Raising children is not for everyone. Take it from someone who has absolutely no experience in these matters. I have no children of my own (that I know of) primarily because I never had the desire. Yet, I am constantly being reminded of all the reasons I’m glad I didn’t procreate. Every time I’m trapped on a plane with a small child having a meltdown. Every time one of my friends tells me how ungrateful their adult children are. Every time I see a news story about parents who were murdered by their own offspring (I watch a lot of Dateline and this happens more often than you might think), I’m glad I never had kids.
Not that I haven’t considered it or even tried convincing myself to want them. Over the years, I have been in several romantic relationships that ended because I couldn’t bring myself to have sex for the reasons God intended. Several of my old girlfriends pressured me to have kids. One of them even asked me to knock her up after we broke up. My friends with kids wanted me to have kids. But I always assumed that was just misery wanting company. Plus, society put an expectation on me to have kids.
Not everyone is meant to have kids. Just look at Woody Allen.
I remember all the reasons people used to try to convince me. “It will change your life!” they’d exclaim. And I’d think, my life is pretty damn good right now. Why would I want to change it? “Don’t you want a little version of yourself? Someone who looks like you, that you can raise to be like you?” No, I don’t. I’m not that great. Why do there need to be more of me? And the ever popular, “Don’t you want someone to take care of you in your old age?” Sure. That would be nice. But there are professionals I can hire to do that. Besides, I wouldn’t want to put my beloved children and precious grandchildren through the emotionally scarring and overwhelmingly depressing burden of having to care for me in my declining years. When the time comes, I’d rather pay a stranger to feed me and wipe my ass.
I can’t tell you exactly why I never wanted children of my own, but I think it might have something to do with my mother (as most things do). When I was little, she put a curse on me. And she did it over and over again. Whenever I was disrespectful to her she would yell at me, “Someday you will have children who will treat you the same way you treat me!” I may have been too young to completely understand what that meant, but I could tell by the way she said it that it was a fate worse than death.
I always feared that my child could grow up to be an asshole.
Despite my best efforts, and even if they didn’t take after me, my offspring could grow up to be a terrible person. There are just too many outside influences that could turn them into any combination of inconsiderate, selfish, greedy, loud, mean, obnoxious, annoying or arrogantly ignorant. Of course, no parent thinks this will happen to their kid. But, let’s face it, there are an awful lot of assholes in the world and they all had parents who probably thought the same thing.
Ironically, when my wife and I are out and about, I am the one who notices and comments on every cute kid we see along the way. (I think toddlers wearing glasses are just about the cutest thing ever.) My wife usually points out all the cute dogs we pass and won’t even notice if there’s an adorable child holding the leash. We married late in life and I was very lucky to find a woman in her 40s who never had and didn’t want children. They are about as rare as a good Vin Diesel movie.
To all of you proud parents out there…
please know that I will always envy you in many ways. I realize that by never making babies I will never know what has been described to me as a joyous journey that teaches you how to love in ways you never thought possible. I know that I have not exposed myself to everything that life has to offer, both good and bad, because I have missed out on all of the commonly shared experiences most of my peers have had. On the other hand, I have noticed the envy in their eyes when I talked about sleeping late on weekends, taking easy vacations and the money I’ve saved over the years.
For the record, I am not trying to talk anyone who wants to reproduce out of it here. But I am saying to consider all of the possibilities and realities before you do decide to start popping out babies. You shouldn’t say, “I want to have a baby.” You should say, “I want to create and care for another human being for the rest of my life.” Because they are babies for a only a very short time. Saying it that way makes it sound like you can’t see past the cute stuff in the beginning when you should be looking at the big picture. Acknowledge the truth. They will spend a lot more time being adolescents who always want something from you, teenagers who can’t stand you and adults who have better things to do than spend time with you.
Oh sure, your kid could grow up to be President or cure cancer or become your best friend who will take loving care of you in your old age. But really, what are the odds?