On Kids, and Why I Don’t Want Them

I haven’t wanted kids for a long time.

Obviously, I’m only 21.  I’m still in school.  I’m in a relationship, but not engaged.  I’m not at a place right now where I could feasibly have kids, even if I wanted them.  I know lots of people my age with kids, and it works for them.  But for me, now is not the time.  And there may well never be a time.

I used to like kids, back when I was 8, 10, 13 years old.  I liked playing with babies (though I have never thought they smelled good).  I thought toddlers were the cutest.  I babysat for a few families.  But as I got older my desire to have my own disappeared.

This is common knowledge.  People, when they find out I don’t want them, laugh and say I’ll change my mind.  I’m too young to know, apparently.  Right now the common question is, “When will you get married?”  But after that, it’ll be, “When are the babies coming?”

There are a lot of reasons I don’t want kids.  I’m in college, surrounded by people who want to achieve.  I want to achieve, too.  I’d like to own my own business, or run a marketing department, or be a real estate agent.  I want a career, and kids would complicate that.

Second, I read this article a few months ago that had a theory about people who don’t find babies cute.  The (paraphrased) theory was that disgust may override the parental care response when a baby is seen.  When most people see a baby, they see a helpless, cute creature that can’t survive on its own, and they want to take care of it.  Other people see a helpless creature that’s kind of gross and annoying because it can’t take care of itself.  These same people find baby animals cute, because baby animals are much more self-sustaining.  I feel like the article was written about me.

I just don’t like children.  I’m not good at interacting with them.  I’m very small, so children tend to see me more as another kid than an authority figure, and that just makes it worse.  To be brutally honest, I find kids annoying and expensive.  Kids tend to replace dreams.

That’s not to say I look down on people who have kids.  While I don’t understand it, I know that kids are the dream for a lot of people.  I have several friends who have wanted to be stay-at-home moms since they were children, and that’s great.  It really is.  It takes a lot to raise a child.  I appreciate people who do it.  I just don’t want to.

I’ve talked to my boyfriend about this.  He’s known that I don’t really want kids.  And he doesn’t want them either, right now.  But I know people change their minds.

I asked him, the other day, whether he thought he might want children in the future.  He thought about it for a little while, and said maybe.  A little us running around would be really cute.  And they would be around to take care of us when we get old.

I said I thought he probably would.  I felt like crying.

He asked me, Does that bother you?

I wanted to say no.  Instead I asked him, What if you do?  Kids are a deal breaker for a lot of people.

He sat up and told me this.  If I change my mind, and want kids, that’s fine.  But if not, he’s not going anywhere.  Because we, the two people here right now, are what matter, not hypothetical future children.  We, the two people here right now, are best friends, and want to spend our lives together, and whether or not that involves kids, it will still be the life we both want.  He’ll still be happy, even if it’s just us two front porch sittin’ when all our hairs are gray.


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