I get this question, literally on a daily basis from someone, be it a friend, relative, or co-worker and even on occasion, a new acquaintance or stranger. For my own sanity and the personal safety of those who inquire, I have to believe that I am not the only one who has this problem. Now, I realize that not all parents fall into this category and if you are not one of these people, there is no need to take offense. However, the people who do this, please pay attention.
The short answer is: I don’t plan to – EVER. But, I will elaborate a bit.
Not all people have to be parents to be complete. I do not have children. This is not an accident, it is a personal choice. I am a happily married woman, in the midst of my child-bearing years, and I do not dislike children (at least not until they hit puberty.) However, strange as it may seem I do not desire the stresses or rewards of motherhood. Please stop trying to sell me on the idea. I am very well aware of the joys of parenthood, I watched ‘The Cosby Show’ in the 80s and ‘The Simpsons’ in the 90s, the recent sensation that is Modern Family, and all of the other great TV families in between, but this issue is still not up for debate. The negotiations are closed. You are wasting energy and time, yours and mine. And while I appreciate your concern, I cannot help but wonder, why ARE you so concerned? Why is my uterus and its activity so important to you? I’m not quite sure why some parents feel the need to recruit others to have kids. Sorry, but I do not want to join your cult.
Please don’t misunderstand, I’m sure it is a lovely cult and you can feel free to leave some pamphlets or other literature in case I change my mind. But as an adult, living in American, I have chosen to exercise my freedom in this aspect of my life. Yet when I explain this to others, after they nosily interrogate me regarding my choice, I endure some mocking questions that I would like to take a moment to address. Not that I need to justify myself to you, but consider this a public service announcement from one of the many adults who does not have children.
Stupid Question #1
“Who will take care of you when you grow old?”
Answer: Robots, probably.
Rebuttal: If you have children merely so they can become your care-givers when you grow old and sick, you are in for a rude awakening, what if your kids are gold-digging, stick people with no souls who would sooner shove you down the stairs than wipe your behind or chauffeur you around to endless doctor’s appointments? Guess that never occurred to you, huh? Well wake up Sunshine! Unless you are one of the Walton’s, the Magic 8 Ball says, “Don’t count on it.”
Foolproof Suggestion: Wouldn’t it be easier to calculate the cost of feeding, clothing, educating, and otherwise raising a child, then divide that amount by your number of pay periods, and open a savings account to stash it in? Then once you reach your golden years, use the savings to hire a private nurse.
Stupid Question #2
“Don’t you want to have the joy of little footsteps and laughter?”
Answer: Ever heard of YouTube? There are lots of videos of cute and funny kids for your viewing pleasure 24/7. No college fund required!
Rebuttal: I know it’s hard to imagine, but there is no shortage of parents willing to lend out their children for a night or weekend of peace, so if I should long for the pitter-patter of little footsteps, or childish laughter, (highly unlikely) I can always volunteer to babysit.
Foolproof Suggestion: Ask friends, neighbors or relatives; Chances are good that just like a box of kittens in front of Wal*Mart, there are people who will give you their kid “free to good home.”
Stupid Question #3
“We were meant to procreate. What about your purpose in life?”
Answer: Oh yes, my purpose in life… whatever will I do with myself if I do not birth some babies? How will I be remembered, what will be my legacy? Welcome to this century, Encino Man, how was the thaw? News Flash: The whole “women are baby-machines” thing is so last century. What is this 1943?!? Do I look like June friggin’ Cleaver? Not only is this an outdated outlook, but when I look around, I see countless people who’s parents are not exactly proud of their choices and actions. Not that all kids grow up to make questionable decisions, but there are no guarantees and I am just fine not being remembered as the mother of a serial killer, white collar criminal or corrupt politician, thank you very much.
Rebuttal: In light of the estimated 140 million babies born each year around the world, I feel the human race is at minimal risk of becoming extinct any time soon.
Foolproof Suggestion: Go for it, just make sure you can afford to support this kid until he moves out, these days that is likely to be 30 years or so. That’s right, parenthood has a hefty price-tag. Even if he doesn’t go to college, you’re still looking hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses that don’t even begin to be recovered by those piddly little tax deductions the IRS offers. This brings me to…
Stupid question #4
“Don’t you want that great tax deduction and/or money back through earned income credit every year?”
Answer: Can I get it without the added expense?
Rebuttal: Let me start by saying, Really? You are looking at your kids as a form of income? There are so many things wrong with that picture. However, I will move onto my original point.
That so-called “great” tax deduction pales in comparison to the annual cost of healthcare, feeding, clothing, educating, and otherwise raising the average child. I am by no means a mathematician, but by crunching the numbers, it quickly becomes evident that the costs far outweigh these imaginary monetary gains. Can you support a child on the amount of money the government offers you as a tax incentive? Not in this economy.
Foolproof Suggestion: Make charitable donations and itemize your taxes. Not only will you get a nice deduction, but you will also be doing a much appreciated service to the organization of your choice.
Please do not think I am mocking parenthood. It is a really tough job and tons of people are great at it. I am not saying that you are wrong to have children. More power to you. I respect your choice, but please extend me, and others like me, the same courtesy. Do not look at us as if we are broken or mentally unstable and we will do the same for you. Just a little something to consider the next time you ask someone, “When are you going to have children?”