Warning: This post is unkind. Please skip if you dislike foul language and insults.
Update: The linked post has been removed by a moderator of the subreddit for violating one of its rules.
I don’t want to be a parent. I think I’ve mentioned that in at least a few posts on here. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize parenting is, honestly, a hellish job. Lazy parents exist, yes, but being a good parent takes a huge amount of patience, effort, energy, and a host of other traits I either don’t have or do have that would be stretched far beyond their limits.
And that’s why this post from a subreddit I occasionally browse struck a nerve. Thankfully, several comments call the OP out on their nonsense, especially about judging mothers when the reason the subreddit essentially exists to begin is because of how poorly some people are judged for not having children. However, this particular line is what ticked me off:
It honestly feels like women who are like this are taking the female gender backward instead of forward.
“Like this” refers to being stay-at-home mothers. Somehow, a woman making a choice for her life that makes her happy is “taking the female gender backward”, but a woman tearing down other women for making a choice she personally disagrees with is progressive. And yet, some people can’t figure out why feminism is considered a joke today.
Why would you want to throw away your career?
This is a stereotype about not having children that grates on my nerves! Life is not only the two choices of “career or children”. Not everyone gets fulfillment out of having a career. I personally have never wanted a high-flying career. I’m content with a job that pays me enough to keep my bills on time and lets me have some money left over for savings and spending. But if I didn’t need to work to get by, I wouldn’t. It’s a pipe dream, but I would love if my boyfriend and I could make sufficient income from home without going to work, so we could have more free time for ourselves, each other, and our families and friends.
Now, speaking specifically about kids, if we wanted to be parents, I wouldn’t want to be a stay-at-home parent either purely because of the financial dependency. Crisis can hit anyone – single, couple, parents, non-parents – and I would hope if something tragic did happen to my boyfriend that left me alone with our hypothetical child, I could get myself back on my feet through whatever job I have so we don’t struggle too much. However, if my boyfriend and I had enough savings to last a few years, and that would hold us over in the case of a crisis, I would be a stay at home parent, or he could if he wanted (or, pipe dream, both of us if the “income from home without going to work” thing were possible). Of course, every parent needs a break and time away from their kids, but overall, I’d much rather be with my child than be at work, especially considering what my current job is. Eight hours behind a register or eight hours with my family? Not a tough choice.
I’m sorry but a “homemaker” is not a [freaking] job. It screams of laziness and dependency. Don’t these women ever want to accomplish anything in their lives? [Popping] out a kid and then sitting on your [butt] for the rest of your life is not an accomplishment.
Minus, again, the absolute hypocrisy of being judgmental and that parenting is not “sitting on your butt for the rest of your life”, this is probably the most infuriating part of this post. Who in the name of Equestria is anyone to decide for someone else what their life’s accomplishments are?! First of all, again, parenting is a hellish job. It’s one made by choice, yes, but we all make choices about what we do. Even people with life-saving careers chose that path, and just like we don’t have to choose to be parents, we don’t have to choose wildly stressful career paths either. But we do. If someone is proud of having raised their children to be whatever their children turned out be, and considers that an accomplishment, more power to them. I consider it an accomplishment I have a relationship that’s lasted for four years (and counting). That’s nothing to most people, but it means the world to me. Everyone defines for their life what their accomplishments are. It’s not up to other people to decide someone has achieved nothing.
It doesn’t matter what the appeal of being a stay-at-home parent is. The OP doesn’t have to understand it, any more than I have to understand what the appeal of alcohol is (red wine is disgusting!). It is not your life and it is none of your business. We don’t need to understand why others make the choices they do. People are given fulfillment by different things. Some people find fulfillment from parenting. Some people find it from career. Some people are fulfilled from traveling. Some people are fulfilled by pursuing education (referred to as “career students”) or doing charity work, or a host of other things I can’t think of. I personally feel fulfilled when I can be with my loved ones, like my boyfriend and my best friend, and support them in their lives. That’s my accomplishment, that I can hold these amazing people in my life. Not my only accomplishment, but the one that matters most to me.
The only exception to this rule is if how you live your life hurts others, and that should be obvious. If that’s not the case, everyone should live their life however it makes them happy. No one else has to understand and no one who doesn’t understand is owed an explanation. People are different, and that needs to be accepted.
