This subject has been floating around in my brain for awhile now, so I thought why not blog about it? There are thousands of blogs dedicated to the wonders and challenges of child rearing, which is fine and I enjoy reading some of them, but I rarely see any blogs that deal with questioning the decision to reproduce. Where are all the people like me, who are in no rush to get into that kind of mammoth responsibility and who will admit they are unsure about having a child? I’m not saying I’ll never have one, but the whole idea makes me nervous. Here are my reasons for my ambivalence:
1-Human overpopulation-There are 6.7 billion or actually no, wait there are 6.8 billion people on the planet and thousands of babies born every minute. With each human born, there are less resources, more pollution, fewer wildlife and plants and unfortunately more crime. Urban sprawl is another real problem and I don’t know about you, but the thought of neverending suburban houses and Walmarts, makes me want to get my tubes tied.
2-Patience or lack thereof-I’m not a patient person. (Neither is my husband, shh!) If babysitting and teaching arts and crafts to 6-year-olds taught me anything, its that children require oodles und oodles of patience. Plus, when you consider how exhausted most mothers are, it quickly reduces any possible patience, which brings me to my next point..
3-Lack of Sleep and Sex– Think about the life stages of a child-Babies scream in the middle of the night, kids get night terrors and wet the bed and teenagers stay out far too late, which makes you stay up all night wondering if they’ve been kidnapped by Jack the ripper or are out getting high. I’m already not a great sleeper, so anything that compounds the problem just might just drive me (even more) nuts!
Sex. I saw a woman on a reality show once about young couples who are having ‘relationship problems’ and she said: “Before kids, there’s lots of sex. After kids, there’s no sex”. Wow, that sounds pretty shitty actually. But surely that’s only in the first few years of your child’s life and things improve from there right? Right?!
4-Money-According to this article, the cost of raising a girl is $166, 549, while raising a boy will cost you $166, 972! (And this does not include post-secondary education, which is expected to rise to $96, 000 by the year 2021! Jesus!!) With these kind of figures, to say having a child is expensive is like saying it gets a “little nippy” in Ottawa in January! Call me selfish, but its hard not to think of all the other things I could be spending that money on-like vacations, charities, spa appointments, clothing, books and my furbabies.
5-This is still considered taboo for a woman to admit, but kids by and large just ain’t my thing. People “ooh” and “ahhh” all over babies and toddlers, but for me their cuteness ends when they start screaming. Plus-How the heck do parents eat their own food, when their chubby ‘pride and joy’ has snot and mushy peas all over its face? How does one get used to constantly changing diapers and living with the smell? Also -Some kids are just plain intolerable bastards. Yes, I said it! (Though this might have more to do with their parents not disciplining them properly)
6-Neverending Cooking and Cleaning-I already clean up after three animals and a man(he contributes in a different way around the house), where would I get the energy to clean up after a younger version of me/hubby? How do women do it? Plus-Any attempts at requesting your child actually clean up after themselves, will be met with grunts, eye rolls and “yeah yeah”. Is there some cleaning superdrug out there on the market that mothers are taking? Even if you manage to make the house spotless, there is still the matter of feeding all the beasts in your house. I’m not big on Kraft Dinner or frozen food, so that leaves, cooking the old fashioned way (Except without the meat) which is great but saps even more of your precious time and energy and your effort is usually not appreciated.
7-Free time-If you want to do a decent job of child rearing , I think its safe to say you have to devote 110% of your time to your bairne. They are needy and depend on you for all their basic needs. That’s a lot of pressure! After working a long day, all I want to do is put my feet up and watch reruns of ‘Dexter’ and draw. So the idea of starting my ‘second job’ as a momma right after working for 8 hours, is less than appealing. I love and cherish my free time-I can shop, read, paint, watch porn, whatever!-Its all up to me! Further-There are still so many activities I want to try and goals I want to accomplish in my life and I’m not really interested in compromising them.
8-Bodily changes-Naturally, you get bigger and you get stretch marks and things tend to be fairly loose “everywhere”. I could handle gaining a bit of weight, but the idea of having a sock puppet between my legs kinda freaks me out. Plus, I’ve heard your feet get bigger. Mine are an 8 1/2 and I already have a hell of a time finding shoes that come in sizes bigger than munchkin. I really don’t want to have canoes holding me upright.
9-Grade and High School (*shudders*)-Public education in this country is a bit of a joke-Most public schools are vastly underfunded, teachers are overworked and there is the whole possiblity of bullying and getting shot/stabbed nowadays. Junior and High School can be particularly hellish and it makes me feel bad having to put someone through them. But it could be a chance for them to grow a thicker skin-Didn’t work for me, but maybe it will for them.
10-What if I change my mind afterwards or screw them up? I’ve read stories of women who after having children, deeply regretted their decision. And not just on bad days, but constantly wish they had stayed on the pill or remained celibate. Also-What if I’m no good at parenting? I’m bad at math, moody and have no interest in tupperware or PTA meetings. What if we screw them up so bad they end up on top of a building one day shooting at people with a gun? Sounds a little irrational but you never know how someone will turn out. (I hear Jeffrey Dahmer had very nice parents)
So with all these reasons, it sounds like we definitely fit into the “childfree” column, but once in awhile, I see little babies and feel a slight tug. Occasionally my body has slight pangs to make a mini-me. Plus I am curious. What’s it like to carry one those things inside of you? It must feel kinda cool in a way to have a living being growing inside of your body.
Anyways, what do you guys think? Is having a child important to you or does the idea of the pitter patter of little feet make you want to run for the hills?