50 Reasons Why: Having Kids Isn’t for Everybody

 

I’m 32 and despite the fact that I’ve been saying that I don’t want children of my own since I was myself a child, it seems that people are only just starting to believe me. Maybe it’s the fact that people are finally beginning to accept that parenthood is not for everyone, maybe it’s the fact that people are finally starting to recognize how chronically unsuited I am to that type of life, or maybe we all just have something better to argue about with this hellfire of an election season. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for this acceptance. But I shouldn’t have to be because having children is one of the most personal and important decisions a person can make and no one should assume they know what’s best for someone else.

Typically, when pressed I present my handful of generic reasons behind my desire to remain childless, with the exception of my furkids. But I’ve recently come to realize that the reasons are actually legion and while some are serious, others are actually pretty funny.

So here they are, my top 50 reasons for not wanting children, without judgment for those of you who feel differently:

  1. Sleeping in. It’s my favorite thing ever, and from my friends’ Facebook posts I gather you don’t really have that option when you’ve got kids.
  2. I like to travel. What would I do with a kid while I spend three weeks in India? It was hard enough to figure out what to do with my cats.
  3. What if they turn out to be a Trump supporter?
  4. I don’t want to share my food.
  5. Every other word out of my mouth is a curse word and that’s not something I’m willing to change.
  6. Childbirth. I seriously don’t know how or why so many people voluntarily take on this experience and kudos to them for their courage, but I have no desire to join their ranks.
  7. All of Finding Nemo. What if my kids were eaten by a barracuda? What if my partner dies trying to rescue them? What if my one surviving child wanders away?
  8. It would be seriously stressful for my pets.
  9. What if my partner and I split up? What if he got custody of them? What if I got custody of them and it made them bitter against me? This might seem like a very specific “what if,” but every kid I knew growing up dealt with this and as badly as it sucked to be us, I imagine it was worse for our parents–their fear of losing us, their resentment of their partner because of that fear. Also, I now have the luxury of walking away from failed relationships and forgetting that my exes exist. A kid ties you to that person forever, and who wants that?
  10. I like my stuff. That might sound selfish, but I have family heirlooms that I received after my grandmother died that remind me of her when I look at them and treasures from international adventures to Morocco and Spain and Peru. Kids break stuff.
  11. All of Breaking Bad. If that show taught me anything it’s that the people you love the most can be leveraged against you to convince you to do things you would not otherwise do and nothing is more vulnerable than a child.
  12. Anxiety. I worry about my pets while I’m at work for eight hours. Every. Day. I’m prone to anxiety, and if I had a human child out in the world it would kill me to spend every day imagining all of the terrible things that could happen to them that I couldn’t protect them against.
  13. School shootings (and shootings in general). I worry about my half siblings being in school. I can’t imagine what it would be like to send my kid to school each day knowing it’s not the safe haven it seemed to be in my day.
  14. Bullies. A little kid once yelled at my dog for peeing on a tree and I now fantasize about cutting down his tire swing every time I walk by his house. If some kid was mean to my kid for any reason whatsoever, I would become a full-blown monster.
  15. Money. Kids cost a lot and, despite the fact that my boyfriend and I both work full-time, our disposable income is limited. I literally can not fathom how people cover the costs of diapers and food and housing and college. Our only spare bedroom is currently in use for airbnb guests so we can hopefully finance a second bathroom at some point.
  16. Time. After work and chores and sleeping, I only have so much free time and there are so many books I want to read, places I want to see, books I want to write, art projects I want to do, that I don’t have enough time as it is. My understanding of parenting, especially during those early years, is that you don’t do much else. Again, kudos to those who want to make that sacrifice but I’d rather read.
  17. Overpopulation. I don’t want to be too big an asshole here, but the world has finite space and resources and we’re definitely at a tipping point.
  18. Climate change. I’d be terrified of my kids growing up in a world with species of animals blinking out of existence on a regular basis and rising sea levels, not knowing what the world will look like by the time they’re adults, not knowing how long our planet will be capable of maintaining life.
  19. Poop. I don’t like dealing with it. For that matter, I’m not wild about the idea of dealing with another person’s urine or vomit and I’m fairly confident that children are full of all of those things.
  20. Dealing with other parents aka adult bullies. I’m an introvert and, for the most part, have cultivated the type of life that allows me to interact with people I want to interact with and ignore the rest. Dealing with 18 years of scheduling play dates and tournaments and PTA and teacher’s meetings with people with whom I have nothing in common is literally one of my worst nightmares. Not to mention, parents are often insanely judgmental and I don’t want to spend half an hour defending my parenting decisions to people who are unaware there is a world outside the nursery.