I had a very interesting “discussion” earlier today… if you can call someone throwing around insults like an elementary schooler because you don’t agree with them a discussion.
It seems it’s considered “classist” by some people to suggest it’s best to wait until one can afford to have a child before actually having a child.
Now, I do understand how that statement can be taken wrongly, but most people who say this are referring to being capable of, at the very least, providing for a child’s basic needs – food, clothing, and shelter – before having them.
Apparently, however, even that suggests a prejudice against poor people. Never mind I’ve most often heard that statement from people who know the hell growing up without enough food to eat really is.
Before I continue, let me say this: I am well aware situations can change over time. This statement refers to those who do not have any children, not someone who already is a parent, or whose financial circumstances crumbled after their children were born. No, this refers to someone who is currently struggling and, for whatever reason, chooses to bring a child into their struggle and, as a result, struggles to provide for that child, or ultimately cannot provide for that child, because of what their situation already was.
With that clarity out of the way, I truly fail to see how suggesting it’s best to be certain you can fulfill a child’s basic necessities before you actually have a child is “classist”. Even if you can provide nothing more than basic necessities, you are still able to provide for that child. It’s the bare minimum, but it’s still enough to keep the child alive. Somehow, no matter how many times I explained this, it was read as me saying “if you’re poor, don’t have children”. Interestingly, I never mentioned a particular social or economic class. That assumption came out of the mouth of the people arguing against it.
Let me use myself as an example. I don’t have any children and I don’t plan to. If, however, I somehow changed my mind on that and decided to have a child… that child would die. That sounds morbid, but the job I have cannot even provide me with shelter for myself. So, where would I attain shelter for my child from? Now, I could provide food and I could provide clothes… but where would I put them? I could keep the child in one outfit, so that takes care of the clothing necessity, but that child will become hungry over and over. Without shelter, where will I store the food? Or do I buy food every time the child’s hungry since I can’t store it? And where does the baby sleep? Where do I bathe this baby? Uh-oh. This is a problem. My child has no shelter!
Now, knowing full well I have no capability of providing that child with something so fundamental, why would I go on to have a child? Answer: I wouldn’t. Because I know I can’t!
Yet, that’s “classist”. Now, here’s the trick question: Did I say I wouldn’t have a child because I was poor or did I say I wouldn’t have a child because I could provide food and clothes, but not shelter?
Time’s up. The answer is: Because I couldn’t provide shelter. Everything in that paragraph refers to the child’s needs and my incapability of meeting those needs, or at least one of them.
And that is the gist of it. If anything would prevent someone from providing the basic needs that keep their child alive, no matter what that reason is, to willingly bring in a child into the world while fully aware of that knowledge is irresponsible. My belief isn’t that poor people shouldn’t have children. My belief is anyone who knows ahead of time they cannot fulfill the most basic needs of a child shouldn’t go on to have a child until that changes. Economic class be damned.
However, let’s say for a moment this is “classist”. What difference does it make? At the end of the day, there is a child whose needs cannot be met by their parent(s). Somebody must feed, clothe, and give shelter to that child. If the parent(s) cannot do it, the child will either die of neglect or be relinquished from the parent(s) for that neglect.
There is a somewhat popular meme that says when people talk about getting a pet, they are constantly reminded of the responsibilities of owning said pet, but when people talk about not having a child due not being able to provide for said child, they are told they’ll “figure things out” or “God will provide”. I have heard more times than I care to count there is no “perfect time” to have child, but the idea of hoping things will just fall into place seems like a dangerous gamble to take with a responsibility that’s obviously much larger than a pet. If that gamble falls favorably, that’s wonderful. If it doesn’t, there will be consequences and the child will undoubtedly suffer the brunt of them.
Of course, in the end, it’s not my business and the responsibility of providing for that child is not mine. However, I think about this because, despite my lack of desire for parenthood, I don’t like the idea of any child being neglected. It is in no way fair to force a child into a situation where their needs cannot be met, and “life isn’t fair” should only refer to unavoidable events. Children should and deserve to be born into homes where their needs being met isn’t a worry.
