I appreciate this, I recently got married & 9x out of 10 the 1st words are congratulations followed by when are y’all expecting? We’re not, we’re never going to be, & your condescending “oh, well maybe someday” after being told that has gotten old & tiresome. Not someday, not any day. Some couples don’t want kids. Instead we have too many cats, paid bills, good sleep at night, & get to go on vacations during the school year.
Wow...impressive. I chose not to have kids a long time ago because I felt my income stream wasn't strong enough to give them everything I thought they deserved. Well, the decades flew by and I just never had the overwhelming compulsion to get around to it. That decision was a double-edged sword; a disappointment to my parents, a feeling of not conforming to what my friends or society feels is "mandatory", and the possibility of not having support as I ease into my old age. The up-side has been financial stability, traveling the world more times that I count, experiencing new friends all over the world, not having to deal with the drama of self-empowered soccer Mom's, and not having to tolerate a culture that feels it has the right to tell me how to raise my children.
In the end, sure...I guess it would have been nice to have kids, but even though I am not a biological father, I am a seen as a Dad to many children all over the world and that's good enough for me. It's nice to see someone post something like this though. Lord knows, there's a whole lot of people out there who brought children into the world that shouldn't have.
I have always been appalled at people being proud that they have a large family with lotsa kids, kids that are not needed and who tax the planet's resources. And what's up with us as a culture celebrating and even encouraging that? I have one son, and admittedly, I probably would have had two if given a choice, but with one, I can feel good about myself. Two would be self-indulgent but the kids would have each other. Any more than two means the parent(s) is a narcissistic, selfish a-hole.
Great letter, IA. Being child-free is a challenge due to Other People. I knew at age 19 (in the 1970s) that I was never going to have kids and I've spent decades patiently saying "never" when asked (without explaining that due to a very dysfunctional family, I have NO IDEA how to model "healthy family" to a child). Now that I'm old sometimes I sigh and wish I had kids and then I pet the cat, look around my cozy condo that I can afford because I'm single and childless and I feel quite content with my decisions. I can die happy, knowing there is NOT a landfill somewhere burdened for eternity with a mountain of plastic diapers full of my child's crap.
4 has an excellent point. I will never forgive myself for that colossal mound of diapers I have invited into the world. But kids are great. The only surefire antidote to existential dread and self-obsession. It's a rearloading of life's joys, versus the front-loading of the childless. But to each his/her/its own.
No problem with the letter...but "lousy world"? Wow
I was hoping I could get a child that no one else wanted, but it’s actually harder than the protesters outside Planned Parenthood make it sound.
@3 - Amen. I am just flabbergasted when someone proudly says they have a lot of children. It feels like they're bragging about not understanding climate change, or they're too much of a religious whackjob to care.
I, ANON and everyone: You're welcome.
@1 timtech, @2 kalakala, @3, manyv, and @8 notgoingtosignuptocomment: Well said and done. Bravo. I have remained childless by choice for many of the reasons you have stated and have no regrets.
I think we need to promote the term "child-free" versus "chlid-less". The latter suggests that having a child is The One And Only Standard. like having a nose or ears, and that those without are the freaks.
The carbon footprint of having just one child is dizzying, as is the amount I have paid over my lifetime in property taxes that go to schooling - a thing I never have and never will use. (I went to Catholic schools from grade 1-12.) Yes, we all benefit from people being educated, but for those who never took up the taxpayers' resources by procreating and sending their kids - I know a woman who has 5 of them - to public schools ... shouldn't we get some sort of tax break ourselves? Seriously. A thank you, and an acknowledgement that we are doing the heavy lifting for all of you breeders?
Also, this term "selfish", which is always wielded against the child-free ... I have volunteered for a number of political campaigns over the years and the one thing that is consistent is that the vast majority of people who do so do NOT have kids at home, or at all - they are either very young ie high school to college aged, or they are late middle aged and up. This puzzled me for a while until I realized that ah yes ... those with families at home are forced to turn their attentions solidly inward for 18+ years. It's all "my child comes first/my whole focus is on my child/my child is the only thing that matters". Versus the world, the environment, the political crisis in the U.S., these past 2 years, etc.etc. Yet I am the selfish one?
