Friday, August 10th, 2007
Ten Reasons I Wish I Didn’t Have A Kid Now that I Have One
This article is a reaction to a blogger who wrote 10 Good Reasons You May not Want to Have Kids. The bolded titles are identical to the original, but my reasoning differs.
1) They are noisy
My mother gave her 3-year-old granddaughter a black bear hat she picked up last month on a Yosemite trip. It features a full bear head with a snarling mouth. The hat has ushered in an age of growling in our home. Someone growls at someone else, then there is a 10-minute growl-off with bears chasing each other around the house. You never know when an unprovoked attack will occur.
When we aren’t gnawing off each other’s limbs, we’re talking. And talking. And talking. "How are crayons made? Will you read me a book? Papa, let’s have a conversation." This little girl has put me on a pedestal as the most important, most admired, most fun, most loved person in her life. It sucks, doesn’t it?
2) Social responsibility
The days of "Me! Me! Me!" are long gone. Oh. My. God. I have to care about someone besides myself. I have to peer into the darkest corners of my being and reassess my values in order to become the type of person I hope my daughter will grow to be. I have to care about building the type of society where she will be happy and healthy. I have to hold hope for the future. It sucks, doesn’t it?
3) They are an economic drain
Oh, how I wish I could buy a luxury car, take vacations by myself, enjoy top of the line care in an old age home and listen to third grade carolers when they visit in the last December of my life. I could leave my vast wealth to my only heir, Uncle Sam. My dream is ruined now. It sucks, doesn’t it?
4) You have to teach them things
My daughter keeps asking me why. "Why does orange juice come from oranges? Why do mosquitoes suck blood? Why canâ€™t I smear my sandwich on my face? It’s my sandwich lotion and makes my skin smooth."
She doesn’t just question authority, she questions everything. She awakens long-dead brain cells in the far reaches of my mind and makes me think. She is exploring a world without boundaries and making me break down my own barriers I built decades ago. One of these days I might just snap and try the sandwich lotion. It could happen. I already dance around my house in fairy wings. It sucks, doesn’t it?
5) The TV shows and books you will have to endure
I stopped reading books after college, and certainly never read for pleasure. Now I have to browse an infinite universe of highly imaginative and funny books and choose ones to buy or loan from the library. And that’s another thing. I visit libraries now, and not because I have a book report to write or a debate to research.
And TV is a whole other issue. We stopped watching it, and our family spends time talking and doing things together. A perfectly good TV couch is going to waste and has been taken over by our cats. It sucks, doesn’t it?
6) Their friends
After my daughter developed friends, I was no longer the exclusive center of her world. She plays with kids who are just as wonderful as her, and because of them I’m building cardboard forts and taping aluminum foil to my windows and fishing for reasons to hold a party so I can build a cardboard city. It sucks, doesn’t it?
7) Constant illness
My daughter has been sick one time for every year she has been on this planet. It’s all that teaching about cleanliness and washing of hands. I can only hope she grows up fast so she can care for my wife who suffers from allergies pretty much all of the time and seems to get sick every other weekend. It sucks, doesn’t it?
8) They attract the ill-will of strangers
Life toughened when I became the role model for my child, acting the way I want her to act. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s having complete strangers walk up to me every day to tell me my daughter is beautiful. They don’t stare and point and whisper. They smile. It’s hard to stifle my laughter because even if my daughter was throwing a tantrum, I wouldn’t live my life based on how other people want me to behave. It sucks, doesn’t it?
9) Once they are born you are pretty much stuck with them
Having a child is like taking on the biggest project of my career, except there’s no oversight, no one to gauge my progress, and worst of all, I’ll die before the project is completed. I can only do my best and hope the project takes on a life of its own and becomes a source of pride for me. It sucks, doesn’t it?
10) They are ungrateful
My daughter gets sad when I am sad, wants to fix me when I’m sick, and she’s always ready with her toolkit if anything malfunctions. She gives me art to brighten my day, wants to help me with virtually everything I do, and has promised to feed me when she becomes a famous chef.
When our cat got its claw embedded in my wife’s arm and neither of them could rectify the situation, and much screaming and thrashing about and spilling of blood ensued, well, after it all, my daughter put her arm around her mom and said, "Mama, I’m here for you if you need me."
And the worst thing, the thing that pains me every day, is that having a kid is so much damn fun.
If you are thinking of having a child, don’t do it. You will come to refer to your former life as "the before time." Babies are body snatchers. Once the baby arrives, it’s too late, you’ve been replaced. This pod person, this thing you could not fathom moments before, will become the top priority in your life, forever. So, don’t do it. Don’t have a baby. Ignorance is bliss.