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Things the childfree know about parenthood that parents don’t
I’ve had a number of emails come through to my inbox since the conception of this blog from mombies attempting to refute my arguements that the decision to become childfree stems from a place of open honesty and maturity on behalf of a childfree person. Unfortanetly the parents that invade my inbox believe that childfreedom is a decision that is made on a whim, a spur of the moment choice that is the product of selfishness rather than one that involves weighing up the pros and cons to make a balanced, fully informed choice about something that will heavily impact your life and the lives of others around you.
Time and tme again I have refuted claims that childfreedom is “selfish” by pointing out that parents only call us selfish because they are under the delusion that parentdom makes them selfless individuals (most bingos come from a place of parent selfishness anyway). Over the years I’ve stated reasons for why childfreedom is a decision that is not made lightly (time, sleep, more money, more sex etc) only to be met with sneers and smirks from parents who inform me that “I will change my mind” and “it’s all worth it in the end”, it hasn’t been until I found this article that I have been able to explain with references some of the things childfree people examine when deciding whether to be childree or not.
In my dealings with parents over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that not many of them have an idea what raising a child entails and how difficult it is financially, emotionally and physically to be a parent. Unlike their childfree counterparts who know how hard it is to raise a child (which is why we opt out of it), parents seem surprised at the difficulty level which is why I suggest people thinking about becoming parents read the linked article first. The article is quite informative, it’s the type of article you would want a person to read before they decide to have children to give them a heads up on what it is really like to be a parent. Like all parents, the author attempts to justify all the negative aspects with “it’ll all be worth it in the end” which is rather biased but it’s a starting point at any rate.
As a childfree person, I looked at the information on the article and thought to myself “Well, duh. These are the exact reasons I’m never having children apart from “I just don’t want them”.
1. Making a Baby Isn’t as Easy as It Sounds
Well this one doesn’t really apply to me seeing as I’m gay but for straight childfree couples, this is why condoms and the pill were invented (also to prevent STDs). Childfree people don’t want kids so the natural conclusion would be to use birth bontrol.
2. The First Few Months Are Pure Torture
I think this is pretty self explanatory. Children for the first few years are completely dependent on you for their survival. They poop and pee every few hours, they need feeding and watering and sometimes they get ill, which all leads to one thing – crying. Crying leads to little to no sleep. Little to no sleep leads to sleep deprivation and stress which can manifest in some funky and horrible physical symptoms.
3. You Will Lose and Sorely Miss Sleep
See point number 2 and as an addition, kids have been know to sleep with their parents right up until they are nearly 10 or at the very least wake them up early. Good luck with that, I like sex and sleep thanks very much.
4. Children Rack Up a Lot of Surprise Costs
Things cost money. Especially children. New nappies are needed all the time and if you’re using disposable nappies, that means extra washing and an increase in the water bill. Bottles, dummies, formula (if you’re not breastfeeding), baby food once they’re off the bottle or boob, clothes every few months, a place for the children to sleep, baby monitors, a few toys – not to mention doctors visits, school fees, school supplies, an increase in car bills due to driving them around everywhere, school excursions, music or dance lessons (if the child wants them), sport, camp, child care – the list goes on and on.
Did I mention that I like my disposble income?
5. You Can Work from Home with a Child (But Only Up to a Point)
I once had a woman tell me that I could drop out of university to become a parent. No thanks. After university I got a job and if I had children, I wouldn’t be able to keep that job. Finding a job that will allow you to work from home is hard and maternity leave in Australia is a complex process, one which doesn’t pay you to be off work for nearly enough time for the child to be grown up enough so you can go back to work.
6. Going Out—Anywhere—Will Never Be the Same
This one is pretty self explanatory as well. Going out with kids, especially young kids is a pain. There’s extra baggage to bring, they run away at the drop of a hat, they throw tantrums and they get fussy. No wonder post natally depresseed parents snap and take it out on their kid – they’re so strung out and depressed, their mind just snaps. No wonder I see many parents yelling in frustration at the their kids, often abusively because they just can’t change or handle their situation.
No thanks, not for me. I like going and seeing R-rated movies or wandering a shopping center without having to cater to the needs and wants of small people.
7. You Will Never Be the Same
Your habits might change for the better. You’ll think more about the nutritional value of your food, driving safely, spending money more wisely, living longer, and exemplifying good ethics.
One would hope that a parent would do that but the amount of parents I see buying their kids KFC or McDonalds – I doubt it. The stores I hear about parents driving drunk or drugged or speeding with their kids in their lap – I doubt it. Parenting does mean that you will have to budget but unless you have a great job, childfreedom does that as well. I have homophobes living across the road from me – they’ve taught their kids to hate gays so not all parents have good ethics. I’d like to point out that all of the above things (driving safely, budgeting, ethics etc), all of those things a childree person can do.
Poop will no longer be taboo (if it ever was). Oh, the poop stories you will be able to tell when you’re a parent.
Your relationship with your partner will change. You can’t really know until it happens whether it’s for better or worse, but parenting changes the other person too and how you look at him/her.
I like the relationship I have with my partner, we have a relationship built on communication and not being a dick to each other. Stressed out people get snarky and it can put a strain on relationships. I would hope that parents have good relationships fulled with communication so they don’t breakdown due to sleep deprivation and stress.
You may have to part with previous entertainment choices. (Play video games and watch TV? Sure, but now it’s Talking Tom and My Little Pony/Voltron.)
Voltron rocks but you know what else rocks? Our playstations and computers. Our X-Box 360 and our TVs. You know what rocks even harder? No having these things broken by kids and the fact that we have 2 of most of them so both of us can play different things at the same time. We can watch porn if we want or watch a M rated drama show (or Adventure Time) without having to wait until the kids are asleep.
You will never take free time for granted again.
Because I will have lots and lots of it without children.
You might actually have more fun and become more creative. (Inventing dog costumes, drawing on the sidewalk, and trying new ways to make peas appealing weren’t on my to-do list before.)
We have a house full of video games, cartoons, colouring in books and guitars – what’s more fun than that?
You will likely experience a love and a bond that you never could’ve imagined.
I have that with my partner and it’s reciprocated 100%.
Looking at all the points in the article, the pros and cons are clear. There are just too many negatives to have children. Children isn’t something that I want but if I did actually want kids – I’d think twice reading that article. Is breeding really worth the loss in money, privacy and sleep? Is it worth the physcial, emotinal and financial stress? Not for me it isn’t.