I’m not KIDding

“So, do you have kids?”

Having just come off of a 25th High School Reunion, I have been asked this question a LOT lately.

The answer is: No. I do not have kids.
I get varying responses to this simple answer.

“Awwwww, I’m sorry.”

This is one of the most common responses I receive. I used to not know how to respond to this response. Now I say, “Don’t be. I don’t want kids.” Sometimes, I toss in the “I did have 2, but I’ve lost track of them.” However, recently I said “I am not permitted, by law, to reproduce” the person to whom I was speaking failed to recognize I was kidding.

“Why would that be? Did something happen?”

Yes, a governmental experiment left me unwilling to reproduce

“Yes, my vagina has been outlawed in 37 states.”

Sometimes, as it did recently, before I can even respond to the “Awwww, I’m sorry.” I am treated to a continuation of the statement that goes, a little, like this: “Awwww, I’m sorry. You know, it’s not too late? You could try IVF or adopt. You know we had to resort to IVF for 9 or our 13 kids. It is expensive, but it’s so worth it. Children are a gift.”

What a great idea for a hostess gift… not.

Uh, whatever. I would prefer a gift card.

Inevitably, when I finally can get a word in edgewise and say “I don’t want children.” I get a dumbfounded look, as if to say “Why not?” which is usually followed by “Who is going to take care of you when you are old?” I don’t know. I intend to be so insane I won’t care. Plus, the joy of being a geriatric burden to ones’ children, in and of itself, is not, in my opinion, a good reason to reproduce.

“You don’t want the joy of bringing children into this world?”
Well. Yes. I would, possibly, like to have the experience of incubating a child and then giving birth to it. But, normally, after you give birth to the child, they expect you to take it home with you. I did not sign up for that, sorry. Not interested. I have way too much stuff on my DVR.

We need a car seat?  Can’t we just use this cat carrier?

“Children make life worth living!”
I find that the spicy scallop roll at Kazu gives me enough of a reason to keep going. But thanks.

I am missing the child gene. I mean, yeah, babies are cute, but so are Smart Cars. In my opinion, they are overpriced and not all that safe, just like children. I don’t ooh and ahh over babies.

If you don’t have anything to do, I can find something…

When people bring their kids into my office, I don’t crowd around them, talking to them in a silly voice, I usually ask them if they are looking for something to do and give them some filing. When kids come near me in a store, I growl at them and tell them I am the thing hiding under their bed, “So don’t fall asleep…”

I have a niece and a nephew. The jury is still out on my niece, she’s only 8 months old, so far she is a total love bug…but she hasn’t yet learned to speak. My nephew- whom I absolutely adore and for whom I would do almost anything (I say “almost” because I’m sure there will come a day when he asks me to kill his sister or his parents or something.)- can be a handful. Don’t get me wrong. When that kid is in a good mood, there is nothing like it. He is awesome. He is so much fun, I could hang out with him forever. But when he is in a bad mood. Holy crapballs, I cannot get away from him fast enough. I love him more than anything, but when he is having a tantrum, he looks best in my rearview mirror. I do feel badly for my sister when he’s like that… but well, he’s hers.

I don’t have the patience for children. They are irrational and, largely, disobedient.

I did not always feel this way. In fact, there was a time when I wanted to have children. There was a time when I thought I wanted a family- several kids, in fact.

That all changed in my mid-20’s. I used to babysit for a family who had two kids that were a year apart. They were, probably 8 and 9 or 9 and 10 at the time. Old enough to know how to behave. They were a horror show. The older kid, a boy, absolutely had to have his way 24/7. And if he didn’t get his way he would tantrum or make the rest of the day so miserable that it was easier for almost everyone to just give into him. Or at least that’s how the parents operated. His younger sister, thus, was constantly forced to do whatever her older brother wanted.

The parents hired me to watch the kids for the weekend. I really wanted to treat the kids equally. So one night, the boy picked what we would have for dinner, the next night I allowed the girl to pick what we would have for dinner. Well…that was a problem. Whatever the girl picked, the boy would throw a fit. So finally the girl- the YOUNGER child, I might add, offered that they come up with a solution together. This is called: a compromise. The boy pitched such a fit, ripping a phone out of the wall and was a complete pain in the neck for the entire weekend because he was forced to compromise.