@10 - Boy, did you hit a nerve there! WHY IS IT that if you choose not to have children, you still get saddled with all the taxes to pay for the kids of those that did? I mean, for the most part I don't mind kids too much (but sometimes their parents are a bit much to tolerate for the exact reasons you mention...your children might be the center of YOUR universe, but not MINE) but people who choose not to have children sure don't get that sacrifice recognized. A chunk of my property taxes go to schools, and teachers are always looking to get their salaries raised (justifiably so) through levies that I have to dig into my wallet for. If people who decide to have children have to actually pay for ALL the costs of their precious progeny, perhaps they'd think twice before bringing them into the world.
people who choose not to have children are making the right choice for them. i applaud them. but characterizing parents as selfish? i must disagree. that trip to hawaii i could have had became diapers, kid clothes and visits to the pediatrician. my corvette? orthodontia, sports gear and new shoes. early retirement--college tuition. as for the public costs? be serious please. people without kids pay for schools just like people who don't read pay for libraries, those who don't drive pay for streets and highways, people who do not abuse drugs pay for drug treatment for those who do. unless you are a libertarian nut bag who completely rejects the concept of public goods and services that's just the way a civil society works.
@10 VelvetBabeAgain; You're not selfish at all. I think you should run for public office. I LOVE your idea of a tax break for those of us (myself included) who are child free!
@11 kalakala: Hear, hear!
@12: Do you make sure your children are properly vaccinated? That's a public service, too.
my dear auntie g: as a child i suffered through measles, mumps, chicken pox, german measles and whooping cough--all those terrible childhood diseases that no one needs to experience any longer. i went to school with kids who had been disabled by polio they contracted in the last years before the salk vaccine put an end to the ravages of that horrific disease. i have my small pox vaccine scar on my shoulder; a living reminder of a dreadful plague now gone. i was vaccinated against tuberculosis-a disease now so rare in the u.s. that the vaccine is no longer administered here.
you can be sure that my children were vaccinated. anyone who does not do so rolls the dice with the health of their own children and society as a whole.
Wow! I'm not sure you can so thoroughly call having children a selfish act when many humans are biologically driven to do so. Yes, we make conscious decisions - hopefully - to have sex with another person and that is at least in part selfish. However, millions of years of evolution favoring those early humans who were driven to reproduce can't be dismissed. I don't pretend to know the balance between biological instinct and selfish choice in having children, but I'm pretty sure both carry some weight.
What a bunch of judgmental assholes. Are the kids dying in the dirt? No? Mind your own fucking business. No one: parent or non-parent, gets a fucking gold medal for their choices. Millennial crap, that's what this is.
The reason we all — child-bearing and child-free — pay taxes for the next generation's schooling and more, is because we live in a SOCIETY. We're not just a bunch of feral Libertarian lone-wolves. Once we start separating who pays for and who receives public funds, we all end up losing. Collective responsibility and redistribution of wealth is the most efficient and beneficial means of maintaining a thriving society.
@13. The idea that you shouldn’t have to pay for things you don’t “use” is revolting. How about homeless shelters? Society owes itself educated, happy, healthy children. Because the alternative is horrific. I mean, how insanely ignorant of history or current society do you have to be not to know this? Do you really want to live in a place where the only people who have a good education are those who can afford it?
@18 Militia: I believe you clearly missed my point. Reread my comment @13 again, this time more carefully. I simply agreed with VelvetBabeAgain @10 that those of us who are child free should be eligible for a tax break.
@17 GasparFagel: Agreed. Upon reading VelvetBabeAgain's comment (see @10) I liked her one suggestion of a tax exemption for those who are child free. Aren't tax breaks supposed to be nice and apply to 100% of U.S. citizens (not just the richest .01%)?.
@10- I like the term child-free. It's reminiscent of disease free.
It still infuriates me when someone - like on TV - says that they are the parent of five, or seven, or twelve children and get applause for that as if it is some kind of achievement. Listen, the most stupid amongst us knows how to fuck - or is the audience applauding the person's capacity for sacrifice, annoyance, and aggravation? Yes, I know....each one of those children could be Einstein or Mozart, but think about it. If all of us had that many children, think about all of the extra human waste we'd have to deal with in terms of sewage and shit-filled disposable diapers. And you tell me I'm selfish because I don't want a little mini-me? Believe me, Christmas (and everything else) can still be as wonderful without a house full of kids. And insofar as being alone in old age, well, there are a lot of parents in nursing homes who never get visited by their children - so having children is no guarantee against that. Better to save all of that dough you'd spend on children to have when you retire and bemoan your sad, sad childless life while eating salade niçoise in St. Tropez.
@22 Bauhaus I: Thank you and bless you for being so spot on. Among the weirdest of pro-kids comments I have ever heard in public is 'I didn't have kids---they had ME!' This was by a woman riding alone on a downtown bus (not in Seattle), with a wheeled suitcase. She had nervous, twitchy eyes, kept turning her head frequently, and looked like she wanted to start a fight.
