Monday, November 08, 2010

Badmouthing Children

I read a personal finance blog, and the subject of being childless by choice comes up a lot. Leaving out halachic considerations, I generally think that people should only have children if they're 100% sure they want them, so I usually stay out of this discussion, but this comment really enraged me, so I figured I'd post my response:
"...mucking it up with one or more noisy, smelly, expensive, messy, self-centered ungrateful brats?"

This is what makes us parents angry at those who are childless by choice.

You were once a noisy, smelly, expensive, messy, self-centered ungrateful brat yourself, and yet here you are...

I don't mind if you say that you don't want to have children of your own because they require a lot of energy and care and time and money, but saying nasty things about children in general is just rude.

Are my children-
  • Noisy? Sometimes. 
  • Smelly? Rarely. You probably smell worse, since children's sweat is basically odorless. 
  • Expensive? Only because we have them in daycare. If I had them at home, having the two of them would cost substantially less than the cost of a car each month. 
  • Messy? Sometimes, but even my almost-2 cleans up when reminded. 
  • Self-Centered? Sometimes, but aren't we all self-centered sometimes? I certainly didn't think it showed self-centeredness when my 3.5-year-old saw me crying and patted me on the back and said "shhh. it's ok mommy" Sometimes, she's the most caring and giving child in the world. 
  • Ungrateful - Yep, they're often ungrateful, but sometimes, you give them some tiny thing and they run at you to hug you and their gratitude is worth more than a thousand "thank you" notes.
  • Brats - My kids aren't brats. Neither parent is career military. (I'm an army brat, so... that's what a brat is to me)
Go ahead and don't have children if you don't want them. If you're not fully committed to being a parent, don't do it. It'll be terrible for you and worse for the children.

But don't dare badmouth my kids. Or my choices.


Rona Michelson said...

Well said!

Jules: said...

And let's not get into people who think that every woman should be a stay-at-home mom and think there's something pathological about women who just don't want kids...I totally agree--you're all in when you have kids, and there is no 50%.

Sarah said...

I like this post. :)

Leah Goodman said...

Jules - you're right. If you want to love a child and spend time with them and not be fully committed, be an aunt/uncle (or an honorary one). Then you can take them out for whole days at a time, play with them, enjoy them, even have them crawl into bed with you in the morning once in a blue moon, but if you're sick, you get to stay home.

No such deal for parents.

Lady-Light said...

Interesting post. Their description of kids is why they didn't get into parenting in the first place: they can't stand 'em. Thank G-d they never became parents (or, it could be 'sour grapes' too...)

This, by the way, is also part of the beauty of grand-parenting: you are with the grand-kids for several days, or an outing, or a week--and then you are "off," doing what you need or want to do.

After all, you did your "time" in raising your own kids.
Now it's their turn!