Ever since it was known that I have no desire to have kids, I’ve noticed the societal push back. I’m not judging your decision, so why judge mine?
“Oh, you’ll have kids,” spoke the voice of my now-ex in calm derision soon after I told her of my choice to not have children. We loosely discussed it during the relationship, we both thought it was the thing to do or, at least, something we should seriously consider. Society told us we should. We were both, as the cliche goes, young and in love. In retrospect, if we pursued it properly, I’m certain it would have been a massive mistake.
We would have been decent parents, but we would have also been awful parents. Neither of us really wanted it. It would be having kids for having kids’ sake, the genetic equivalent of ordering pizza when hungover. We probably would have grown into the role, but we applied for the job purely because it was advertised. We were as convinced as much as we weren’t convinced.
This is a condition that I’ve been fighting for a while. “Of course it’s your choice to have kids, but if you don’t make the obvious choice, there’s something obviously wrong with you.” I mean, there’s nothing complicit from those I know, but the shift has been noticeable. There’s an “us” and “them” vibe within the crowd. The adults and the kidadults. You’re never not invited to something, but considering you’ll know the discussion will swirl around kids, you tend to allow yourself to not make it. Which is a shame, as these people are still your friends, but sometimes avoiding it is better than enduring it. Besides, if your glee doesn’t match theirs, it engenders ill feeling. I don’t blame them, watching someone grow under your tutelage must be exciting, but the same topic, no matter what it is, tends to get grating quick.
While my love for OPP (Other People’s Progeny) has evolved, my desire to want one has decreased. Children have flooded the marketplace. My greatest value as a consumer is testing the wares, but never purchasing. I’ll have all the kids in the world, but as long as I can give them back.
The question I’ve been struggling with is: as an eligible person with eligible reproductive bits, do you have to use them? Moreover, if you don’t, why are you surreptitiously viewed as a societal subset? There are no “non-mommy” blogs, nor is there a varied advertising market that plays on my desires according to my hormones. If I choose not to bring a child into this world, why is my place in it marginalized? We’re just people. It’d be selfish to have kids if I didn’t want them. I’m making an educated choice to remain the singular.
Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I love kids. They’re fun. Being a favorite uncle is an honor. But the primary weapon aimed at the childless is the assumption that you’re being childish. “You’ll change your mind when you get older.” No. While my love for OPP (Other People’s Progeny) has evolved, my desire to want one has actually decreased with age. Children have flooded the marketplace. My greatest value as a consumer is testing the wares, but never purchasing. I’ll have all the kids in the world, but as long as I can give them back.
The best way I can preach to the parents, to try and convince those whose eyes are narrowed or shoulders raised: it’s just not for me … and that should be okay.
In the same way that I’m not judging your choice to have kids, perhaps you can do us the same respect and not judge us for not joining you.