It's the amount of property taxes that go SOLELY to schooling that is what gets me. It is a very high percentage of my property tax bill - THE MAJORITY, by far. Property owners out there, check out your the percentage you are paying towards schooling in your community. It will blow your mind.
People bringing up roads and homeless shelters ... these take a fraction of amount that schooling does. As i said, I recognize that we all benefit from an educated populace. I'm not advocating for the complete elimination of taxes for people like me who didn't have kids, or for people like my mother who sent us to catholic schools, and so never used the public school system, even though she too paid into it her entire life, as I have.
I said we need to acknowledge that enormous amount of our tax dollars that go into schooling that is being paid equally by those whose kids go to public schools, which makes sense - they chose to have kids and to put them into public schools so yes, they should help fund them, but also by those who 1) never had kids, 2) who had kids who did not go to public school, 3) who had kids using public school but graduated 25, 30, 35, 40, 50 years ago. They have long since paid for their own kids schooling, probably 1000 fold by that time, yet they are still being taxed along with us child free folks as if their kids were in school.
We give tax breaks to Amazon and corporations and millionaires every single day! It is NOT too much to ask that there be an acknowledgement and a huge, fat thank you in the form of tax breaks for those of us who have paid this amount - ever increasing, every single year - year in and year out - for something we NEVER used, or if we did use it, it was 50 fucking years ago.
Having children is anything but, it's paying-forward to the next generation by literally raising the human beings who will be in charge of the future-- Just like what your parents did when they raised you. This is why child-rearing has, historically always been considering a duty.
@24 VelvetBabeAgain: Spot on, and amen.
@25 Excuse you, Mr. Hitler space cadet. I quote former first lady, Betty Ford, and a Republican at that: " Having babies is a blessing, not a duty." Keep your junk in your pants.
Eh, my choice to be child-free is 100% selfish. I have no problem admitting that. I have no interest in children, my own hypothetical ones or of others. I don't even have any pets (which I occasionally consider) because it would require me to look after the health and welfare of another being. Being a parent is a HUGE responsibility and I just don't want that in my life.
I'm child-free and don't mind paying taxes to support public education - after all, those kids are goint to run the world some day and I want them to have the intellectual capacity to do so.
What galls me is that we give parents a tax break for each kid they have. That's BULLSHIT. If you chose to have a kid, you can afford to pay the taxes to support your choice.
Shorter IA: don’t judge me while I am busy judging you!
@28 NoSpin: Thank you and bless you, too. So well said.
I have noticed over the years that parents who judge others for not having kids are often the worst parents. Good parents don't think they are the baseline and don't judge. They in turn do not raise their kids to think they are special and the world owes them something for simply existing.
Without the next generation of kids, who is gonna pay for all you alls social security?
Yeah, I’ve made a few these “having children is selfish“ people.
I always look at them and offer them a free retroactive abortion
@32 The next generation of kids won't even GET Social Security, Ogie. Do you think they'll really give a shit? Open mouth, insert puck, eh?
I am surprised no one has brought up adoption yet. I thought based on the title that this IA was going to be about the selfishness of having to have one that is a miniature you while letting one more child go unadopted somewhere in the world.
So, you're either selfish for having kids because you are taking up the planet's and society's resources, or you're selfish for not having kids because you won't give up your time and money to raise one. Whatever. How about we let selfishness cancel itself out of the equation?
Some people feel the biological imperative to reproduce. Fair enough! Not going to criticize someone for doing something fundamental to life at it's most basic evolutionary level. Some people, like myself, don't. Great. On the one hand, people will tell you you are saving the planet by not having kids. On the other hand, you will hear that you are dooming our economic system. Whatever.
Humans aren't in control of themselves at scale. You aren't saving the planet with your choice. You aren't saving the economy with your choice. You are just a person. Get on with it and live your life. Stop judging others for doing the same thing. You aren't Gandhi. You aren't changing the world with any of your decisions.
Doesn’t matter if they give a shit or not when the govt forces you to pay.
Another day of laying in bed petting the car ahead of you?
If you like kids but don't want to add to the population, consider becoming a foster parent. There are dozens and dozens of kids that need placement. Most of the kids are not up for adoption so you do not have to commit the next 18+ years of your life. Kids are hopping from home to home, sometimes staying in hotels with social workers. Just opening your home to a child for a single week a few times a year would have an enormous impact.
@37: Another day of nervously looking over your shoulder, trolling for wont of better to do, Ogie?
"Another day of laying in bed and petting the car ahead of you?". Okay, I'll play: Is it farther to New York or by train? You might want to visit Spellcheck before commenting, Ogie. You must have 'em rolling in the aisles down at Juvee. LOL
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