I Don’t Want to Have Kids, Why You Shouldn’t Care

I Don’t Want to Have Kids, Why You Shouldn’t Care

I try not to get too personal on this blog, but I noticed a couple articles last week about people who don’t want to have kids.  Both articles are worth the read, but can be summed up in a sentence each:

  1. Time Cover Story (Pay Wall):  Look at all the people having all the fun by not having children, what a novel concept.
  2. Guardian Blog Post:  People who decide not to have children are so brave, they stand up to immense social pressure and do what they want.
The essential point that I think everyone should come around to is that deciding whether to have children is a choice and, like all choices in life, some people will come down on one side and some will come down on the other and there are lots of reasons for either choice.  The Time story makes the mistake of pigeon-holing non-breaders in to the fun-loving or the career motivated (look at the yuppies in matching swimsuits on the cover).  The reality is that there are a ton of reasons not to have children that have nothing to do with either one; you don’t think you’d be good at it, don’t think you’d find it rewarding, you don’t want to spend or don’t have $30,000 per year, you have a dangerous job or hobby and don’t want to leave an orphan, etc… The Guardian article begins to make my point by questioning why society, for some reason, doesn’t see this as a simple choice but instead treats people without children as some form of minor dissident.  Then it proceeds to go way too far by comparing the bravery of a young woman deciding not to have children to someone fighting racial injustice; the article even goes so far as to suggest that over-romanticizing the “traditional” family masks parental abuse.  Really?  It’s just one choice.
I have been trying to think of a parallel choice, and the one I keep coming to is the kind of car you drive.  If I drive a sports car and you drive an SUV, who cares?  Yes, we both did a lot of research.  Yes, we both think we made the decision that was best for us.  Yes, there are a few things you can assume about someone from the type of car they drive.  Yes, we probably differ in how to care for and treat the car.  But, at the end of the day, there isn’t a right and wrong, there are a bunch of reasons to go one way or the other, and the decision you made on your car doesn’t define you by itself (unless you want it to).