Kid throwing a tantrum. How fun! | Image Credit: LizaWasHere, Flickr
It seems like the biggest taboo of all is daring to say you don’t plan to have kids. So that is precisely what I plan to tackle in this piece.
When I’m asked why I don’t plan on having children, the short answer is “because I remember how tough it was for my mother to raise me!” Actually the plain reason is because I just have no interest in raising one and changing my life so dramatically when I’m happy with it just the way it is thank you very much, just like you might have no interest in owning a pet… regardless of the joy it brings.
For the record, I’d love to have pets – more so than children. So therefore that makes me selfish, apparently.
Just get a load of this ridiculous, judgmental drivel:
Indeed, there are more finite calculations involved: Career demands. Timing. Not having a partner, or not having the right partner. Flaky fears about overburdening our already overburdened planet, personal choice and a bunch of other hooey that serve to hide the fact that happy couples that choose not to have kids are, at root, well, let’s see: selfish.
“The childless couple lives in a vacuum,” she wrote. “They try to fill their lonely lives with dinner dates, theatre, golf, tennis, swimming, civic affairs and trips all over the world….
“See what the years have done. He looks boyish, unlined and rested. She is slim, well-groomed and youthful. It isn’t natural. If they had kids, they’d look like the rest of us — tired, gray, wrinkled and haggard.
“In other words: normal.”
Taken from: Trend of couples not having children just plain selfish | Canada’s National Post | Joe O’Connor
Haha. Sounds to me like this is just the pathetic mudslinging by the vehemently, secretly jealous. It’s so selfish of childless people to condemn those who choose to have children to their secretly miserable, regret-filled lives.
The common reaction from my friends is, “you’ll change your mind”. Uh huh. Presumably when all my other friends and siblings get kids. When that time comes, I’ve been told, children is all they‘ll ever talk about, and I will feel left out and distant because I can’t join in the endless rants and lols of the stereotypical parent whose social life has become parenting. In other words, I’ll become a parent in order to fit in.
Sounds kind of selfish to me.
I get called “selfish” for thinking of myself and choosing what must seem like an amazingly free, hedonistic life alternative, instead of choosing to raise kids. I get called selfish by shocked soon-to-be or already-are parents who have largely deluded themselves that all the lost sleep, reduced free time, significantly reduced income, tantrums, endless baby smells, lost friendship circles and hazardous mess are 100% worth it because children say the darndest things, get smarter before your eyes, and have your nose. Some parents draw contentment because their line is going to live on after they perish. It’s amazing to know that your genes are now immortal through this creature (or creatures) you are raising.
A tad selfish thought.
Having children also gives you this amazing hall pass to endlessly plaster Facebook walls and Instagram feeds with naked family photos… this 21st century public alternative to the private photo album.
Turning everyone’s computers with image caching turned on into a machine containing questionable content sounds fun and all, but again, a little selfish.
So when I come across someone else who is a parent and actually tells it how it is, daring to be overall negative about the experience and highlighting the cons, serving as a warning to potential wanna-be parents who perhaps need to take a second thought, I feel like sharing.
Good on you for having an opinion! As for those who get defensive or offended… you are grown-ups after all, aren’t you? I’m sure you can deal with it, just parents teach their kids to respect differing opinions and the old “words will never hurt me” proverbial.
“I hate being a mother. If you don’t have kids, think long and hard before you do. Those tv commericials are lying to you. It is not a fairy tale.
My kids are of toddler and preschool age. They fight, scream and demand all the time. I am so unhappy. Noone tells you how awful it is to be a mother. noone! Yes there are little sweet things that happen from time to time but over all it’s terrible. I am so exhausted that I can’t sleep at night. My nerves are shot from the kids constant yelling, fighting, and having to explain, soothe, or whatevery 24/7. I am tired! The amount of work that it takes to be a Mom and a housewife is inhuman.
I never have a moment to just relax because when I am I am thinking about what work has to be done. It’s fucked up. Yes I love my kids but I hate mothering them. Whatever happened to it takes a village to raise a child? For the most part, I am the sole caregiver.
My husband works from early morning until they are almost ready to go to bed. He has social functions for work and in my opinion has it real good. I had to give up my career and my entire existence for my children. and do you think anyone appreciates it. It’s just expected. I didn’t even get a mother’s day present last year.
I fantasize about running away from it all. It’s too much!!!
If I had to do it all over, I wouldn’t have any children.”
If you think this mellows as children grow older, apparently not. Not every parent is lucky, or maybe instead it’s “not everyone is cut out to be a parent” if your children turn into terrible teens. Remember, it’s the parent’s fault, be it through emotional or familial or socio-economic circumstances. Another reason you should think long and hard about what the future holds for you as a parent.
“Try having teenagers who think they know everything – I have 4 kids and I’m a single mom. My two oldest I hate with a passion – they dont respect me – fight with me – use me – etc – I’m ready to get a gun n kill them – thank god the oldest doesn’t live with me – it’s the second oldest – mouth is horrible – my 14 yr old and 5 yr old are scare of him – I wish he poof n disappear.”
Here’s one that’s not so drastic:
“When did parental involvement turn into becoming the cruise director for your child’s time? Am I selfish? Is that what this all boils down to? Maybe it’s true: Maybe I don’t really want to drive them anywhere/everywhere.”
I don’t think the more drastic rants above are necessarily signs of post-natal depression, or even always the result of some mental disorder. I think this is more common than everyone cares to admit. This is someone with the guts to admit, albeit anonymously, that they think life could’ve been better had they made different choices, instead of burying it so deep they forget what their life could be like if they were more informed before they took the parenting step when they did.
Eventually, everyone has to suck it up and accept where life has led you, what choices you made. There is no rewind button, only forward. But hey, you may as well be dead honest first. And yes, I may live to regret not having kids. But I’ll still feel like I dodged a few bullets, too.
Having children means sacrifice. I get that. You have to put someone ahead of yourself, at all times, for the rest of your life. How can a life choice like that be anything but selfless? All you parents, I do admire you and respect you. After all, my own parents included, brought us to where we are today, made us into who we are today.
Parenting is immense hard work, I may have never done it myself but I sure as hell watched it being done raising me. The selflessness is highly recognised which is why parents deserve recognition with their own day: Father’s Day, Mother’s Day. Gratitude and all that. But at a fundamental level, isn’t the choice still a selfish one?
The reason people choose to become parents, is for their own happiness and fulfilment:
- So they can feel they are progressing along with everyone else they know in life and not feel left behind
- So they can have a family around them when they die
- To make your life a warmer, happier, more loving place
- To prove to yourself you can do a better job than your parents did
- Because having children around is your comfort zone thanks to your massive family
…or whatever other reason that drives you to fill that void, that “next life step” of yours, with kids.
That’s largely a selfish choice. It’s not all selflessness. Can’t you see it?
So, stance accepted, stance respected… but my goodness, don’t call people selfish or look at us like you can’t fathom our sanity or lack of human compassion if I don’t want to raise a child. Respect the parents who have the guts to tell you they regret it. For they represent a much larger percentage who go about life biting their tongue, afraid to voice the taboo of regret and what-ifs, a silent majority, perhaps.
And respect parent-less people, too. Just because people may not have children doesn’t mean their lives are devoid of sacrifice.
Over to you readers… discuss, and feel free to stay anonymous! It is, after all, the world’s biggest taboo.