Monthly Archives: April 2012

5 Reasons Why I Don’t Want Kids

Or, 5 Reasons Why I Always Second-Guess Myself When I Decide I Do Want Kids

1. I like being responsible for only myself.

I have a niece and nephew whom I love dearly. But one time I spent a few days taking care of them and by the end I was a ball of raw nerves. I lived in constant fear of them swallowing something dangerous or falling down the stairs or poking out their eyes with sharp objects. One night, my nephew was jumping up and down in his crib after I put him to bed and he managed to bust his lip against the rail. When I came in the room and saw him covered with blood, I damn near died. You know, I already have my hands full just taking care of me. Keeping my hair brushed, taking my vitamins, feeding myself decent food, making sure I get enough sleep…it’s a big job. Looking after additional humans would tax my endurance to the utmost.

2. I enjoy peace, quiet, and order.

Children are essentially the opposite of all those things. First of all, anything involving kids also involves my archenemy: CLUTTER. No, seriously, this is a big deal for me. The crazy whirlwind inside my brain is calmed somewhat if my environment is tidy and serene; conversely, my mental state is severely aggravated if the space around me feels crowded and disordered. Thus, my life is just one endless quest to vanquish the clutter monster (sometimes as I’m feverishly clearing floors and surfaces, I imagine myself in a superhero outfit). My hypervigilance allows me to maintain a fairly clean home most of the time, but I know all that would go out the window if I had a child. The house would suddenly fill up with toys, clothes, shoes, blankets, bottles, diapers, diaper bags, high chairs, cribs, playpens, strollers, and car seats. I’d be powerless to stem the flood of extra gear that accompanies child-rearing and too exhausted to keep it organized.

In my head, the Clutter Monster is like a combination of Jabba the Hutt and Satan.

Then there’d be the mess associated with the baby itself—food and poop everywhere. Babies never manage to stay clean for more than an hour at a time. Add constant noise to this scenario (crying infant, shouting toddler, endless-question-asking-kindergartener…) and there goes my sanity.

3. I am fiercely independent.

It’s hard for me to even express how jealously I guard my solitude and personal freedom (the more so because they were often trampled upon during a difficult childhood and adolescence). I will never, ever take for granted the ability to do what I please when I please—it’s one of the primary joys of my adult life. I don’t want to answer to anyone but me. Unfortunately, for a parent that isn’t possible. The kids must always come first, especially when they’re small, since they can’t feed or dress or wash themselves and they need lots of attention and entertainment. Parents are on the hook for all that. All the time. My life would no longer be my own. As I get older and the kid question occupies more of my thoughts, I’ve started keeping a sort of mental list of all the pleasant things I’d have to give up:

  • Staying up late
  • Sleeping late
  • Reading whole books in one day
  • Deciding not to cook meals and eating random snacks instead
  • Going to movies
  • Grocery shopping by myself
  • Spending Saturdays at thrift stores and antique malls
  • Taking long, hot baths
  • Watching entire seasons of TV shows on Netflix in a few days
  • Working on time-consuming DIY projects
Plus, I have this fear of losing my own identity—of becoming a sort of mom drone whose own thoughts and feelings get lost among the constant demands of a caring for a child. I struggled for a long time just to be my own person and I treasure my autonomy with a Gollum-like fervor. I don’t know that I could relinquish it very easily.

If and when I do get pregnant, my first reaction will probably look like this.

4. I dread the choice between a career and full-time mommyhood.

If I had a child I’d definitely be torn about returning to work for a number of reasons. Being separated from my sweet little infant after six short weeks would just be hard, and I’d worry about someone else caring for my baby instead of me. But on the other hand, living on one income would be a pain in the ass. Plus, I love being a librarian. I accomplish important things, I connect with like-minded colleagues, I exercise my intellect, I find uses for my talents and abilities. Without that outlet, I’m afraid I’d go nutso (as if I’m not halfway there already). The only other choice would be a halfway arrangement where I tried to balance some work with some time at home, which would no doubt result in my almost having a nervous breakdown every single day. That’s a sucky decision to have to make, and what makes it worse is that any option you pick comes with plenty of built-in guilt. Whoopee.

5. Pregnancy and childbirth are horrifying and gross.

YES I SAID IT. Have you read about the things pregnancy can do to your body lately? Well, don’t. Otherwise you’ll wake up in the night screaming (sorry, husband). And let’s not even talk about the actual birth, during which unspeakable acts of violence occur in delicate regions of the body and one’s natural modesty and reticence are most callously violated. Oh lawd. I’m getting the shakes. Someone hand me my smelling salts.

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4 Reasons Why I Do Want Kids

Or, 4 Reasons Why I Second-Guess Myself When I Decide I Don’t Want Kids

1. If I had a baby, I could dress it in this.

From Geekling Designs on Etsy.


Not to mention other ridiculously precious and tiny articles of clothing and footwear. I mean, have you seen the kinds of things they make for babies these days? I can hardly walk past the baby department in Target without blowing a brain fuse from all the cuteness. If you see me in there wandering around with a vacant look and drool on my chin, that’s why. Just move on. Nothing to see here.

