I found this horrid little article via Love, Joy, Feminism a few days ago. Libby Anne does a great job of taking this down–do yourself a favor and read hers–but I was so irritated by the “author’s” condescending attitude that I had to take a shot myself. Enjoy!
1. Ew, Diapers? Gross
Do you wipe your own ass? This is the same thing, only much smaller. You’ll be surprised how un-gross changing diapers is. I knew our third would be our last, and each diaper change was getting closer to the last I would ever do. I coveted each chocolate-covered nutsack like I was the White House pastry chef, and when the last diaper went into the trash, I cried like a baby.
Bully for you. There are plenty who think it is disgusting. Oh and guess what? You can flush the toilet and not have to deal with handling actual feces. With a diaper, not so much.
And that’s not getting into toilet training, where some parents have absolutely snapped and harmed their kids out of sheer frustration. But then again, they must be doing the parenting thing wrong, amirite?
2. I Hate Kids
No, you hate other people’s kids. We all do. These are your kids. They don’t just look like you, they are you. Have you noticed that, as you get older, your dad goes from cruel tyrant to just a wrinkled version of you? It’s the same with kids, but in reverse. If my son screws up a drawing, he rips it to pieces and hurls it into the garbage in a rage, where it lands next to the crumpled notes I just threw in there in a similar rage.
Um, no. Your kids are not you and if you honestly think that way, you probably shouldn’t have them.
Seriously, your kids will not be tiny little copies of you. Sure, you will share some DNA in common but you may not necessarily share personality traits. Don’t believe me? My husband comes from a long line of dog people. He prefers cats. My own mother and father prefer dogs while I’d rather have a cat instead.
I also do not have my mother’s explosive temper, among other things. We are different people, just like your kids will be different from you.
3. I Just Don’t See the Appeal
Do me a favor. Smell a baby’s breath and get back to me.
I’ve heard the same thing about puppies. I’ve smelled puppy breath. I do not own a dog nor do I see the appeal of owning a dog. Why? Because puppies grow up and turn into dogs. The same thing happens to babies; they grow and become toddlers, then children, then teenagers, then adults. Sure babies are cute but have you ever heard a parent say, “My teenager did the cutest thing the other day. She told me to ‘Fuck off’!”? I’m willing to bet that no, you will never hear anything even close to that when it comes to older kids.
Or as a coworker–a father of three, no less–put it “Kids are cute so you won’t kill them in their sleep.”
4. Only Egomaniacs Have Kids
“Are you so obsessed with yourself you need to make more of you?” a friend recently asked so I’d stop hassling him about being childless. You can phrase it any way you want, but the biological imperative is the most intrinsically human thing you can possibly do. It’s the meaning of life.
As far as it being selfish, trust me, you are way too busy running around praising, reprimanding, hugging, and giving time-outs to gloat at your prodigy. That’s something only the childless have time to think about.
Apparently McInnes has never been on the Mommy blogosphere. I’ll leave it at that.
5. I’m Too Selfish
This is the opposite of the egomaniac excuse, and it’s often followed by, “I can barely feed myself.” Don’t fret, virtue signalers. You will be able to summon the strength to prevent your child from starving to death. It’s an instinct that goes back at least a quarter of a million years. Besides, they scream so unbelievably loud at night, you can’t possibly ignore them.
After that, they learn to walk and develop incredible strategies to avoid being ignored, like growing big eyes and saying the darndest things such as “The Bob Marley has begun” and “Scientists say, when you read a book to love, you just fall apart.”
Barely being able to feed oneself is a very valid concern. Sure, you might be able to keep your child from starving but what about you? All the cute stuff that your kids might say won’t put extra food on the table.
I notice that McInnes seems to be sidestepping a really valid point. There are a lot of people out there that are food insecure. There are a lot of parents who go to bed hungry so that their children can have a meal. Where is the support for them? Or does that even matter to McInnes? Why do I have a feeling that the answer to this is no, it doesn’t matter to McInnes at all. They can get by with all the cute things that their kids say; they don’t really need food.
6. The World Is Overpopulated
Er, I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a eugenics nut, but it’s about quality, not quantity. Yes, India has dead bodies floating down the river. Your local public school having yet another kid named Cody is not going to cause global warming.
These kinds of myths gain traction because of the death of math. We want to save all the kittens and rescue all the pups and kill all the babies, because we think there are a finite number of each. There are seven billion of us. Your gestures aren’t “thinking globally.” They’re not thinking at all. If you go on to the beach and wash one grain of sand, you’re not “doing your part.” You’re wasting your time. We live in the safest, healthiest, and most prosperous nation ever. If anyone should feel good about creating more people here, it’s you. And if you don’t, someone else will.
Translation: Get to breeding, white people. Or the dirty brown people will outnumber you. This isn’t even a reason. This is just racial fear mongering, pure and damned simple. So yes McInnes, you are playing the eugenics card and you are doing it badly.
7. My Parents Were Horrible and I Don’t Want to Repeat That
Yeah, your lineage has been polluted by the crappy parent gene, and you’re doing the world a service by cutting it off. In fact, the opposite is true. My experience has been that the children of negligent parents know exactly how damaging that is and are the least likely to reproduce it (“my experience” is code for “white middle class” and is relevant here because that’s likely who is reading this article—sorry).
