On the cusp of my 30th lap around the sun, I’m at the age where everyone I know is getting married and having kids. Whether 5 years younger, my age, or 5 years older -it doesn’t matter- this is what people are expected to do next now. My newsfeed on Facebook is littered with at least two engagement announcements a week, pictures of brides and grooms gently caressing one another awkwardly in fields of hay, sonograms of unrecognizable blobs that will one day be human, and declarations of having the most amazing nuclear families ever(!).
When I was younger, I just assumed that one day I would get married and have babies. As a woman, it seemed sort of expected of my future, and I was okay with that expectation because I was young and “had the rest of my life ahead of me.”
Plus, I really fucking like kids, so why wouldn’t I have one some day? Their enthusiasm for dinosaurs and space and superheroes and cake and legos are enthusiasms I fully share. Their eagerness to learn awesome shit is an eagerness I fully understand. I get them. I enjoy them. Many times more than adults. I’m probably the only server in the world that actually likes getting large tables of just kids. I camp counseled for 3 years a couple summers back and it was one of my favorite jobs because I went to work and orchestrated games and fun. And I was really good at that job. The director eventually asked what kind of formal training and experience I had, and I just shrugged and said “I was once a kid so I guess there’s that.” She gave a quick expression of shock, and said something to the effect of “you just handle them very well.” (This directly resulted in me eventually spending most of my last couple seasons being one on one with the hardest to handle kids every day. A tiring, rewarding, but mainly humbling experience as I realized sometimes, I was sending the kids back to parents that were strung out on drugs, drunk all the time, or completely neglecting for no reason other than they should have never had kids. Because -newsflash- many people shouldn’t have and no matter how many pictures you post of your baby eating pureed peas, I’m not convinced.)
Regardless of the fact that I sincerely enjoy kids’ company, it has become increasingly clear that even as my body hits it’s baby-making stride, I don’t want them. No alarm has gone off in my uterus announcing to me now! now is the time you want to turn your vagina into a baby canal! Make haste! Make it rain on them fallopian tubes!
Luckily for me, I’m in a relationship with a guy who also doesn’t want kids, which is important, because I’ve had boyfriends that wanted to claim stake to my womb by nailing their sperm into the walls of my insides like little conquistador flags. Obviously, that didn’t work out for us, and most of them have moved onto have those children they wanted so desperately with women that either didn’t know better or wanted them just as badly.
And even though my parents both want grandchildren, and even though parents are constantly praising the wonders of parenthood, and even though everyone keeps telling me one day I will change my mind, I’m perfectly content with the idea of never having a baby. I’m not ashamed. I don’t feel bad. And I certainly don’t mind being able to spend my days off rubbing Nutella all over my body while watching every episode of Saved by the Bell ever and having wine and zebra cakes for dinner.
And so, I pried away at myself and dug deep inside the core of the internet to better explain why I -and probably you too, surfer of the interwebs- shouldn’t have babies.
The obvious first issue at hand was to try and decipher why I wanted kids at all. What drive was behind creating a mini-me? Besides the obvious whoops, I got magically pregnant on accident, this is all I could come up with…
The Main Reasons I Actually Want Children:
1.) Straight narcissism.
It’s true. I just want to look down at another being and say “You have me in you, child. You are fantastic because you are part me. You are not you. You are part me!”
People talk about their babies as an extension of themselves all the time. For good traits: “He gets that from me!” For bad traits: “I have no idea where he got that from, certainly not from me!” Others feed this compulsion by saying things like “your baby is so beautiful. It looks just like you!”
And all of this is fine, because in a way, your babies are indeed an extension of you, but the simple fact that I want to make sure my own excellence is solidified into the future is not a good enough reason to have kids. In fact, it’s a downright dumb reason to have them, and quite frankly, a lazy way to create a legacy if that is your end goal. If all one wants is to continue their own self- try and find a cure for cancer, write a novel that 9th grade English teachers use as assigned reading for a century longer, work towards a cause you believe in, become the hot dog eating champion of the world.
Do something. Don’t just pop out a baby and call it a day.
2.) So I can show people what they’re doing wrong.
I tend to judge people’s parenting styles viciously. Not because I think I am a parenting master, but simply because I have seen some horrendous attempts (or lack thereof, really) at parenting. While most of the people that I know are good parents, I see people do some shit that just doesn’t sit well with me. You know, like smoking weed and cigarettes in front of their 5 year old or cussing up a storm at the neighborhood park while double-fisting Colt 45′s or just letting their kid sit in front of the TV eating rings dings and not using their brains to engage in anything or doing heroin with their 12 year old. These things infuriate me.
First, I just don’t understand how people feel okay with things of that sort, because second, it’s pretty common knowledge that children tend to mimic their parents’ behavior. Statistically, if a parent smokes, their children are at a higher chance of smoking. The same goes for drinking, drugs, and even going to college. (See kids, this is why you are allowed to blame your parents for your lack of success and unhealthy habits.)
Essentially, I want to prove to these people I can mold a better human being simply by setting a better example. Once again, this is not a good enough reason to have a kid. Being able to say “look what I can do” or just to prove a point is as selfish a reason to have a kid as trying to lock a man down for the rest of his life. It’s self-serving and will only result in me waking up one day and being like I could have just let all the other good parents out there handle this one, but nooooo, I had to go ahead and try and be a martyr. Now I can’t go to the Britney Spears concert tomorrow, drink too many gin and tonics, and puke in someone’s boost. Meanwhile, there are still shitty parents everywhere because some people still suck.