2. I’d be doing something meaningful with my life.

Raising a child is probably one of the most important and amazing things a person can do—the more so because it’s freaking hard work. And I’m the world’s most obnoxious over-achiever, so if I don’t have a kid I’ll feel like my life is futile and insignificant. I realize how unreasonable that sounds, but I also realize how unreasonable it is to attempt to keep the spice rack in alphabetical order. Doesn’t stop me from doing it.

3. Kids are fun.

Seriously, it’s kind of a drag being a grownup. Holidays and special events are dull. Life is an endless cycle of responsibility and boring chores (feed self, feed cats, pay bills, worry about money, clean house). And although I do occasionally color a picture or blow some bubbles, the zest is gone. Having children would mean feeling excited again about Christmas morning and birthdays and playing games and taking trips to fun places.

See what I mean? Don’t you remember how everything was awesome and entertaining when you were a kid? How much you looked forward to stuff? I do, but now I’m just old and curmudgeonly. I need some youthful enthusiasm around here before I turn into a grinch.

4. The warm fuzzies.

I have a husband and a family (not to mention four cats) I care very much for, and they all bring me a good deal of joy and fulfillment. But I know that parents feel a totally unique kind of love for their children—a feeling that no other experience in the world can give. I want that, even though I know I’d be trading sanity and time and energy and peace and independence for it (and also in spite of the fact that my reasons-to-not-have-kids list is actually longer than this one ::nervous laugh::). The heart wants what the heart wants, amirite?

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5 Reasons Why I’m Turning Into a Rage Monster

Or 5 Reasons Why the Trials of This World Are Almost Too Much for My Sensitive Soul

1. I can’t control my water temperature.

For whatever reason (the gods like to laugh at mere mortals?), my shower faucet is totally wack. I have to start out at extreme melt-your-flesh hot just to get the water heater up and going. Then I spend ten minutes trying to find a bearable temperature, but that’s almost impossible because here’s what happens when I turn the handle toward cool:

  • Nothing
  • It gets hotter
  • Deceptive unresponsiveness—it stays hot until I give up and get in, at which point it suddenly becomes ice water and the whole process starts over again.

One day soon my neighbors are going to see a betowelled, crazy-eyed lunatic with scald marks and sudsy hair running down the street shrieking curses at the heavens.

2. I keep seeing girls wearing tights as though they are pants.

I’m…I’m just aghast. Dear every female college student: I guess you think that tights are no different from normal cloth leggings, but you have lost your mind. Tights are purchased in the underwear section of the store, which should give you your first clue. Under. They go under clothes. Also, have you ever considered that tights are actually not made out of real fabric? Meaning that they are somewhat translucent. Meaning that they don’t hide that whole situation you got going on there, which would and should be hidden by pants. And with the way they cling to your skin, you might as well just paint your bottom half and call it a day. Have you no pity? Please stop inflicting your horrifying pseudo-nudity on the general populace. Seriously, our nerves are shot.

Dear God...

I will never be able to unsee that.

3. Angry Birds Space is really hard.

I’m not some schlub, ok? I do not consider the game beaten until I get three stars on every level including secret eggsteroid ones (not to mention 100% for Space Eagle attacks). Which means that my blood pressure rises with each failed attempt to launch a bird with the exact velocity on the exact trajectory needed to kill the most pigs and garner the most possible points. Sometimes the sound of those smug pigs honking and snorting fills me with such profound fury that I want to hurl my iPad through the window and then stomp on the remaining shards. Instead I quietly pull out my hair and grind my teeth and think evil thoughts about the game’s creators, who seem bent on hastening me to an early grave.

4. Our dryer has a poorly placed lint trap.

Whoever designed this is 1) an idiot and 2) a dirty slob since clearly they don’t do enough laundry to know that putting a big pile of lint right on the dryer opening is dumb. It doesn’t matter how rabidly I clean this thing—there are always bits of disgusting filth clinging to it. That’s just the nature of lint traps. Usually that’s ok, since most lint traps are sensibly located away from high-clothes-traffic regions. But not this one, oh no. This one is conveniently placed in the exact area where clothes are most likely to come into contact. If I don’t want lint bits on the clothes that were JUST WASHED, then I have to gingerly load/unload items one by one, making sure they don’t trail over the trap in the process. And whenever I wash my giant (white) duvet cover, it’s impossible to get it in or out of the dryer without it dragging right across all that built-up grime. Thank you, useless dolt of a dryer designer, for contributing to my descent into OCD madness. I think I hate you even more than the people who are responsible for those awful kinds of restroom stalls where the door opens inward and you have to practically climb on the toilet to shut it (though they’re a close second).

I have feelings of actual violence toward the person or persons responsible for this outrage.

5. I owe Alabama state taxes.

This may or may not be fair—I’m not sure since tax codes are about as clear to me as astrophysics. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am gnashing my teeth right now. Paying (even more) money to the government sucks harder than…than…being married to Newt Gingrich. ZING! No actually, that’s probably not true at all. Anyway, it sucks. And on top of that, I can’t even e-file! I have to actually print and mail my return. And my printer just ran out of ink. Y’all, this mess is on my last nerve.

Brrrr. Makes the flesh creep.

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