He was rude, nasty and a nightmare to be around. He said horrible things to me. He nitpicked every single thing he could find to nitpick. He was on my last nerve by the time the parents arrived home.

When his parents asked me about the kids’ behavior. I was honest. I told the mother exactly how he behaved. I had hoped she might be understanding, or at least offer me some advice of how to handle him in the future, so that things wouldn’t be so painful.

The mother’s response? “You are too hard on him.”

What now? Because I thought I just heard you blame this entire shitshow on me?

I quickly realized that I was not going to get anywhere with this woman. She was raising a monster. She was raising an indignant, selfish, entitled, inflexible beast. And she was completely fine with it. And her daughter would grow to resent her and probably resent her brother as well.

I know- he was a child. I probably should have ignored his insults and bullshit. But I think that’s the whole problem with kids today. No one holds them responsible for what they say and do. Parents never want their kids to be upset or disappointed. That’s why we have a generation of children with superiority complexes.

UNWARRANTED superiority complexes. I’m all for building a kids confidence and giving them a sense of achievement, but I don’t believe in giving gold stars for being a decent human being.

It was like a switch flipped. What if my kid is like this? Or worse. What if I gave birth to the spawn of the devil?

Kristin and Tony’s Newborn Baby

Would I have the wherewithal to modify their behavior or have them institutionalized? Or would I just give up like this mother. In general, I am pretty unlucky so maybe it is better to just NOT FIND OUT.

So that’s when it happened. That’s when I decided to not have kids.

As I grew older, I would get this: “When you meet the right man, you’ll want kids.”

My response? “I’ll know he’s the right man because he won’t want them either.”

I don’t judge people for HAVING kids.

Well, actually, I do judge some people for having kids.
Here are the categories where I will judge you:

I judge people who have, like, 20 kids.

TOO MANY

No one, and I mean, NO ONE needs more kids than The Brady Bunch.

And I’m pretty sure they could have done without Jan

I don’t understand WHY anyone would want that many children, unless you are adopting orphaned children and they all have “special needs.” If you fall into that category, you are a saint and I am sure you would have no time to read this blog anyway. But someone giving BIRTH to more than 6 kids… it’s crazy. It’s like 38 years of insanity and probably 25 years, minimum, of having to pee with the door open. I pee with the door open by choice, not out of necessity.

This is why I travel with a roll of “duck tape”

I also judge people who bring kids to in appropriate movies. When I go to the movies, I buy overpriced cardboard popcorn drenched in chemical butter, a trough of Diet Coke and I buy a ticket that entitles me to see an unnecessarily violent or obviously non-child appropriate film, in peace. I do not expect to have to listen to an infant and a 2 year old SCREAM and CRY for 2-1/2 hours (My hand to God- Gangs of New York. It was my friend Rin and I, and two inconsiderate animals with their two children. 4-1/2 people in the entire theater and over half of the population of the theater is ruining the experience). Yep, I judge them. This is why God invented Netflix, people.

Yes, I am aware that parents don’t want to be prisoners in their own home, and they, too, would like to enjoy newly released films, but by having a child, you silently agreed to spend the first 5-8 years as a slave to Pixar. You don’t believe me? Check the fine print on the back of the home pregnancy test box…. Made you look.

Conversely, when I go to a movie with my nephew, I don’t expect quiet. I don’t expect people to remain in their seats. I took him to see Madagascar. I didn’t expect quiet. I expect screaming and crying and in the end, spanking.

See?  That’s more like it.

I was a child once. Yes, I am aware of that. Did I act out? Yes. Was I beaten for it? Hell yes. (Well no, but I was disciplined. I had my crazy Irish Mom screaming at me… trust me, more painful than a physical beating because at least the person doing the beating would eventually TIRE.)

When we were allowed out of our house, or were scheduled for a babysitter, we were under a threat of death, through clenched teeth, to behave like angels… or else WE WOULD DIE.

I judge people who only feed their kids “kid food.” Chicken nuggets, mac and cheese and pizza. Chicken Nuggets? They didn’t exist until I was in High School. Chicken Nuggets are ground up, co-extruded chicken parts and breading. They are the hot dogs of the chicken world. Not that I don’t LOVE hot dogs, but no one should be permitted to EXIST solely on nitrate tubes.