  21. My temperament. I really enjoy telling people off for being assholes on Facebook or taking a break from people who are being shitty, as all people have a habit of being at one point or another. I do not have the patience of a saint. I don’t forgive easily. I would probably hold the fact that my toddler told me she hates me against her forever. I sympathize with parents who pull over and leave their kids by the side of the road. That’s just who I am, but at least I recognize that.
  22. I don’t think I could handle a temper tantrum about not getting a bag of chips or the unfairness of the world with a straight face.
  23. I’m not watching three hours of cartoons unless they’re cartoons that I actually want to watch.
  24. Dawn in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve never wanted to reach through a screen and strangle someone so badly. That whiny, self-obsessed, pubescent little monster almost ruined the show for me.
  25. I really like swings and I don’t think my kid would enjoy me hogging all the best stuff on the playground.
  26. I’m not willing to add that kind of stress to my relationship with my boyfriend. We already spend too much time discussing how much the cats ate that day, or whether to take the dog to the emergency room and scheduling obedience classes and playdates for them.
  27. I think it would be hypocritical of me to tell a child to stop eating sugar and eat more vegetables while I was eating a sleeve of raw cookie dough.
  28. Captain Fantastic. Watching that movie, I realized that’s more or less the kind of parent I would want to be and that would require quitting my job and moving to the mountains and I’m just not prepared to make that kind of sacrifice.
  29. Temper tantrums in public. Most of the time I’m in public I wish that I was invisible and it’s really hard to be invisible with a shrieking, writhing ringwraith of a creature in tow.
  30. I don’t want to buy an iPhone for a 10-year-old.
  31. I don’t want to have a conversation about buying an iPhone for a 10-year-old.
  32. My expectations. I have an A-type personality and am baffled/frustrated by people who are late, miss deadlines, fail to get straight A’s in school, and generally lack the same drive. That is an unreasonable expectation to foist on anyone, but especially a child. But I don’t know that I’d be able to help myself. Unless my kid was Hermione Granger, I’d be disappointed.
  33. I don’t have all the answers, and it would kill me every time I didn’t.
  34. I don’t think YouTube videos of cats knocking babies down would be as funny if I actually had a kid.
  35. I hate meal planning.
  36. Mean Girls. If I was an adult in that movie I would start slapping and probably never stop.
  37. The Humans of New York series on Pediatric Cancer. I can’t imagine much worse than having a child develop a life-threatening illness and that’s something I never want to live through.
  38. I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts. If my kid got one before me, I’d have to lock her in a broom closet, steal the letter, and try to pass for a 10-year-old at Hogwarts.
  39. I can’t explain war, rape, genocide, murder, misogyny, homophobia, and racism and I don’t want to have to try.
  40. I would totally have favorites, except mine would be the animals.
  41. Lord of the Flies.
  42. The pope said childless couples are selfish and I love to piss off the pope.  
  43. I already spend too much time doing laundry.
  44. I wince when I hear a baby or child screaming in public.
  45. What if my kid turned out to be a serial killer or rapist or murderer? People always seem to blame the parents but I’m sure there are cases of people being raised by loving parents who still turn out to be the absolute worst sort of people. And then the parents have to live with the guilt and horror of that.
  46. It’s bad enough going through heartbreak yourself; I can’t imagine having to watch my own kid go through it.
  47. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about going to work.
  48. I have no interest in becoming an unpaid chauffeur.
  49. Tim and Lex in Jurassic Park. And basically every child in every Jurassic Park movie. The point of this franchise seems to be as much about pointing out the hubris of people who don’t want children as it is about pointing out the hubris of bringing back a long-extinct species of animal without considering the consequences. Does anyone recall the violently aggressive and unwarranted shaming of the character of Claire Dearing for presuming to be a workaholic who loves her job in Jurassic World? Or the know-it-all girlfriend in the original Jurassic Park trying to convince her paleontologist boyfriend who spends most of his time digging up dinosaur bones that they should have children? And, as evidence of this, he gets landed with Tim and Lex who are so completely and utterly incompetent in survival situations that the audience probably would have forgiven the scientist for abandoning them and setting out on his own. Lex shines a flashlight at a T-rex, Tim won’t jump off a fence to save his own life, and even for the brief moments in which the tour is actually pretty good, they won’t shut up long enough to actually appreciate the fact that they’re in the presence of dinosaurs.
  50. All the stupid shit I did as a kid from fighting with my brother to calling my mom at work to complain about my brother to trying to hatch eggs in my sock drawer to cracking my dad’s windshield with my brother’s head to pulling the croutons and dressing out of my mom’s bags of salad and leaving the vegetables to wilt … and I don’t think I was worse than average. I was just a kid, which translates to a tiny money-sucking monster who probably deserved to be slapped more days than not.
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