Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kids (a rant)

I have this constant, reoccurring conversation:

Me, "I don't want kids. I mean, fine, sure they're great for everyone else, but I've thought about it and it's just not really my gig." I try to say this as nonchalantly as possible because I know what's coming next. And it's this:

Other party, "Oh, you'll change your mind!"

(Hiding the rest behind jump for being ranty-rantyness.)

I must then resist every urge in my body to bludgeon the offending party to death.

Here's the deal: I'm no spring chicken. Not in fantastic shape. SINGLE. That's right, all caps single. Even if I met someone right this second, fell madly in love and had babies the conventional way, we're still looking at...older than I'd like to be. Do I really want to be taking on a toddler at that age? Not so much. I also invested way too much in my brain, am still carrying ENORMOUS debt from that, to then chuck it all to stay at home and raise a kid.

Yes, that's a narrow viewpoint. Doesn't have to be a two parent working household with babysitters and nannies and blah blah. Life is not traditional, least of all mine, so how it would work and when and where could all be very against the grain. Definitely a possibility that raising a kid doesn't have to follow accepted societal norms.

But let me tell you: I've CAREFULLY considered this. This is not some flip decision like looking at the menu at a diner and deciding between a burger or a club sandwich. I've actually expended time on my argument. The flip part of it goes something like this: I like expensive vacations and purses and the freedom to do whatever I want whenever and would like to continue doing that for the rest of my life. Less flip: I am not responsible enough, emotionally invested enough, or in it enough to want to spend 18 years/the rest of their lives raising a child. I've made a decision. And frankly, I think it speaks to mature and careful consideration that I'm not just running out and getting knocked up and burdening my family, society, the world at large with the care and well being of a child in an already way over populated world. Especially since I'm not doing so because some biological sensors went off in my head and I have an irrepresable urge to reproduce. Where would we be if everyone was so deliberate?

I don't judge you (out loud) for having children. That was your life choice. (I mean a broad 'you' here, not a specific 'you', for you breeders reading.) A completely and totally valid way for you to spend your time, effort and energy. Mine? I don't know where it will go yet, though I'm trying to figure it out, but it ain't to child rearing. Point is: My choice not to have kids is JUST as valid as yours to have kids.

So every time some well intentioned person says, "Oh, well, you'll change your mind" I want to stab them in the face because they are invalidating what I'm doing with my life in a swift and simple phrase as if my life is meaningless without children. It's not. And most people who don't have children lives aren't either. (And by the way, this rant comes courtesy of a friend's wife who the other night said, "You never know, you could have a one night stand, get knocked up, and that's that." I shrugged and said yeah, not wanting to continue on this meaningless conversational path, but really wanted to say, "That's what god created Plan B for, lady." Also, how freaking romantic of a notion was that argument? Geezus H. Well when you put it that way...let me go jump on the next guy I see! For fuck's sake. Know that there have definitely been others besides this person to engage me but this last one was enough to send me ranting on the topic finally.)

The further annoyance with this is that this conversation seems to happen only to me, virile female. My tall, handsome, single male best friend? Nary a peep. No one questions his decision to not have/want children. No one bugs my brother, who is actually really good with and enjoys the company of children. Because I have a uterus I'm supposed to fill it? (Insert really awful/way too obvious sex joke here.)

The irony is usually people trying to indoctrinate you into the child bearing way of life are over stressed, tired, barely able to provide for their family parents. Why, upon seeing all of that, would I ever want to join that club? Yeah, your way of life seems AWESOME! No thanks. It's like being recruited into the worst religion in the world by a bunch of cultists. "No, you have no idea how fulfilling it is!" It must be because you look freaking miserable while spouting nonsense. You and the baptist tent revivals.

Recently while having the "I don't want babie"s conversation with my smart, engaging, loving friends I mentioned how when everyone talks about how amazing child raising is, especially in the very beginning, it's because they have been biologically predisposed to think so. It keeps them from eating their young like wild animals. There are hormones and synapses and neural pathways developed so that you think your newborn is the greatest thing ever so that you don't murder it while getting only sporadic sleep. This is biology. My gay bff said, "You really shouldn't have kids. It's not just so they won't murder it...it's so they'll NURTURE it." That may be the other way to look at it. I'm good with my "don't murder it" stance.

Now, is there a narrow set of circumstances wherein the whole me and kids thing could happen? Sure. I went to law school. I don't speak in absolutes. There is always a possibility. There is a possibility someone invents cold fusion and solves the world energy crisis too, so, ya know... I've actually always acquiesced and said that should I be struck with some child rearing fever, I'll adopt some under-privileged youth. I'd like to skip that whole "incapable of meaningful feedback" baby stage. Smartassy little kids? Those are my jam. Providing for troubled teenagers? I don't doubt I'd be kinda good at that and even have past experience. But the get knocked up, have alien life form grown inside of me, be responsible for molding it into a decent human being let alone making sure it doesn't turn out to be a serial killer? You all have fun with that level of responsibility, I'm all good over here. With my dogs. And a life plan where my spinster friends and I retire together and become the new generation of the Golden Girls.

I was talking to my dad, on the heels of the friend's wife comment, ranting about the pressure to have kids and my dad, in talking about a family friend's hellion of a daughter said, "In fact, not only do I not judge your decision, I completely support it. It's like your stepmom: she doesn't drive. No big deal. But some people want to fix that problem. It's not a problem. She just doesn't drive. And like with having children, there are plenty of people who shouldn't be driving, or are driving and should stop, or should have stopped a long time ago." Have I ever mentioned that the man GETS it? He does.

I've shared this link before but geezus does Aziz just nail it (I just rewatched and I guess he verbatim says some of the things I do...but he's funnier):

And really, have you seen this video? (Also from Kimmel, which I don't even watch. Thanks, Interent!)

That's the future of our nation? What you get to deal with as a parent? Yeah. We're screwed. (Yes, I realize this is for comedy and a small sample size and maybe not the best parenting but that kid with the striped sweater truly terrifies me.)

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