i had a revelation regarding why i don’t want kids. this is big news because i’ve asked a lot of people why they want them or why they had them, and i’ve never really got any great answers. mainly just generic stuff like “it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.” that doesn’t mean shit to me, unfortunately.
but a few days ago, bill mentioned that he wants to have kids in the next few years and just like every other time i’ve been confronted by people wanting kids, i’ve wondered why. i mean, i can imagine some nice times with kids, like seeing them amazed by stuff they see for the first time, teaching them to swim, stuff like that. but by and large, i imagine vast deserts of disappointment: sleepless nights, lots of crying, increased stress on my marriage, very little time for anything else, being chained to this needy creature for 18 years, changing a lot of diapers and getting a lot of shit on my hands (literally), dealing with temper tantrums, losing my own temper in return, having the police drop my surly teenager off after a run-in with the law, dealing with their accidental pregnancy and bad attitude, their various other life choices i simply couldn’t accept…i imagine how i’d feel when my own flesh and blood failed to live up to my unrealistic expectations. i would wonder if it was all my fault or if i did all i could to give my progeny the best chance at life. that’s what i think about when i think about having kids.
then i thought about it from bill’s perspective. he’s always had a really happy, tight family. they still hang out all the time, they’re as close as i am with my best friends. so that’s what he thinks of when he contemplates having kids, and of course it’s very attractive to him. he wants to keep the family party going for another generation.
that makes perfect sense to me. i wish someone had explained it like that years ago.
i don’t have a tight family. i refuse to speak to some of my family, and some of them refuse to speak to me. the family i do still speak with, i’m not tight with. we keep in touch but that’s about the extent of it. and it’s not just me, most of my family don’t speak to each other. so it’s quite a different picture from bill’s — maybe my dysfunctional family has made the prospect of creating my own family appear like too much of a risk, too unpleasant.
i don’t think i would raise an abject failure of a human being though. i think i would be a great dad, and would raise a great kid. it’s jenn i worry about. just kidding! but despite believing in our parenting abilities, it’s just not something i’m up for at this point. i’m constantly thrilled with our childless life. the freedom we currently have is not something i want to give up. maybe one day, maybe not. who knows. but i’m glad to have a better understanding of why i feel the way i do about having kids, and why most other people might feel so different about it.