Earlier this week I stumbled across a highly objectionable post from the conservative, nationalist, and racist paper The Federalist. The casually ableist article titled “Why Your Top 10 Reasons For Not Having Kids Are Stupid” is written by a cis father of three to an audience that is presumed to be white and conservative Christian. It belongs to a long history of positive eugenics, encouraging the “right” people to reproduce.
I was so adamant about not having kids as a young man, I tried to get my tubes tied at the tender age of 21. Now that I have three, my only regret is waiting so long. I wish I could have had five. You’ll hear a lot of parents lament that they had too few or didn’t have a boy or had all boys, but you’ll never hear them say, “I wish I hadn’t had a kid.” Whenever I see couples without kids, I plead with them to change their ways because, almost without exception, the ones who refuse to breed are the ones who would make the best parents. Here are the same ten excuses they always make and why they’re wrong.
The author was wrong when young, therefore other young people are also wrong. But not the ones who have children. Some people do regret having children, or having them young, or having them with the wrong partner. Mothers have no acceptable venue to air these thoughts; fathers abandon children often enough we can infer at least some cases of regret in their numbers. The phrase “refuse to breed” portrays child free adults as obstinate livestock.
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.
Ew, this author. Gross. Diapers are a big deal and expense. Fear of germs and compromised immune systems exist. I would scrub my hands raw under scalding water twelve or more times a day during the diaper years. That’s right, years, per child. Hundreds of cloth or thousands of disposable diapers each. And in the vast majority of cases, diaper changing is overwhelmingly women’s work.
2. I Hate Kids
No, you hate other people’s kids. We all do. These are yourkids. 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.
It’s so cute when fathers teach their sons the ancient tradition of excessive rage as masculinity. Or tragic, one of those. Our kids are shaped by us and (when biological) the genes we pass on, but they are not us. They are separate people who may rebel against everything we stand for but still need our love. And not everyone has the love or patience or skills to be a good parent. Look at all the homeless queer teens of bigoted housed parents.
3. I Just Don’t See the Appeal
Do me a favor. Smell a baby’s breath and get back to me.
Sour breastmilk just isn’t a scent that makes me wanna reproduce. Actually most baby orifices have the potential to smell bad.
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.
Dude, you just said your kids are you, and that’s why you like them more. You can’t turn around and immediately say that there isn’t a trace of narcissism in that. And did you really mean to bring up an argument against having kids, the existence of free time? Because you absolutely just did 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.”
Who knew that making the conscious choice not to create a child you’re uncertain you could care for was “virtue signaling”? I think there are quite a few deadbeat dads that should have displayed more virtue. Even good and loving parents struggle to provide, and nearly 1/3 of US kids are food insecure. Evolution I no match for the cruelties of capitalism. And that’s without considering abusive and neglectful parents, and with pretending everyone is suited to the job.
Part 2 coming soon!