Welcome to part 2 of my in depth exposition on why I don’t want to have children.

I. Intro + Stage 1: Initial Shock

II. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part A

III. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part B

IV. Stage 2: The Demand for Answers part C

V. Stage 3: The Rebuttal + Wrap up

In our look at Stage 1, I dismantled a number of reactionary outbursts I commonly encounter when first telling someone I don’t want children. Now we move on to:

Stage 2: The Demand For Answers

Somewhere in their psyche, The Breeder knows that their initial dismissal is not sufficient to explain this aberration before them. Best case scenario, they recognize that us non-breeders don’t deserve the negative labels they reflexively threw on us. In any case, this oddity demands further understanding. How could it be that anyone could go through life not wanting kids? It’s unfathomable! “Tell me,” The Breeder cries, “tell me why you THINK you don’t want children. Perhaps if I get to the root of this delusion, I can educate you and bring you back to the path of reproductive righteousness.” Ok, no one has actually said these exact words to me, and sometimes the person is genuinely curious. However, the power The Breeder has over our culture is immense, and I feel this kind of intention quite often. Regardless of their personal level of self-righteousness, I am almost always asked why.

At this point I usually pause.

I think The Breeder, primed by their initial shock reaction, often takes this to mean that I haven’t thought this through or I’m not certain in this conviction, or some such weakness in my position. This is not the case. I pause because I don’t know where to begin. There are just so many reasons not to bear children. So many, in fact, I’ve divided this stage into three sections. During actual conversation, social conventions coerce much filtering and omitting, but not today. Unreservedly and with filters down, here I will lay them all out: great and small, these are the reasons I never want to reproduce. Now, in part 1, lets look at my purely personal reasons to just say no.

Babies Are Ugly, They Stink, And They Don’t Shut Up

As you might imagine, I don’t usually open with this one. However, it is the most basic and simple of my reasons, so for the purposes of this post, it makes sense to address this first. Now I’m well aware that The Breeder is oft to say things like ’Your newborn is so cuuuuuute’, or ‘it’s absolutely precious/darling’ (in the interest of civil discourse, we can pretend for the moment that I’m using the pronoun ‘it’ purely in the interest of sex neutrality) or ‘Isn’t it a beautiful baby?’.

No. It isn’t.

Babies are unnerving, preformed skin sacks filled with lumpy mush. Their heads are disproportionally large, their eyes bulge, and it creeps me out. “But that’s what a developing baby is SUPPOSED to look like” cries out The Breeder. Well, no kidding. I know that. But just because nature is designed a certain way does not necessarily make it good or beautiful.

 

Here is a picture of a mother centipede guarding its young. That’s what it’s supposed to look like.  Is it cute? Is it beautiful? Hell no! It is the stuff of nightmares. And so it is with babies. *shudders* So why do so many otherwise reasonable people gush over such obviously hideous creatures? I believe it to be a combination of things.

First, there is simply massive social pressure. The Breeder is everywhere continually gushing that babies are cute and precious and lovely and wonderful and overflowing with such adorableness that everyone simply must feel the same compulsion to hug them forever and ever and ever. To deny this when confronted with an ugly baby would amount to denying a huge chunk of our cultural ethos. Any dissenting viewpoint is immediately punished. Cognitive dissonance kicks in and people make themselves believe that the baby is cute.

Second, such an obvious lie needs help. Evolution predisposes us to be affectionate and forgiving to our young. It could be no other way, otherwise no one would bother and the species would die out. In short, biology messes with us to serve its own ends. Consider a related subject, sexual attraction. Whether it be due to libido, desperation, or pubescent hormonal onslaught, there are countless people right now wanting to get it on with less than suitable mates. Not looking for Mr/Mrs Right, but Mr/Mrs Right Now. We all know this can lead to disastrous life consequences, but sometimes people just cannot ignore biology. They find the closest willing partner and go at it. Kudos to those who make it through and/or avoid all these bad choices, but a quick survey of society will find many who are currently being duped. With case after case of bad hook ups ending horribly, one might wonder why it is that biology would drive us to such actions. The answer is simple. Your biology doesn’t give a damn about your ambitions, your desires, your life plan, or your happiness. All it cares about is that you pass on your genes. Gotta replicate that DNA and keep the chain a goin’. So, sure, that dude may have herpes and it may well be that he would never help raise a kid. But, his sperm is healthy so according to biology, he’s good enough. And sure, that woman might make you miserable for the rest of your life, but she’s willing to accept your seed, so biology says this union is A-OK! For a fortunate few, some are able to keep biology in check just enough to fulfill biological urges while also selecting a partner that has a good chance of making our lives easier and happier instead of harder and sadder. That is, success stories are in spite of biology, not because of it. Biology messes with us. The more we recognize this, the more likely we are to spot its deceptions, the more likely we can assess things objectively, the more we’re able to direct our lives towards things that actually make us happy. When we fail at this, we eat the fatty sugary treat, we skronk the attractive yet otherwise useless/harmful lust-generator, and we’re duped into thinking newborns are cute.

Anyway, about two years in, infants start to actually look like humanoids and could potentially be considered ‘not hideous’, if you’re lucky. But if you recall the title of this section, a child’s vicious assault on our senses is not limited to the visual. Oh no, there are much worse and longer lasting evils. Let us now move on to the putrescent olfactory barrage with which spawn assail their parents.

Poop. Somedays answering the question ‘Why no kids?’ is as easy as that one word. Or I could choose one of any number of expressions that take on a horrifically literal meaning when applied to infant rearing.
I can’t believe the shit that parents have to put up with.
I don’t have time for this shit.
This shit stinks!
Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit!

