As I get older –29 in July- I have been invited to a few parties in the last couple of years where my girlfriend and I have been the only ones without small children. Wow, after only a couple of hours I could not wait to rush home, flop on the couch, kick my legs up and enjoy…silence, complete and utterly uninhibited silence. Inventors: be aware, if you could can silence, mass-produce it and then sell it, you would be the MVP of Nobel laureates.
It is amazing the squealing that can come out of a two year old, sparing no eardrums in its wave of destruction and early deafness. Now imagine a whole horde of them! Running up and down, left and right, hardly ever running into each other, as if able to hear their shrieks bouncing off furniture and everything else.
Paradoxically, I like children, just not the ones I can’t give back. I enjoy playing with them and I mean with them, and not some sort of twisted mind game of my own Machiavellian design. No who can borrow Daddy’s wallet without him realizing it competitions or my own favourite version of hide and seek, were they hide and I go seek another glass of wine. In fact, I think I would be a great father and nurturer. Just in patience points alone I have managed a good karma trust fund that could be easily used to raise a child. I have just made the decision not to have any.
However, you know what I would like to do? I would like to turn this sucker and point the spotlight at you for a moment and ask you the question: ‘why would you like to have children?’ A lot of people say ‘well, to have a family, of course.’ Now, what the hell does that really mean?
You were once one (partner excluded) and now you have to be many? Concerned the gene pool is getting a little impure and adding a few of your own drops will chlorine it into a grandiose Olympic pool? Nah, no one really thinks like that. Or do you have a need to pass the family flag down the next generation? Or do you want a mini-me version of yourself, doing the same things you did or worse, the things you didn’t get to do. Play the piano, sports, be a pop star or any other lost dream? Millions of parents live precariously through their children every day. It’s a human species pass-time. This scares me the most. That and the rare type of people who use children as bargaining chips, heck one of my best friends had the catch 22 fortune of being born in a family of good stature were her mother’s main intention was to get pregnant to keep her husband from leaving. Yes, good stature, bad marriage.
Now, I am not saying that people should not have children. That is not only outlandish but also outright stupid. No, I would not say that. However it is fair to say people should not assume having children is the end all of all relationships. That is just what is expected of us in our society, nothing more.
At the very least, everyone owes it to themselves including the ‘must have one or two’ in the crowd, regardless of how sure you believe you are, to question the why to the need. It could be that you might want children for completely different reasons than you thought and that is dangerous. At least if I am making a wrong decision I am not dragging a new life down with me, just my girlfriend or whomever I am dating, but she can always leave. Tell that to a five year old: ‘Scram Pete! I changed my mind. Go become feral or something.’
By the way, since the topic of children is what is known as a ‘deal breaker’ in relationship lingo, make sure it gets discussed as soon as it is suitably possible. You don’t want to fall in love only to find you are incompatible in the breeding department.
The more I think of it, the more I am done with children. Perhaps selfishness is the reason guiding us all. Some have the dream of the 2.3 children (Canadian median), the white picket fence, the minivan, and some don’t and I love it. Would a woman change my mind? It’s hard to say, I love my lifestyle.
By the way, I am not a would-be playboy, thinking I will have an endless string of women in my pad forever. Nope my name is not Hugh. Quite the opposite, I would like to settle down just not with kids. There are women who would agree with me out there. Even if most of society and family will continue to remind us that our natural clocks are ticking away, particularly to the ladies. For the most part we have been relegated to outcasts, but notice that we are a growing demographic, so outcast for not much longer.
So, hang there, and enjoy a nice quiet weekend brunch. Personally I am a fan of poached eggs and a good cup of coffee\tea, served on a nice outdoor patio. Ah, life is good.
I think the last time my sister; mother of two got the chance to do Brunch was…well, I am not even sure, it has been that long. I would say at least 9 months before my niece was born. Coincidence? Perhaps.
Before I go, I wanted to add this last thing my friend told me happened to him last year, which reflects society’s awkwardness towards us non-breeders. I remember a short conversation that occurred at their lunchroom between Dwayne, married with two children and Brad, married with none. They are both in their mid-forties with decent paychecks to boot. One drives a minivan and is so busy on weekends that he, as a salesman actually gets more physical rest at work than at home. This is a real story.
‘Do you ever regret not having children?’
‘Most people have a few kids by now.’
‘You know Dwayne, now that you ask…yeah, I have been thinking about that…’
Voice getting quieter now.
‘…You know, I would easily trade the two houses we rent-out, the four times a year me and Lydia go on vacation, our two convertibles and the freedom of waking up whenever we want just to have the single opportunity to have a few kids.’
Dwayne’s voice quiets down to meet his.
‘HELL NO! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I LOVE MY LIFE!’