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What's Wrong with Nice Guys?

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Motherhood? Not for me, thanks...


My fiance and I have decided that we do not want children. Ever. The fact that I am physically incapable of carrying to term (according to my femme-friendly doctor) is moot -- he can't abide kids, and although I enjoy playing with the children in my family, there is only so much I can take before I'm going, "OK, kids, where's Mommy? Go find your Mommy and tell her Aunt Amie needs to leave NOW..." Raising a family is just an option that we have no interest in. Not to mention the fact that even if we DID, we can hardly afford feeding ourselves and our two cats, much less the endless moneypit that yawns open when one bears offspring...hospital bills, baby stuff, insurance policies, braces, clothes, toys, biger houses, bigger cars for the family, college funds...

But to hear people's reaction to this perfectly rational decision, you would think I have suggested having my blemishes and wrinkles removed with the blood of virgins. "I just don't see how anyone can NOT want kids " "Fine, you'll regret it when you're old and there's no one to take care of you!" "I believe that having children is the most important thing a woman can do with her life!" and my personal favorite, "I happen to think that people who won't have kids are selfish and immature, since having kids makes people responsible and mature " The opposition is endless. What I also don't understand is why people seem so defensive about it...just because I am not having kids doesn't mean I am a child-hating psycho who is out to get them and their families!

I don't normally listen to the criticism of acquaintances, co-workers, and perfect strangers, but the number of angry reactions and snide comments I've gotten from people makes me think that the choice to NOT have kids is even more unpopular than the decision to end a pregnancy, at least around here. I do live in the middle of the Bible Belt, but from talking to other childfree people, the attitude is more common than I'd believed. The only reason for this I can think of is there must be a vast sense of collective insecurity arising from people secretly questioning their wanting to have, or having borne children, which leads them to make statements like, "I think that not having kids is a sign of being morally bankrupt, so you are not to invite your brother and his wife to our wedding" (I am not making this one up, either!)

Fortunately, I haven't gotten too much shit from my family...but then again my mom still asserts that my religion is "just a phase," and I've been involved with it for eleven years. They're probably thinking the same things to themselves that everyone else says out loud, but they know me too well to say anything. Unfortunately, my fiance is an only child, so my inlaws are sort of disgruntled that there will be no one to carry on The Family Name. Tough. We still aren't spawning just so some poor kid can be saddled with a name that will draw endless playground ribbing and stupid jokes, like his father before him.

Sometimes I want to get up on the world's largest soapbox, clear my throat, have the full attention of America, and cry out, "LISTEN UP! SOME OF US DON'T WANT KIDS! IT'S NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS! THANK YOU!" But even if I could, I'm sure that there would be those self-righteous dissenters who would smirk, "She'll never know the joy of a child's love." And there would be those idiots who would remark, "She's not a real woman if she doesn't want to be a mom!"

The point is that motherhood or fatherhood is a decision -- yes, you can CHOOSE to have kids. It's not inevitable! There is nothing in society, no law in the government, that says that you MUST. There is no rule that says that you have to have them by a certain age. There is no unspoken agreement between all of the potential parents in this land that we will all just pop the babes out "whenever they come along." One of the most frightening things I've heard recently was of a poll taken in Washington DC, where people were asked why they had kids. The majority (about 60%) answered, "I don't know." Which suddenly makes a LOT of things clear, when you think about it.

I know there are people out there who desperately want kids, and can't have them. I know there are also people who, in their heart of hearts, realize that they weren't ready to have their kids when they did, and may even regret it. And I know there are others like me who have nothing against kids, but do not feel inclined to have any. Listen up, smug parents of the land -- NO ONE needs to be pressured into having babies or publicly insulted if they do not. You don't know the whole story and assuming that someone is being stubborn, selfish, materialistic, or is hell-bent on destroying "family values" (whatever those are) by remaining childless is ignorant and stupid.

Look at it this way -- who's gonna do all that extra work and get stuck late at the office when YOU are absent with weeks of "family leave"? Who has to pay more taxes since people with kids have been getting so many tax breaks? Who does everyone assume has no life, and will babysit at a moment's notice? Who has to pay full airline and ticket prices on everyone in our party? Who goes out to eat with their friends and waits for an hour while they seat you and your kids (who eat for free)? Yep, me and everyone else who's too "selfish" to have children.

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