This week’s challenge calls for me to “speak out” about a topic that is sometimes avoided, to make my voice heard. Don’t worry; while that prompt easily lends itself to politics, I figure everyone’s had more than enough of that these days (and I don’t tend to be very political anyway). Instead, I want to discuss a difficult subject, one that I ponder frequently, and one for which I hold a less popular view.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love my life. I go on all sorts of exciting excursions with my husband, and we’re always doing something crazy. Our Christmas cards are always packed with annual explorations; in short, we stay very busy. And the best part: I get to photograph everything along the way.
One of the primary reasons we are capable of so many adventures is the fact that we don’t have children. And to be completely honest, I don’t want any.
Without extra humans in our household, we have the freedom to travel, some trips being more spontaneous than others. I can go on a Saturday hike at the drop of a hat without worrying about who will watch the kids, and we’re free to attend concerts, local events, and half a dozen anime conventions each year.
We are also two DINKs with adequate funds to fuel our crazy lifestyles (within reason), giving us the opportunity to experiment with new hobbies and consider alternate careers.
Yeah, some would say that makes me selfish, but I’m happy. I strongly believe the world needs more happy people.
I have other reasons for not wanting children, including the fact that I have little patience for hand-holding (in the task sense); I believe others should have the capacity to hold themselves up and figure some things out with minimal guidance. I also see people like my sisters or my own mother and realize that I could never hold a candle to all they’ve done and continue to do every day. I have a penchant for being tactless (I’m authentic to a fault), and I’d be a simply miserable mother. On top of everything else, I just don’t like kids. I don’t like the noise, the mess, the energy-sucking, the utter reliance. This is precisely why I’m a cat person; dogs aren’t much better than kids on those fronts.
Furthermore, society expects motherhood out of me. And because I’m a rebel, I feel the need to defy those demands if only out of sheer spite.
On a less-selfish note, I also can’t see myself subjecting an innocent child to the world we live in today. While I was growing up, my mother would kick us outside first thing in the morning, where we’d go explore the woods behind our house all day long. We’d return when we were hungry, and Mum would check our heads for ticks before kicking us back out again until it got dark. I was no more than 8-10 years old. We weren’t under constant surveillance, we didn’t have cell phones, and no one feared we’d be abducted. Mum’s greatest concern was that we’d break a limb scrambling up and down trees.
I can’t fathom a parent permitting that today.
I recognize there are good things to having kids, too. It’s a constant companionship unlike any other, and some have the inherent need to nurture a young human and mold them into something better than themselves. If I ever had kids, I think I’d most look forward to the photography. Kids can be very photogenic, and like kittens, they’re cute and clumsy, discovering the world for the first time.
I would also have a field day with the chibi cosplay! Tiny Pikachu, Totoro, Mokona.. the possibilities are endless.
But the one benefit that makes me debate this constantly is having someone care for me as I age.
I am terrified of being alone. I don’t ski by myself; I don’t go on solitary hikes; I don’t even like to run an errand without company. When I’m an old fart and we no longer all congregate at my parents’ house for Christmas, with whom will Aaron and I spend the holiday? Who will I have if Aaron leaves this world before me?
Ideally, I think the best case scenario is that like the sakura and the samurai it represents, I just die in my prime while capturing award-winning photos on some epic adventure. Go out with an incredible story and phenomenal shots. I could live with that… or not, as the case would be.
I might change my mind some day and decide I’m ready to “settle down,” but for now, I get everything I need from our kitties – companionship, photo subjects, and plenty of warm snuggles – all with the freedom of a large bowl of kibble and an auto-waterer to get them through a long weekend. Now, if only I could teach them how to wash the dishes and take out the trash…
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Do you also find yourself debating having children? What are your reservations?