These should not exist

And Nuggets in the shape of Dinosaurs? They are the work of Satan.

Kids who grow up only eating these things can possibly be set up for a life of picky eating. And then you get on my lists of “People I do not invite over for dinner.”

I never had a choice of what to have for dinner. I was told “You will eat this.” I knew there was zero discussion. I was the child, they were the parent and I wouldn’t have the upper-hand until they were well into their 80’s.

Mmmmmmmm

Growing up, once a year, we had liver. Not because anyone liked it. We had it because “everyone should have liver once a year and this is our opportunity to be miserable together.” Can you imagine serving liver to a kid today? They would call DCF!

But what if the liver was in the shape of a dinosaur? Hey, I may be onto something…

My belief is, if you want children, then you must also agree to be a parent. Not a friend. A Parent. You are responsible for the molding and shaping of this blob of flesh and bone to eventually become a respectful, decent and contributing member of society. A parent is responsible to see that your child lives and experiences all things. Love, Hate, Joy, Disappointment, Sadness, Hurt, Anger, Bliss, Fear, Triumph and Loss.

If you can do those things, Congratulations. You have done the most difficult job in the world! I will buy you a beer and a hammock. (I’m not really going to so please don’t ask.)

Congratulations

Me? I just do not have that in me. I am missing that gene. I do not want to be responsible for another human being. That’s why I have dogs. The only thing I have to teach them is to not poop on the rug, stay out of the garbage and stop licking yourself. And trust me, I don’t even handle these things with grace or ease.

I have made a choice. It is a choice that works for me. So far, I have no regrets. Although, I do like to freak my husband out from time to time by asking him if he thinks we should have a baby. I just like to get the reaction. Normally, he stares straight ahead for five seconds, then turns to me and says “W H A T ? ! ? !”

When I was 33, I looked into donating my eggs…to science fiction.

If I had offered them a side of bacon, maybe they would have taken them

No, seriously, donating my eggs to some type of fertility operation. Egg donation is a business, but I was not interested in the money. (Of course, I would not have turned down a check…) I knew I didn’t want these eggs, I knew I didn’t want children. I have naturally curly, red hair, I have a high IQ I have a cutting wit, and I can cook!! Certainly, there is a serial killer out there that would find those traits desirable?

I received back a letter stating, at 33 years of age, my eggs were too old for donation. They were dried up, rotten and of no use to anyone.

Yeah, well.  I am pretty stale.

Has my choice had negative impact on me? Sure. People frown upon women who don’t want kids. They think it is abnormal. People accuse you of being selfish. Or barren. I might be both, we aren’t sure. I feel there are enough unwanted kids in this world, why add more to the bunch?
I get excluded from certain groups because I don’t have kids. I don’t think it’s intentional, but I have a lot of friends who I am not as close to as I once was, because, I don’t have kids. We no longer have common topics of conversation. It turns out, I have no interest discussing the drop off and pick up logistics at your kid’s school. It turns out, I don’t care who is talking behind whose back at the PTA. “Lunchables?” Juice Boxes? Go’gurt? Nope, Nope and Nope.

No, thanks.

“Well she doesn’t know, she doesn’t HAVE kids.”

It bums me out, kind of, but what can I do? I’m not going to shoot out a spawn just to have a common topic of conversation.

This is me, when you are taking that rugrat to 17 soccer games every Saturday

Instead, I spend my evenings, leisurely watching inappropriate TV shows about Housewives and Murder, photographing my dogs in homosexual tryst positions, shopping online for dog wigs and teeny tiny cowboy hats. One might say they are a poor substitute for a child. I can tell you, neither of my dogs has ever asked for money, called from a police station or turned their nose up at food because it “smells funny.”

My husband has kids. Yeah, I’m a Step-Monster, although if they showed up on my doorstep I’d pretend I didn’t know them. I have never tried to be a Mom to them. I try to be a friend, but even then, most of the time I fail. I’m an acquaintance. An acquaintance that sleeps with their Dad and washes his underpants.

Am I curious about what my kids would be like, if I had them? In a sick way, maybe. Sometimes. But I’m also curious about the inner-architecture of Donald Trump’s comb-over and what that thing is growing in the back of the refrigerator.

I defy you to know be curious about what’s going on here

Curiosity killed the cat, so I really don’t want to take any chances.

I kid you not.

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