Two Reasons Not to Have Children

1. You’ll have to start watching films like Harry Potter and learn the names of Disney characters. More than anything, kids don’t want to be in any way different from their peers, so it’s an obligation of every parent to provide this kind of entertainment. I get this but the thought of sitting through a Disney movie gives me a panic attack.

2. You’ll have to hang out with other parents to organize play dates, birthday parties, etc. And there is nothing scarier than people whose primary sense of identity comes from parenthood. I’ll give you a little example.

I’m walking on campus when a colleague stops me.

“Hey, Clarissa, how are you?”

“I’m good, Samantha, just a little sick with the flu. How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, thank you. So what have you been doing this summer?”

“Just research.”

“Oh, really? Well, I have no time to do research. Because I’m a MOM! I have TWO CHILDREN!! I have to take care of them, so I can’t just dedicate my time to doing research!!!”

By the end of the conversation, I felt like I was the one who’d gotten her pregnant and then run away to do my research while she was stuck with the kids.

Of course, there are people who don’t bug everybody into oblivion with their parenthood, but one’s chances of avoiding those who do diminish dramatically if one has children.

29 thoughts on “Two Reasons Not to Have Children”

  1. There’s actually a word for what you friend did in that conversation: Mommyjacking: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mommyjacking

    And at the moment, I’m the cool aunt who takes my friend’s kids (In Hawaii, regardless of blood relation, all family friends are known as “auntie” and “uncle”) to the movies and the amusement park and the park, but I *like* Harry Potter, and I show Studio Ghibli films rather than Disney, which are better quality and are still popular with kids. So it works out for me.

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  2. This post made me laugh. I know sooooooooooooooooo many parents like the one you describe. So sad and annoying.

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  3. It seems as though women still carry the main burden of bringing up children even in a two-parent household. That is one reason, I believe, why women on average do not earn as much as men. I suppose, if the household has a sufficiently high income, that nannies can take some of the strain. But that comes at a price in terms of lost contact with the children.

    When my children were young I helped out as much as I could and worked through the night when they (hopefully) were asleep. At least academics have flexibility in allocating their work schedules over time.

    You should not feel guilty, Clarissa, for other people’s decisions regarding family building and the allocation of time!

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  4. All you have to do is allow your children to be unpopular at school, like my parents did. I saw only one movie in a theater before I was a teenager, and that was for someone’s birthday party. We hardly did anything that other people did. I didn’t mind when I was little. As a teenager I was unhappy for a few years about being unpopular, but now I can see that there were great advantages to it. I read a lot and thought for myself instead of going along with the group. Too many parents are afraid to stand out or let their children be different. I do not mean this as a recommendation to have children, but I am sure you would not do anything just because other people were doing it.

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    1. I know what you mean about being different in adolescence. It was a great burden, and I don’t think I can impose it on somebody who hasn’t chosen it for themselves. I just don’t want to be responsible for another person feeling the way I did when I was a teenager.

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      1. I wasn’t very social as a teenager and can’t say I was popular, even if I did have several good acquaintances among my classmates. Didn’t keep in touch with any of them after graduating. Watching HP didn’t help. 🙂

        Was it very different to you? I mean, I wasn’t teased or worse, just without close friends and didn’t suffer because of it. May be you could write a post about your school experiences you refer to here? And a post on friendship, at school and later, or in general what it means to you. Is it necessary to everybody? What about people who feel a family is enough (blood relatives, a spouse & children)?

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      2. I always have wanted to be different from my peers. I cannot relate easily to either children or adults who feel otherwise.

        I enjoyed the Harry Potter books. I would not call them great literature, but I was always pleased when another one appeared. The movies are merely OK.

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    2. You are saying that there are parents who are developed (for the lack of a better word) enough for their children to be different in some sort of a geeky way because of the parents, but who would not let their children be different because it can diminish their popularity?
      In my opinion and experience, if parents are different enough, they cannot help but influence their kids somehow… If they influence their children to diminish their popularity the way popularity of nerds/geeks is diminished, they would be unlikely to be able to help their kids to gain popularity. Even if they wanted to (which is not always the case) – they would not know how.

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  5. My relatives never did 1) and I have great relatives. I am surprised to read you believe such a strange thing. I watched TV at our home and read children’s (and not) books in my childhood, but my relatives had nothing to do with it, except reading to me before I could do it myself. It’s the weirdest excuse not to have kids I’ve ever heard of. If your kid watches Disney on TV or PC, who forces you to watch too? Most parents don’t have huge amounts of free time for that anyway, working 9 to 5 (since the child is 3 months old in Israel), cooking, cleaning house, etc. Most don’t have as much free time as you’re lucky to have. “provide this kind of entertainment” is turn on your TV and do your things meanwhile. Like research. Or reading a book. I hope to have a kid without ever intending to “sit through a Disney movie”. Never saw parents who *did* this kind of a thing, unless they wanted to relax themselves and enjoyed it.

