Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I don't want kids. Am I selfish?

Am I selfish?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Maybe I'm just being honest with myself.  Hell, maybe it's a little of both.  Bottomline: at this point in my life, I do not want children.  And, as it stands, I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Prior to moving to the East Coast, my job required me to talk to couples, former couples, widows/widowers, and newlyweds. etc.  The number of folks that I spoke with that loved their kids but would NEVER do go through the child rearing years again far outweighed the number of folks that wished they could do it all over again.   Now, I readily admit that this is nowhere near scientific and extremely anecdotal.  However, it was convincing enough to underscore my leanings against parenthood.

I've been told that I'd make a good father.  When I told my own father that I didn't want children, he actually paid me a great compliment.  He told me that me (and my two sisters... I guess...) where his greatest gifts and that I taught him things and how to be a better father.  If I can teach him how to be a better father then he KNOWS I would be a great father.  So much for those that can't, teach - am I right?  Seriously, that was probably one of the most meaningful conversations I've ever had with my father.  Yet I remain unconvinced.

I often hear that the "good" far outweigh the "bad."  Or that moment when your little one looks you in dog'd her eyes get, I still haven't been able to square that with the crushing financial burden, diminishing "bucket-list" accomplishments, or additional responsibilities.  I can barely get MYSELF out of bed in the morning to go to work and now you want me to get another human being up?  No thanks.  I see no reason to let yet ANOTHER person down.  I may be 100% wrong, but I find it extremely hard to believe that I will enjoy my little ones ballet recital.  That would have to be a damn spectacular recital, but I'm sure I'd fake it.  I'm sure my parents did.  Of course I think about those chest puffing proud moments almost all parents experience, but... nope... still not there.
the eyes and says, "I love you daddy" make it all worth it!  I believe that is true -- for some folks.  But not for me.  Is that cold-hearted?  Again, it may be.  But I've never been an overly emotional person. 
I hope to avoid being THIS guy: Damn kids, get off my lawn!

But, beyond that, I know that -- yes, with my old ass -- I know I'm still immature.  But, I'm okay with that because (1) I attempt to hide it well, and (2) since it's ME, I'm okay with me being immature -- significant others may take some issue with it...  In some areas, this is seen as a plus.  I'd actually be able to sit down and watch Sponge Bob with my kids and be just as engaged.  Also, having a child would allow me to go to the movies to watch Shrek without using my mother for my date.  But, answer me this: How in the world can I tell someone else NOT to do something that I was thinking about doing?  I don't know, I think my kids would simply see right through that charade.  

No, I enjoy being able to go out with friends or leave the country without having to find a 'sitter or paying out the ass for child care.  As late as I am in MY own life, I couldn't imagine having a young one depend on my to come and pick them up; yes, I LITERALLY see that forehead slapping moment when I get home after work when I'm reminded that I forgot to pick Fed_UP Jr.  So yeah, it's selfish, but it's also prudent.  We ALL have seen those folks with kids who probably shouldn't...

In 2011, I read a study in Psychological Science, which suggested that parents create rosy pictures of parental joy as a way to justify the huge investment that kids require.
[scientists] suspected that parents who were focused on the costs of parenthood would be more likely to experience feelings of conflict and discomfort. They also expected that these negative feelings would motivate them to idealize parenthood in order to trump the negative feelings.

[scientists] put their findings into a historical perspective: In an earlier time, kids actually had economic value; they worked on farms or brought home paychecks, and they didn’t cost that much. Not coincidentally, emotional relationships between parents and children were less affectionate back then. As the value of children has diminished, and the costs have escalated, the belief that parenthood is emotionally rewarding has gained currency. In that sense, the myth of parental joy is a modern psychological phenomenon.
This in NO WAY is an indictment on folks who do have children.  God bless you!  I wish I had it in me, but I don't.  I won't apologize for that.  But I will applaud you for your commitment and devotion.  I heard someone say that they'd rather regret never having children than having a child and regretting it.  That pretty much sums it up for me.

Thanks for reading.
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