From ‘The Oatmeal’

As far as bodily substances go, there is nothing more disgusting than fecal matter. Our bodies, built to endure generations of scarcity, use up ever molecule of food that it can. It greedily holds on to every molecule of fat, sugar, and protein to use someday, somehow. Poop is what is left when every good and useful thing is sucked out of our nutrients. It is toxic, disease carrying, foul, odorous waste. And for the first few years of a child’s life, the parent must gather, clean up after, and dispose of piles and piles of this vile excreta.

But that doesn’t last forever, only about as long as the ugliness, right? Wrong! Yes, they will potty train, but then they just move on to Stink Stage 2: Dirty. Young children play in anything and everything and have a strong aversion to bathing. While this is the least nasally offensive of the stink stages, it is the most labour intensive. Mess after mess after mess will have to be cleaned. The second a parent tries to take a break, the stench grows and neighbours start to wonder why you aren’t taking better care of your children. After many years of diligently cleaning the little muck-magnets, they finally grow out of jumping into every mud puddle they come across. Just in time for Stink Stage 3: BO. Bodies are going through changes, hygiene regimens need updating, and kids are slow to keep up. This pungent stage is accentuated by sports activities and the inability to do laundry. A perfect storm of perpetual mephitis. The Breeder holds out, thinking that soon (please! soon) their child will learn how to cope with this pestilence of body odour. This hope is in vain, as evident by Stink Stage 4: Chemical Warfare. Whether it be body sprays, colognes, or perfumes, the teenager answer to BO is often to take a quick swim through a gallon of masking agent. As they walk by, the gas cloud is so thick, you almost have to chew the air instead of breath it. While not nearly as vile as the previous stages, the Chemical Warfare stage poses the greatest physical threat to your health. Once the sprays get to critical volume (and they will), the effects on your respiratory system can be crippling. It isn’t until the kid is ready to leave that some of them manage to smell like sensible human being. However, there are many who are not this fortunate, where the child gets stuck at one of the previous Stink Stages and they go off into the world to subject the world to their offensive stench.

Noise follows a similar pattern of trading one headache in for another. It starts with the screaming and crying, day and night, robbing The Breeder of much needed sleep. As it grows, the screaming and crying reduces slightly, but only to make room for all the whining. Whining continues to take over the audio landscape, growing until the crying and screaming disappear entirely. Except, of course, the (hopefully) occasional tantrum where the ungrateful teen goes on about how “I hate you! You don’t understand anything! I wish you were dead! You can’t tell me what to do! I didn’t ASK to be born! AHHHH!” and you realize just how little the child has progressed from infancy.

They are Expensive

I don’t get the spending habits of many people in our commercial society. The need to constantly acquire ’stuff’ makes no sense to me. Personal debt is a monumental problem and many who suffer the worst from this problem seem to be the most blind to it. I have a pretty simple rule that serves me fairly well. If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. And I know I’m in no financial situation to handle raising a child. The expense is mind-boggling. Spawn need to be fed and clothed. Like, every single day! That adds up. Then there are the toys, the babysitters, the daycares, the diapers, the cribs, the car seats, the camps, the sports equipment, the piano lessons, the replacing of all your stuff that they will destroy, the dental braces, the glasses and contact lenses, the blu-ray of the most annoying child songs on the planet on repeat, the replacing of all the other people’s stuff they will destroy, the gas to get them to all these costly activities. The list just grows. And so does the child, making each item on that list more costly each and every year. Recent estimates put the cost of raising a child to 18 years old at $250,000. You might be thinking, “Gee, that sounds like a lot”, but you’d be wrong. It isn’t ‘a lot’. It is a gargantuan, astronomical, and unfathomably large sum of money. A quarter MILLION dollars. There are parents all over the place who cannot afford a family, yet they breed anyway. Again, the results are apparent to anyone who looks. So many children growing up in poverty is no way have a happy society.

They are Annoying

Of course, there’s the easy examples. There are legions of parents all at the edge of their patience at any given moment. Dealing with misbehaving and acting up rugrats is both infuriating and exhausting. The Breeder doesn’t even try to deny this one. I’ve heard, time and time again, the totally not-serious (but kinda is), definitely joking (sorta) exasperated outbursts of parents wanting to kill their kids. As it’s a given, I should be able to leave it at that. I shouldn’t have to mention it at all, except that The Breeder has a near Orwellian ability to instantly forget this. Masters of Double Think, they switch from tearing out their own hair in aggravated frustration to revering their brood with enamoured awe in an instant.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even when children are being good, doing what they’re supposed to do, they can be incredibly irritating. Playing children are noisy, unskilled, and require much assistance. Inquisitive children are slow, easily distracted, and pestering. And there’s nothing to be done. Indeed, the proper thing to do is to encourage this type of behaviour. It is better for everyone if they do as much of these things as they can. But to actually endure the process can be beyond aggravating. This is definitely one of the many situations where being an uncle or an aunt is far superior to being a parent. In small doses, when the right mood hits, it can almost be fun to experience a happy child doing happy child things. But it doesn’t take long for it to wear thin. In this instance, I feel parental pride is a defence mechanism. By celebrating every little bit of progress, The Breeder can be distracted from how loud and tedious it all is. How else could they endure?

The Breeder might, upon hearing these first reasons, jump back to some of those initial reactions and think once more that I’m being selfish. However, this presumes that bearing children and enduring all these negatives is somehow a social good. In part B, we will look at how this simply isn’t the case.