To speak specifically about poverty, if someone is poor, but can still provide their child’s basic needs, there is not a problem. That child is fed, clothed, and has shelter. There is no issue here. If they are, unfortunately, too poor to provide those needs, there is a big problem. The message is not “Poor people shouldn’t have children because they’re poor.” The message is “People who know they cannot provide for a child’s basic needs shouldn’t have children because they can’t provide for the children’s needs.”
And if that is indeed classist, so be it. I care much more that a child’s needs are met than someone pointing a finger at me and screaming I’m classist. Of course, I would not tell any person they can’t have a child in the first place, no matter what their situation currently was. As I already said, it’s not my business and it’s not as if anything would stop them anyway. I only hope, for the sake of their child, they are certain.
Something I’ve often heard is that having siblings teaching children how to share.
As an (older) sibling, I can honestly say whoever started that belief deserves to be punched.
Having a sibling did not teach me how to share. It taught me how to hoard and hide my stuff because I didn’t want to share. I hated sharing anything with my sister. I didn’t become better with sharing until I was in my late teens and, ironically, didn’t have to share anymore because someone told me to.
But the effects of having a sibling had already been done and I genuinely feel like having a sibling, and specifically being the older of the two, is what contributed most to my lack of any desire to be a parent.
Like most older siblings, I was often responsible for my sister. I don’t solely mean babysitting. If she did anything wrong, somehow, it was my fault. I was expected to know better because I was the older sibling, but somehow, she never was, no matter how old she got. I was actually aware enough as a kid to point this out, but it’s not like I was ever listened to. The bottom line is I very much resented being given the responsibility of a child I had zero part in bringing into the world, and I’m positive merely being a babysitter a few times would not cause that feeling.
Of course, this varies. Some oldest siblings willingly go on to become parents, and my boyfriend is the youngest of his parents’ three children and doesn’t want kids, despite being the typical “spoiled baby of the family” (until a certain age). This came to my mind because I found it ironic and somewhat hilarious. What was supposed to teach me about sharing and being responsible became the biggest factor in why I want nothing to do with parenthood.
More so, my sister has a rather idealized idea of caring for children. She wants kids of her own someday, and I do not knock her for that, but she knows next to nothing about taking care of someone smaller than her. She once asked me how I couldn’t want kids and while I know this is a question sometimes shared by parents, in this case, it came out of the mouth of a 16-year-old whose closest experience with caring for a child had been looking after a baby doll. That question is annoying, no matter who it comes from, but it makes more sense out of the mouth of someone who is a parent and knows they like the experience than someone who’s never done it. Granted, one could argue I’m not very different in that I’ve never been a parent and am saying it’d be terrible for me.
However, there are two differences here. I’m talking only about myself. I’ve never said no one else shouldn’t want to be a parent. I’m saying nothing more than I don’t. The other is, as I said, my sister has never been responsible for any children, whereas I have, and not just her. I can remember being left to after a small group of daycare children when I was about 8 or under (yes, my mother was present). Her idea of parenthood comes from what she thinks it is. Mine comes from what I’ve done, and with no say in the matter at that.
Today, as an adult, I don’t hate children and, to an extent, I do enjoy looking after them. There are times when I’d genuinely prefer a child’s company to an adult’s. Occasionally, children who come to my register with their parents will talk about something, and one child surprised me when she was so quiet while waiting in line, but started chatting with me the second her parents came to my counter. It’s rather cute, even if I have no idea what they’re going on about, and heaven knows I’d rather hear that than be yelled at by a customer for the fifth time because I can’t do their return.
But all of those are temporary. At the end of the day, the children are gone and I go home. I can have patience with children precisely because I’m not around them 24/7. It’s easier to remember they’re children and they’re acting like children than it would be if I were over-exhausted and hadn’t slept in three days. I’ve heard parenthood can teach you patience – likely because you have no choice except to learn – but it could also very well double my temper, which happens naturally anyway. “Doing your best” isn’t an excuse when what you do causes you to scar your child. I didn’t realize until I was an adult my own mother was practically winging parenthood the whole time. She tried, but her “best” was only good when everything else was good. If not, hell reigned upon us.
In the end, along with lack of interest in parenthood, I’m not interested in playing Russian Roulette with someone’s life. At least, I can argue I wasn’t willingly given the responsibility of my sister. That was my mom’s doing. But my child? 100% my fault. No room to complain about having to share then! I’d brought that kid into the world. I’d better share!