    As for 2), it’s USA thing, I guess. I in Ukraine and my little brother in Israel played outside. Pre-school children go to kindergarten and have plenty of time to interact there with friends anyway. My brother brought his friends home without any talks between parents, except 1 family who was friendly with us without connection to the children. Nobody forces you to befriend those parents. I am pretty privite person and don’t think it’ll change after a child. “to hang out with other parents to organize ” doesn’t have to take much time at all, especially if you take care to stress how *horribly busy* you’re at your work and keep interactions to a minimum. A useful white lie imo. Most parents are normal people and don’t behave as you fear.

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    1. “Most don’t have as much free time as you’re lucky to have. “provide this kind of entertainment” is turn on your TV and do your things meanwhile.”

      -If I decided to be a parent, I might not be a perfect one, but surely I’d never be a horrible parent like the one you decide. Why have kids at all if all you want ti do is stick them in front of the TV??

      ” I hope to have a kid without ever intending to “sit through a Disney movie”. Never saw parents who *did* this kind of a thing, unless they wanted to relax themselves and enjoyed it.”

      -How can parents nowadays avoid taking their kids to the movies?

      “I guess. I in Ukraine and my little brother in Israel played outside. ”

      -Where I live, there is no outside. There’s just the highway.

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      1. First, sorry for completely missing the post was humorous.

        *but surely I’d never be a horrible parent like the one you decide. Why have kids at all if all you want ti do is stick them in front of the TV??*

        You didn’t understand what I meant. Investing time in children =\= watching movies with them, it’s yes reading to them, teaching them reading & writing & other things, taking walks together, etc. Surely your parents didn’t go to children’s movies with you?
        I had a large collection of plastinok (in Russian) and listened to them a lot, while relatives did other things. They did read to me, invested time, but not something like 1),unless you count reading me fairy-tales.

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        1. My mother was a school-teacher. She always took 42 of her students plus 2 children of her own to children’s movies, the zoo, the circus, and even to the beach. 🙂

          When Disney cartoons started appearing in theaters, my parents took my sister. They couldn’t have let her go alone because she was still small.

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          1. In Ukraine I went to movies once on organized school movie-going, where students made lots of noise. Here had my brother asked to go in his young years, I would’ve gone with him. Also there are many great children books and movies.

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  6. Seems you’re afraid children will completely take over your life, take all your free time, force you to do XYZ unpleasant tasks. As if they’ll grow up badly, unless you become unslaved to them (watching children’s movies, endless interactions with parents, etc). Most parents I see don’t have free time for that anyway, trying to earn a living, working on multiple jobs, with a few free time. Yet in most cases if a family is normal, children’ll turn all right. My relatives invested in me and my brother with I believe good enough results without any of those 2 points. In USA too I doubt most parents have lots of free time for that. Some do, but I am sure really not all. Your children will themselves chose whom to become at school, whatever you do at home. In a recent post there were approving comments on 14-year-old boy who said there was no need for X-box & loved playing board games. I didn’t see any hint he’s an outcast at school and most outcasts have PC, TV, watch Disney, etc.

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    1. El, now you have started translating me? There is now need since I’m more than capable of expressing myself in writing. This was a humorous post, which every other reader seemed to understand.

      “Seems you’re afraid children will completely take over your life, take all your free time, force you to do XYZ unpleasant tasks. As if they’ll grow up badly, unless you become unslaved to them”

      -Can you show where I said anything like that? I was just trying to be funny here.

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  7. I don’t know — Harry Potter is something I’d have read whether I had children or not (one kid liked it, the other didn’t).

    While parents do sometimes need accommodation at work, it doesn’t absolve them of their responsibilities. I’ve always worked these semi-flexible jobs where I was the “Lone Ranger” so to speak — no one really knew what I was supposed to be doing, and it was too difficult to attempt to explain on short notice — so if one of my kids was mildly to moderately ill on a day I had to be there, s/he would come to work with me if too small to stay home alone. Since the kids were well behaved and good at entertaining themselves, it worked out for me, and my supervisor was more than happy to allow it (and the kids liked getting to come to work with me). This is not a solution for everyone, and I was careful not to take advantage of it.

    When I worked a part-time job on a hospital floor, a few parents always thought they should have first choice on holidays off and would always gripe about the seniority system. Parents who think their needs come before non-parents irritate me.

    I don’t really care much for Disney films, except for Fantasia — always more of a Bugs Bunny fan.

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  8. I thought of another post idea, in addition to the role of friends’ one (are there people who don’t need any except family?), vegetarianism vs what you think of people who are against factory farming, but not against eating meat in general.

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  9. I enjoyed Harry Potter books. Movies are a different story, but at least after the books one understands everything. And I still do not know most of the Disney characters. Did not hurt my relationship with my daughter.
    Concerning those special moms… Well, you cannot avoid them, but at least in the university town you can always find some more balanced women to be friends with.

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    1. Maybe I need to put out an announcement for balanced women. 🙂 I met quite a few actually but they are all in the 55+ range. It’s the older generation of real feminists who are not part of the Mommy craze.

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