So, I’m leaving this one up to you guys. Be better for the kids.
3.) All the good names are being taken.
Seriously. Because I’m rounding 30, and so many of the people I know are having babies, they’re getting first dibs on baby names, which is fine, but I have a feeling if I accidentally get pregnant when I’m 40, I’m going to have to name my kid Spot or Fluffy or GhostFace Killah.
Which raises the obvious point that dogs are more fun to name anyway, because you can name them Tyrannosaurus Rex or Super Soaker 300 or Picnic Table and no one talks bad about your decisions at the bus stop.
So I’ll just get a puppy.
4.) I want to read them books.
There are so many magical stories I read when I was young that I want to share with a child. Alas, as I realize I will also have to change this kid’s diapers, I’ll settle for reading The BFG and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to my dog named Baberham Lincoln Jr.
But on the other more important hand…
The Main Reasons I do NOT Want to Have Children:
1.) They’re expensive and I’m broke.
They say on average a middle income family will end up spending about $221,000 (plus some change) from birth to 17 years old on just one child and that is only including necessities. That’s not factoring in computers, cell phones, toys, trips to Disney World, Fruit Striped gum, college tuition, bicycles, One Direction CDs, etc. I could probably go out and buy 100 babies for that price and still have enough money to buy myself some over-the-knee boots and a month long trip to Hawaii.
I’m not ready to stop making frivolous purchases online at one a.m. Or not spend my last ten dollars on a bottle of wine. I worry enough about money as it is, I cannot imagine having to add the fact that I have to feed, clothe, and shelter another human being. And just imagine what you could buy with $221,000? 14.74 luxury trips to Africa, 1,473.33 pairs of boots, 7,892.86 bottles of Jamesons, 442 iPads, whatever you want. And as fun as buying baby clothes and high chairs may be to some, I’m totally more interested in buying 276.25 Labradoodles and dressing them in argyle sweaters.
(Fun fact: the condom apparently has a 9 million dollar return on investment rate when paired against the cost of a child? Wrap it up and save.)
2.) I like having sex all the time.
It’s no secret that couples with children have less sex. Mainly because they’re constantly talking about how they never get to have sex, but this can be backed statistically too. Sexual activity drops 40% after the little cock blocker is born, and 25% of that 40% say they only have sex once a month. What the fuck? This alone is enough to make me believe abortion is the answer. I get mad at my boyfriend if he hasn’t had sex with me in 36 hours. I can’t even imagine making an advance and having him sigh and mutter “I can’t right now. The baby just shit their pants.”
I can’t give my boyfriend a blow job in the parking lot of Hannafords if there are a bunch of kids sitting in the back of the car. And I can’t wait for him at home wearing nothing but a polka-dotted corset and thigh-high stockings if the kids are watching Sesame Street in the living room. And I can’t just leave the vibrator and handcuffs on the kitchen counter after we’re finished using them if the kids are eating chicken nuggets at the dining room table.
No one else’s schedule interferes with the fact that Bill and I may want to sit naked on my couch playing Connect Four for two hours straight. And I love that and I’m not ready to give up those little luxuries and freedoms. And maybe I never will be willing to give them up and that’s okay, too.
3.) Plus, I still really like my boyfriend.
You often hear about a couple having issues, and so they decide to have a baby. For whatever reason, having that to share seems like it will bring them closer or some illogical shit like that. However, 67% of couples with children say that they had more arguments after they had those children. Honestly, I can already find enough to whine about (you haven’t had sex with me since breakfast!), I don’t need to add in decisions regarding another human being’s outcome and life.
The fact that my arguments with Bill are seldom and fleeting is because they only involve us. Whoa, you got waaaay too drunk last night or stop throwing bottle caps all over my apartment or we can’t save every mouse living in your stove. There is no one else that can affect or is affected by the outcome of our eventual talk to work it out and no one to get between the sex stuff we’re going to do right after that on top of my desk chair. (Foolproof make-up method: “compromise” -you can try and get one bottlecap in the garbage can a day- followed by intercourse, sealing the agreement. Sexual activity must last at least 45 minutes or no deal.)
Essentially, without kids, you just worry about nothing, except whether you’re having pizza or sushi for dinner. Not you’re too rough with our baby! Four days in ‘time out’ is a little overboard, no? Or our baby cannot just eat ketchup for breakfast. I don’t care if it’s made from a fruit, it is not acceptable as a meal.
(Fun Fact: on average 12% of women say their child caused the divorce, so it totally could have been your fault, kids.)
4.) Honestly, three reasons are enough for me.
This is the point where all the parents of the world start saying things like “Ooooh, but it’s soooo worth it.” Okay, great, but so is an extra quarter million dollars and orgasms all day, e’ryday.
But, who knows? Maybe in ten years I’ll be bored, traveled to all the places I wanted to, accomplished all the dreams I aspired to, and had enough sex with my boyfriend that I don’t even care about our relationship anymore.
Chances are though, I’m not going to change my mind, and even if I do, I’m going to make sure it’s for the right reasons and not just to get a few jollies out of a completely life-altering decision that directly affects a person who does not even exist yet.
Until then however, I’m completely satisfied with playing with everyone else’s kids. (Sorry Mom and Dad.)