Have you been around the dads without dads? The biggest problem with them is they dote on their children too much.
Here’s the problem with that idea: McInnes thinks that everyone who has been abused automatically knows it. To him, once you hit eighteen you just know that your parents did terrible things to you and you’re mature enough to do better. It doesn’t work that way. It takes a lot of time and soul searching in order to come to that conclusion; some people may never realize that they weren’t actually disciplined by their parents but abused. Or in other words, I’ll just let Calvin handle this one:
8. It’s No Big Deal If I Don’t
Really? How could it possibly be a bigger deal? Besides the part where our entire civilization is choosing to stop reproducing, what about you? Cavemen fought saber-toothed tigers. Your ancestors survived the plague. World war after world war went by, and your relatives made it through, and you’re going to throw that all away with a shrug? You’re ending that incredible journey through history because you like watching Netflix in the daytime?
Apparently, McInnes has no idea about me or my genetics.
There is a reason why my having a child would be a stupid idea. I am at an increased risk for breast cancer. If I have a daughter, guess what I’m passing to her? You guessed it: an increased risk of breast cancer. I am doing a child no favors by bringing them into the world with the crappy genetic hand I was dealt.
Also, I have Hulu not Netflix and I only watch at night and after dinner. Just sayin’.
9. It’s Too Expensive
So is eating out in New York if you do it wrong. You can have a dinner for $4 or you can have one for $400. Public school is free, and there are still plenty of areas where they’re just as good as private. Bicycles are cheap, toys are cheaper, second-hand clothes are everywhere, and kids don’t really care if they’re in an apartment or a mansion. College and piano lessons are all frills kids don’t require. In the ’70s, we didn’t have any of that stuff, and we loved it. Having a kid is exactly as expensive as you want it to be.
Just how out of touch is McInnes? First off, college is not a frill. There are employers today who demand that an applicant have a degree–it doesn’t matter what type of degree–before they are considered for employment. Seriously, if someone doesn’t have that piece of paper saying that they attended college for X many years, they are not getting an interview. Secondly, public school may be free but the supplies needed to attend public schools are not. You know what else isn’t free?
The average cost of child rearing is estimated at around $300,000. That is not cheap. It is a pretty big financial burden to a lot of people and downplaying that just screams privilege on multiple levels. “Oh it doesn’t cost all that much to raise a child if you do it right. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go eat caviar off the stomach of my newly purchased Russian wife. Byyyyyyyeeee!”
Way to torpedo your own argument. Great job there, Sparky.
10. We’re Not Ready
Women are convinced they can cram a career in before their ovaries dry up, but did you notice you started menstruating at 14? Twenty-four is already ten years past that date. At 34, you’ve basically told your womb to pack it in. I’ve heard doctors get in trouble for saying this to their patients, but for the umpteenth time: The hour glass of your fertility turns upside down at 30, and five years later it’s all but drained.
Anecdotal evidence to the contrary is dangerous to cling to. I don’t know how many couples my age have realized it’s too late way after their best-before date and have spent tens of thousands of dollars attempting to reverse the clock. When they do manage to pull it off, they have to worry about health issues and autism, not to mention how brutal it is to get no sleep when you’re over 40.
Oh my Primus, this is freaking SKEEVY.
I hit menarche at the age of twelve. Does that mean that I was ready to conceive a child? Physically maybe and mostly due to the fact that hospitals exist. Mentally, no way in hell. To be quite frank, I wasn’t ready at the age of 23 either. A lot of women are not. I had a coworker who had a child at 22 and she said that even though she loved her daughter, having her was a mistake because she wasn’t ready. Having a child is a huge life change; this isn’t like buying a cute handbag or a nice pair of shoes at Target. Having a baby changes everything and yes, you have to be prepared for that. Apparently, McInnes doesn’t realize that.
Look, going out for dinner is fun and Barcelona is beautiful at this time of year, but eventually you close that chapter in your life and move on to the next one. That’s what I was trying to say in “The Death of Cool.” I’m not trying to take away the party years where you did whatever you wanted and traveled the world getting blackout drunk. Do that.
Who says that this is exactly what childless couples do? Prime and I have no children but we’ve never left the United States. We have never had dinner in Barcelona. Yes, we do take a vacation every year but it takes us all year to save up and prepare for it. What do we do the other 51 weeks out of the year? We work. Partying and getting blackout drunk is not at all in the equation here.
McInnes has no clue what most childless couples actually do. It isn’t much different from families with kids; we go to work, eat dinner and try to get eight straight hours of sleep. We just happen to not have kids for various reasons, reasons that are perfectly valid and not the business of someone like McInnes.
However, adults recognize this is only a stage, and eventually you’re ready to move on to the next one. You’ve been a kid for decades now. It’s time to grow up and make some of your own.
The biggest problem? This is not McInnes’s decision. No one has questioned why he felt the need to have kids yet he takes it upon himself to question everyone else as to why they have decided not to procreate. This is not his decision and does not affect his life but he has to stick his nose in everyone else’s business. Instead of accepting that some people do not feel comfortable having children or feel that their lives are totally complete without the addition of offspring, McInnes tries to force his ideas down everyone’s throat, thinking that his idea is best.
One size fits all really doesn’t in this case. McInnes would be wise to remember that.