” It might be hard to find someone who knows so thoroughly that they never want children.
So on behalf of them, I’d like to answer a few of the often asked questions I receive. Starting with:
Are you sure?
You’ll probably change your mind.
That’s not a question. But I’m still sure.
How do you know you’re sure?
How did you know you’re sure you wanted kids? Sorry, that was actually mean. Kids are the default so your desire to have them needs less explanation than my desire not to. I get it. It’s not that I actively want not to have them, it’s that I’ve never actively wanted them. I don’t have any maternal longings, and can’t remember a time when I ever did.
So maybe you’d like being a parent if you had kids?
Possibly. Maybe you’d like sleeping with Donald Trump if you tried it. Do you think either one of those is a risk we should take?
OK. But what if your husband/ wife wants to have kids?
Then that person would have to stop being my husband/ wife.
You’d really end your marriage in order to not have kids?
Wouldn’t you end your marriage if your partner refused to have children? Having kids is one of the most important decisions a couple will make. If you’re not on the same page about that, you probably need to reevaluate the relationship.
So what do you do with your free time?
Mostly boring stuff. I don’t have kids, but I still have a job, responsibilities, and a limited amount of money. I get to sleep more than you do, but I’m not jet setting every weekend or anything.
What’s sleep like?
It is glorious.
Bitch. Do you not want to have kids because of some terrible, traumatic event in your life that prevented you from loving?
Was it a terrible, traumatic event that convinced you you’d be a horrible parent?
No, I actually think way too highly of myself and my abilities. I’m pretty sure if I were thrown into some Baby Boom situation, I’d be a great parent. I just don’t want to.
You think you’d be a good parent?
For sure. My family is Irish. I have a lot of experience being around babies and kids. There would be none of this baby-accidentally-peeing-in-my-face-while-I-change-a-diaper nonsense for me.
But don’t you hate kids?
No. People who don’t want dogs don’t necessarily hate them. They just don’t want to have a dog. I’ve got a couple of nieces who I see once a week. They’re the best, smartest, cutest kids who have ever lived, and I will cut any man that says otherwise. I’m cool with kids.
But really. Don’t you hate kids?
Yes. But only as much as you hate other people’s kids. Those other people’s kids? Effing monsters.