Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I said no...

to having kids, right now and probably ever, and I don't feel bad about it.

*stands on large soapbox*

Now hear this! Now hear this! I don't particularly like children. They're cute when they smile, and they smell like baby powder and holding one for a few minutes is fine, but beyond that...I don't like the little buggers.

*and half of the readers of this blog go running into the dark, screaming words like 'childhater' and 'selfish'*

I remember fondly having the same dream that I imagine lots of other girls who are between the ages of 13 and 15 have about getting married and raising a pack of children. Then reality in the form of high school, college and the real world, slapped me around and made me realize that I don't usually want to take care of me let alone some tiny person. And this month's article in Bitch Magazine (issue no. 32) showed me that I'm not alone. Not that I thought I was, but its not something that people talk about.

I mean you don't see that lone female, guy or couple of a certain age, who are without the typical accoutrements of parenthood (read: pacifier, bottle, baby wipes, kiddie leash, etc.) and walk up to them and say casually, "no kids...good on you mate!" Its just not done. However, I did have a customer walk up to me on Mother's day and after wishing me a happy one "if you have kids," to which I responded without a beat, "Oh I don't like children." She was shocked, I wasn't. She quickly recovered with a refreshing, "I've never heard someone actually say that before." And surprisingly enough she wasn't offended at all. More like she was shocked to actually hear someone say it out loud.

I'll be up front about it, I'm selfish. I like my things the way they are, I like my body (sometimes) the way it is, I like having really cool glassware and going on trips (if I can afford them), and drinking a lot (if I want) and not having to worry about if some other soccer mom sees me, or if my kid's teacher sees me doing something else that isn't part of the parent approved behavior. I like being independent.

Having kids, while it brings a certain joy into the lives of some or many, doesn't do the same for me. It holds none of the happy, shiny thoughts it did when I was younger. In fact it has the opposite effect. I've got a niece and nephew and two godchildren. I haven't seen them in at least three years and while I take no pride in that, because I do have a heart (somewhere under this thick skin and through the barbed wire), I don't like being made to feel guilty by a society obsessed with procreation and everyone wanting, nay needing to have kids.

Instead, I'm perfectly happy to see my friends with kids, remark on how cute they are (or not remark at all if I don't think they're Gerber material), and move on. In ten years when I'm still childless and jetting off to Fiji or struggling to get pregnant I'll look back on this and either laugh at the irony of the situation or take another sip of my champagne in first class and wonder if I can fit a massage in when I touch down.


NotCarrie said...

Yeah, I don't hear many people say they just don't like kids. Not wanting to have them isn't a big deal but for me, a person who does like kids and wants to have them, it's hard to get that you don't like them at all. It's very interesting.

I'll see you in Fiji, though;) Me and my kids, hehe.

NotMiranda said...

A very interesting post indeed. I find myself saying I don't like kids all the time, but in actuality, I do like kids. I've always wanted a dear friend or relatives kids to use as surrogates but don't harbor any dreams to have any of my own.

Good Riddance said...

I love your post. I adore children, but I don't think I will have any (more). I thought for sure that I would have a child when I was with my ex and I even told him that I wanted to have "his" baby, but it was a spur of the moment thing that I should have thought more about. Now that I'm older I really really don't think that I want to go through the nine mos of changes and years where you have no idea why they are crying when u've changed, bathe, rocked, sang, and fed them. I think I like older children. I'd prefer to not have any (more), but maybe I'll adopt a tween.

NotSamantha said...

Thanks for the comments so far. I was wondering what the blogosphere would make of such an up front post. But I try to be as honest as possible and I must admit that my weekend home last week gave me lots of food for thought. This is one such bit.

And actually, it came from NotThatYoungAunt, who has strictly stated that no children will be allowed at her wedding, and with good reason, she's older and he's older, and all of their friends are older with adult or teen children. She's also not a fan of the wee ones and said that it was her day and this was what she wanted.

"Good Riddance" thanks for your response. I was a little shocked at how much vitriol I had to vent on this and I worried what someone who has children would think, but I'm glad that you can see my point.

NotCharlotte said...

I love kids to death, but there is no way there are going to be kids in my wedding.
I've watched waaaay too many videos of the little flower girl pitching a fit and dumping flower petals in a heap in the middle of the aisle. And ring bearers losing the rings. Eff that.
My children are going to be the most well-behaved, awesome children in the history of children. I'm 100% sure. And you're more than welcome to spend time with them. Any of you.

I guess I'd better get pregnant soon ...

NotCarrie said...

Ha, Someone make note of what NotCharlotte said. If her kids turn out to be Ritalin-addicted, snot-nosed terrors we can whip that out.

NotSamantha said...

*prints Not Charlotte comment*

CoatMan said...

