It’s back-to-school time so let’s talk about… children.
Now…I am over 40 and I am childless. No, excuse me, child-free. I make that distinction because to me, “less” implies there is something one wishes one had but does not, and “free” implies that one never wanted it in the first place. So I am happily child-free, most content to have nothing to do with kids, and to be able to keep a healthy distance between them and me. As far as I am concerned, kids = problems, noise, trouble, anxiety, stress, mess, complications, expenses, broken stuff, and an all-around pain in the neck.
As far back as I can remember I had no interest in having or just being around children. A cousin and I discussed this when we were teenagers… she said she wanted kids, but didn’t care for a husband; I said I wanted a husband but no children. (Today she is a lesbian mother of two, and I am a wife. At least that worked out for both of us.)
In my early 30’s my attitude towards kids shifted temporarily. My friends started procreating and I was briefly under the delusion that I, too, must experience that facet of life, and add the label “mother” to my CV. But thankfully that phase passed and, while currently being subjected to a second veritable baby-boom in my immediate vicinity, I am now more positive than ever that I don’t need the aggravation nor do I need to boost my own ego by attempting to create another being in my image.
I can’t imagine going through the discomfort of pregnancy and the high drama of childbirth. And those two traumatic experiences mark just the beginning of problems that will last a lifetime, with no escape. No, no matter what the norms of society dictate, I can’t see how locking myself in that emotional and existential cage would make me happier, or a better person.
Seeing a very good friend turn into a shell of her former self after becoming a mother, and watching a marriage deteriorate because the adults have no alone-time has certainly not helped.
And in not having children, I am actually doing all you purportedly happy parents and the world a favor. I am making a significant contribution to the sustainability of our planet. There will be one less human being to feed, clothe, house, educate and keep safe for 80 or so years; one less person whose garbage and waste will pollute our limited natural resources. There will be no contribution to overpopulation, and in waiving my right to offspring I am also leaving more space on this earth for your kids to romp, make a racket, be creative, and thereby realize their potential. It’s only fair that they then help pay my pension.
So parents, skewer me if you want to – I’m used to it. I just don’t buy into the “kids are the best thing that ever happened to me” mind-set. Yeah, sure, your little bundles of joy are all wonderful – as wonderful as screaming, dominating little tyrants can be. Actually I love (your) kids… and thanks for going through the hassle of having some so that I don’t have to.