The Anti-Parent

23 08 2010

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.



9 responses

25 08 2010

I wish more people thought this much before deciding whether or not to have children.

25 08 2010
Evelynn Starr

Dunno, seems kind of like common sense to me… (oh yeah, i forgot, that’s sometimes in rare supply…)

25 08 2010

like ironicmom said, I wish people who go around sleeping around randomly think about this before deciding.

stop me if you’ve heard this one… oh wait, you probably have… but i actually liked being pregnant! 😉

I know you’re just making a point… and a point well said!! i wonder what my life would be like if I decided not to have kids. in fact, my sister doesn’t want kids and she is attending friends’ weddings in aruba and mexico and a ton of other things. but i love that I can carry on my legacy and family tree another generation. again… call me crazy…

25 08 2010
Evelynn Starr

Not at all crazy…. Different folks, different strokes! And thats what makes the world interesting! 🙂 Thanks for your opinion!

25 08 2010

I totally respect your decision not to have children, but in all honesty, I am a better person because of mine. I never had patience for other people. I wasn’t a very loving or kind person to anyone except my husband (and even that was limited). Since then, I’ve learned to coexist with the world around me. They have brought my husband and me closer. There’s nothing like sneaking away like a couple of teenagers or teaming up when our almost-six-year-old is trying to be clever.

While one is just 3 months old, the other is very well behaved and respectful. Right now, her biggest mission in life is to pick up litter and conserve water and energy. Maybe you’re right that people have children selfishly “to create another being in my image” or something of that nature, but I have done my best to allow her to be her own person.

Without her, I wasn’t conscious of nor did I care about the crap people threw on the street. No, I didn’t litter myself, but I didn’t try to reverse things like she is. She is anything but my own image. She is her own person, and she even might be a better person than me.

Now that I got that out (I’m not even sure you’ll read it all because it is quite long for a comment.), you have every right to say that you don’t want children and not to have any. All of your arguments are valid and well formed. Obviously, you went about it intelligently, and I wish more people put that effort into it.

25 08 2010
Evelynn Starr

Thanks for commenting so thoughtfully (and of course I read to the end!) Sounds like you have a great kid, and I’m absolutely sure her parents have something to do with that fact. Thanks also for your tolerance… these days I’m getting a lot of “Whaaaaaaaaaat? You’re over 40 and no kids?” … like I’m some kind of freak.

22 09 2010

It makes a big, big difference to the child’s life, whether or not the parents really wanted to be parents.

My own mother told my older sister that, if she could go back and do it all over again, she wouldn’t get married and wouldn’t have children. She just never liked it…but she felt that the social and family expectations were too strong. And believe me, it showed when she was raising us.

My great aunt told me the same thing: she just wanted to get a job and live a life and be happy. No kids or husband. But the expectations placed on her were so great she gave in. She told me that she felt like she had lived someone else’s life. No wonder she’s so damn snarky.

Like any important job, parenting should be left to the people who love it. It makes a difference to the child.

22 09 2010
Evelynn Starr

David – thanks so much for writing. I agree completely, but, as IronicMom noted, most people don’t think that far.

6 12 2010
The Neanderthal of Zurich « Evelynn Starr

[…] I’ve made it clear in earlier blog entries that I was not born to be a mother, I will violently and loudly defend every woman’s right to decide what she wants to do with her […]

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