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Women’s News: Silly Things People Have Said to Me When I Tell Them I’m Not Having Kids

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TueNight

You, Part Two.

For TueNight.com by Tamar Anitai

There will be no children in my future. Ever.

Yes, I am married. Yes, my husband knows that I do not want children. Yes, we both realize we’re extremely fortunate to be able to elect to live child-free. He doesn’t want kids either. It’s part of the reason I married him. (That, and he has excellent hair.) He married me knowing that and also because I always clean the litter box.

I probably brought up the topic of kids on the second date — it would have been a dealbreaker. My husband would make the world’s greatest father. But that alone isn’t reason enough for me to become the mother I’ve never wanted to be, take on crushing financial burden or add more to my already too-full plate.

I love my friends’ children. Because I don’t have to take care of them. Their cuteness is there to fulfill my need to see cute things. I don’t expect them to behave for me, and they don’t expect 18 years of dinner from me. I see this as a good setup.

Not only do I not want children, but I think what really blows people’s minds is that I’ve realized I don’t need them. Apparently, some people agree with me, and apparently that’s national news if the August 12 issue of Time is any indicator: The entire cover story was dedicated to the marvelous epiphany that “having it all” — whatever that even means — for some Americans means not having children. We’ve come far as a country, haven’t we, when a well-established journalistic bulwark recognizes that — gasp — married couples might actually chose to subvert the cultural paradigm and elect to never need a minivan! What’ll they come up with next? Gay people having babies? What sorcery is this?

Listen. I’m being real here: I need my sleep much more than I need children. Does that sound selfish? That’s probably because it is! Which is probably one of the top reasons I shouldn’t enter into parenthood in the first place. Which is just so funny, because people who have no business being in my business say the darndest things when I tell them I’m not having children. A sampling:

“You should totally do it! It’s a blast!”

I bet having a dog is also a blast, but I don’t even want the responsibility of caring for a dog. You’d probably talk me out of having a dog I didn’t want to care for, so why would you try to talk me into having a human being I don’t want to care for?

“You’ll change your mind.”

This is one of my absolute favorite things that people like to say when I tell them I’m not having children. It’s so funny, because it implies they know me better than I know myself. To which I like to respond, “HOORAY! A REAL, LIVE, FREE PSYCHIC! What else can you tell me about myself that I don’t know? Will I win the lottery? Will I ever finally lose those last, stubborn five pounds, or should I just give up? Also, how will the final season of “Mad Men” end?? Will we ever find out what really happened on the final scene of The Sopranos? What other secrets of the universe are you hiding in that magical brain of yours?”

“But what will you do when you’re old?”

Um, let’s see… hopefully spend the savings account that I didn’t drain on summer camp and braces and college on traveling the world, all while dressed like Bea Arthur in “The Golden Girls.” Playing shuffleboard. Hopefully.

“You’ll just figure out a way to afford it.”

LOL. Oh GOD you are just the funniest thing! Truly, a hoot! You’re a stand-up comic, right? What’s funny about that bullshit is that someone probably shared the same Pollyanna-ish platitude with the millions of people in this country who couldn’t afford kids when they started out and still — even with college educations and decent jobs — never managed to “just figure out a way to afford it.” The other thing that’s funny is that this is another of the benefits of not having kids — you never have to figure out a way to afford it.

“But what if you regret never having your own kids?”

I’d rather regret never having children than have children and regret it.

“But you’ll never know happiness like the happiness of being a parent.”

I’ll also never know what it’s like to have a penis. Or be Cuban! Or be able to dunk a basketball on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. I’ll also never know what it’s like to change a fetid diaper or what it’s like to have a teenager who devotes months, if not years to hating me, followed by decades of passively resenting me. Thank you for your genuine concern regarding the status of my happiness, Deepak Chopra, but as a genuinely content person, I’m living proof that happiness isn’t just reserved for parents and that it’s possible to know happiness without venturing into parenthood. I love it here on the sandy child-free beach upon which I’m currently sunning.

“Why wouldn’t you want to have children if your body is capable of it?”

Yes, someone actually said this to me. My body’s also capable of having a gang bang, but I’m definitely not boarding that bus. So I’m not even honoring that with a response. The side eye was invented for this occasion.

“Good for you!”

Thank you. Can’t say I disagree.

Illustration: Kat Borosky

About TueNight:

TueNight is a weekly online publication for women to share where they’ve been and explore where they want to go next. We are you, part two. As Gen-X women, we don’t have a roadmap to this thing called life, so we are inventing our own. www.tuenight.com

Follow TueNight on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tuenight

Read More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tuenight/silly-things-people-have-said-to-me-when-i-tell-them-im-not-having-kids_b_4098642.html?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women?utm_hp_ref=women&ir=Women

 

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Comments

  1. randomblurting says:

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant piece!! I can somewhat relate to this when people will say to me how comes you don’t want MORE kids??! It baffles them that myself and my husband are actually content and feel grateful to be blessed with even one child (especially as I cannot conceive naturally). Thank you for sharing this.

  2. I have a new one for your list.. 🙂 What if one of you changes your minds in the future and the other doesn’t?

  3. girlychristina says:

    Wonderful post! =) Congrats to you for knowing what you want and being honest about it. You are doing what’s right for YOU and what YOU want to do, so it’s your life and nobody else. This is a true example of doing what you want to do since everyone is going to talk anyways! =)

  4. Amazing! Just amazing! I can’t stand how people give women (and men!) the stink eye if they don’t want kids. So, what! Who cares! As selfish as this sounds, I’m on this planet for me and (right now) I want to focus on myself and the people I love. I don’t want to be tied down and having a child would totally tie me down.

    Good on you, lady! You’re awesome! 🙂

  5. From a mom of 7 (4 biological, 3 adopted), I’d say……”GOOD for you!!!” And I also tell my older girls who are at the age of marriage, “Children will CHANGE YOUR LIFE…..so just remember I told you so, and if you want to have a career or do anything that requires time, energy and creativity….KNOW that logically, having children means having less time for yourself.” DUH, right? 🙂 We all tend to look down on people who are not “like us.” I feel like people look down on me for having so many children. But every path you take in life will come with sacrifices. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on no children. 😉

  6. So smart, so well written and even-keeled, absolutely fabulous! I think the best line, though they’re all great, is “I’d rather not have kids and regret it than have kids and regret that.”

  7. I love, love, love this post. It amazes me that people ask. I have a friend that can’t have children and she is asked regularly, before people know, “Why don’t you have children?” It is so rude, it blows my mind every time. She then needs to share a piece of her private life with someone she barely knows. I’m just as stunned by the examples you give above. As if you need to explain the plan for your life to anyone. Absurd. I can’t say anyone has ever asked me why I have children, or asked a man when he was going to have children or get married for that matter. These decisions seem so intimate and I will never understand why people feel they have entrée into that part of any person’s life. Fantastic post.

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