I don’t have any paternal instinct. The thought of having children does not hold any appeal to me. For some reason, people usually jump to make the assumption that this means that I don’t like children, but that is absolutely not the case. I love children. Specifically, I love other people’s children. Babies and little kids can be fun to visit and to play with, but that doesn’t mean that I want one of my own. See, the best thing about playing with children, is that I can eventually give them back to their parents to take care of. When my little Godsister and Godbrother were kids, I used to love go over to their house, and play with them, pick them up and hug them and swing them around and all that stuff, but after about and hour and a half I’d get tired/bored and so then I’d leave. And then after a couple of months I’d start missing them, and so I’d go back and visit them again for another hour and a half. See, that I can do. The fun stuff. But the hard part, of actually taking care of them, raising them, trying to teach them to be good people, and all that? Nah, that’s too much responsibility for me.
People say that is a selfish way to live. To which I say, YES, I am selfish, in that regard. No denial here. But that’s the thing, I understand what a huge responsibility raising a child is. I know the difficulty it entails. I know it’s not just the fun stuff. I think about the hard parts, keeping a roof over their head, feeding them, clothing them, etc. I think about changing diapers, and getting up in the middle of the night because the baby is crying or sick, and I say to myself, I do not want to do any of that. I just don’t. So I never will.
I also think about how my life would have been different if I’d had children before now. Over 12 years ago I quit my last job. I’d been working there about 5 years, and I hated it, for a variety of reasons. I was treated like crap, and paid like crap. But I stuck with it for so long because I was afraid to leave. I had no idea whether or not I’d be able to get something better, and didn’t want to take the risk, until I finally couldn’t stand it anymore. I saved up enough money to last me about 2 1/2 months, and gave my 2 weeks notice, and left. 2 weeks after that I got my current job, so everything worked out fine for me. But if I’d had a kid to support back then, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to leave that job, because now the risk wouldn’t have just affect ME, it would affect my ability to take care of my child. So that’s one way that I’m better off today due to my lack of children.
What’s always perplexed me is the reactions I get from some parents, who seem to feel like it’s their duty to change my mind. Like I must have children, like they did. I don’t know why that seems important to them. And some of the questions I get are just absurd. One is:
But who will take care of you when you get older?
So I should have kids just so they can take care of me later? Talk about selfish! That’s a horrible reason to have kids, plus there’s no guarantee that will even work. Your kids could end up hating you, or you hate them, for whatever reason, deserved or not. I haven’t spoken to my father in about 15 years, if he ever needs help he better not waste his time asking me for it.
But what if you later regret not having kids?
That’s another weird question. Yeah, there’s no way I can say for sure that I won’t regret this decision @ some point. I could be in my 80’s, sitting alone, wishing that I’d had kids and grandkids to visit me. Sure, maybe. There’s already plenty of things I regret that I didn’t do in the past. But that’s how life works sometimes. But if the suggestion is that I should have kids now, when I don’t want them, just because I might change my mind later, then that’s crazy. What if I have a kid and I don’t change my mind?
That’s the other thing about the pro-kids people, that seem sure that if I have kid then, upon its birth, I will immediately change my mind, and be filled with joy and the desire to be a parent. Of course, I have no way of knowing if that’s true, but what if it isn’t? What if I have a baby, and still have no paternal feelings, and that never changes? There are plenty of deadbeat parents, especially fathers, in the world, so that’s proof that the act of conceiving doesn’t automatically make someone a loving parent. I could very well turn out to be one of those rotten parents, so it’s best to never take that chance.
So that’s why I’m never having children.