It is most refreshing (and, as somebody with very much the same attitude, quite reassuring) to see somebody (and, I have to say, particularly a female somebody) profess a firmly-held and carefully considered desire never to have children. It is so delightfully sensible, one wonders why more people don't do it. Perhaps that's why there are so many idiots in the world: because all the sensible people realise that having children is not a fun way to spend two decades of one's life.

As someone who, as mentioned above, decidedly does not want children myself, it is somewhat reassuring to note that there are women in the world who have the same view (I have met only a few so far): there is, at least, some hope, then, of me finding a suitalbe mate with similar attitudes.

As an aside, it might be amusing to think of the life of a person who does have children as falling into four distinct stagse:

1. being looked after by one's parents;
2. looking after one's children;
3. looking after one's parents; and
4. being looked after by one's children,

with only the brief gaps in between those phases being times of real happiness.

(For reference, I don't dislike children, per se: I have nothing against them in pricniple, some of them can even be quite nice; it's just that I don't want actually to have to look after any).

NotCharlotte said...

Snot-nosed? I'm appalled!

There is no need to keep this as a record, because they won't be horrible children.


NotSamantha said...

*takes highlighter to printed page*

Heart Of Darkness said...

Hi NotCarrie!

Thanks for the comment on my blog - yep, my charcoals are some kind of awesom! :)

Stop blowing my own horn here... first impressions last, right?

Couldn't agree with you more on the kid-stuff. I've said it SO many times before (http://lifeonthefarside.blogspot.com/2006/01/new-years-resolutions.html or http://lifeonthefarside.blogspot.com/2005/08/7-things-extended-version.html or even http://lifeonthefarside.blogspot.com/2005/11/learning-from-falling.html should display my view on those litte bundles of crap) - and as the only (okay, besides my friend Crashy, but that's a WHOLE different story) not-married-nor-with-child in my friend circle, I'm feeling a bit out... okay, so they gain up on me every now and then and try to stick me with children (babysitting is NOT something I do - you wouldn't believe how much screaming it results in when the mother comes to pick the kid up and finds a few bumps on him that weren't there before...) or pin me up against the wall on the issue WHY I DON'T WANT KIDS????

Um... they smell? They cost, time and money - time and money I much rather spend on myself (yep, what a selfish bitch, I know - me, that is, not the situation)...plus, spit happens!

Sure, I sometimes have my weak moment when I go all "aaaah!" when I see a cute baby on TV, and get all furious when people abuse kids, but who wouldn't be? I'm just human, aren't I? (and this is NOT one of those things you should ask one of my friends to validate). But I think that kids are one of those things that look better in the box.

Take care & drop by some other time! :)

Jordan said...

I have kids.. and I still don't like them. Okay well let me clarify.. I like my own kids most of the time (unconditional love blah blah blah)... but I really don't like too many other kids. I used to shiver when some of my friends brought their carpet climbers over... if I hear one more time "No honey, don't do that..." as they sit there and let them yank down all my stuff...
Well my kids are nearly'ish grown now... I'm marking the days on the calendar. :-)

Lindsey said...

I think it's perfectly ok for someone to say they don't want kids. They aren't for everyone. That's a given and good for you for standing up for yourself.

I'm 28 and havent' had kids yet b/c (other than lack of a man)I too like my idependence and flexibility. But...i do know that I DO want kids someday. Just not yet.

CoatMan said...

There should be online dating websites just for people who don't want children. That'd save a great deal of time.

Actually, it'd save even more time (for me, at least) if there were online dating websits just for people who don't want to have children, don't smoke, like cats and know the difference between "its" and "it's", but that's another story...

Corona Red said...

It does seem to be a growing trend. Most of my friends right now (we're in our early 30s, late 20s) just don't see kids happening. And they are okay with that. I myself like children -- for short periods of time. I don't see myself having any.

BabsieD said...

Good for you on taking a stand!

Why people feel the need to judge all women on the merits of marriage and procreation only is beyond me.

Let's recap our lives since we were all, like, two:
Question 1: When are you getting married?
Question 2: So you're not married yet? When?
Question 3 (happens the very millisecond you get married): When are you having children?
Question 4 (the very millisecond you birth said child): When are you having your next one?

I feel as judged as you do for maybe not wanting to have more than one child. I don't think it ever ends.

P.S. Love your blog!

NotSamantha said...

Glad to see that I'm not the only one out there. Today NotASong and I were talking and she said she could totally see starting an entire community where only childless adults were allowed to live.

Of course there would be some "mild" opposition...possibly in the form of burning something in someone's front yard, but I think overall the goal would be worth it.

Right now I live in a community that is filled with kids, and while most of the time they're in school, its just about time for them to be out for the summer and then it becomes, nonstop yelling and me playing dodge the kid who decides to pop out from inbetween two cars in addition to the chalk decorated driveway and the crying and the screaming...*bangs head against wall*.

Maybe I should just right her a check and be her first investor.