Wednesday, January 5, 2011

812 Reasons I Don't Have Kids or Dogs.

Lest you think this is going to be some kind of child/motherhood bashing blog post, it is not.  This is just a humorous look at my views of children and why I don't have any. - JLK

I've gotten to a point in my life where all of my friends are breeding.  Some intentionally, some not, some with a spouse, some on their own, some have kids that are already half-grown at this point.  I do not.

Things I am:
I'm 28.
I'm single.
I have a College degree.
I have a house.
I have a long term boyfriend.

The things that I think I would need in order to procreate:
Time
Money
Sanity
A Husband (and not just someone that marries me, someone that would be capable of being a father)

I have none of these things.  That, in a nutshell, is why I do not have children.

But wait, there's more -

I feel that being a parent is more than just spawning a child.  I think that if you're going to do it, you need to do it right.  I do realize that things like time, money, and sanity will never be there in the amounts I would feel would be adequate prior to bringing a child into the universe; however, I also believe that if I wanted to get a dog, say, I would need to accept the time, effort, and financial drain that it would cause.  I'd have to make sure someone could put the dog out multiple times a day.  I'd have to budget for vet visits, dog food, time for yard cleanup and grooming, walking, etc.  I'd have to arrange for someone to care for the dog when I'm out of town. I'd have to accept that sometimes the dog will get into things, destroy things, keep me up at night, have accidents in the house, and although a lot of this can be minimized due to good training, dog will still have slip ups from time to time.  For those reasons and more, I choose not to have a dog.

So, if I can't handle the pressure and responsibility of a dog, why should I have a child?  Being a woman approaching 30, there is an excessive amount of pressure being put on me to settle down and have kids.  I've spent the last 10 years focusing on my schooling and career, building a nest (securing decent housing, having a decent car, trying to keep some money in the bank), and focusing in my mental, spiritual, and physical health.  Now that I feel like I'm finally getting close to achieving those things, the pressure is on.  Even my doctor is telling me that the clock is ticking.  Me? I didn't even acknowledge the clock until I was told my time is running out.  But, at the same time, I still don't feel ready.

I still have no deep maternal instinct driving me to have children.  I don't see that as a hole in my life waiting to be filled.  I have a boyfriend, I have a cat, I have a nice place to live and nice things - other than working on my singing career and working harder in my insurance career so that I'll have financial security, I don't see my life as missing anything major.  I've always felt that the first step to being a parent is to want to have a child.

As far as dogs go, I already have a cat.  She knows and responds to her name, she plays with toys, she chases her tail and plays fetch, and she gives awesome snuggles.  She also poops in a box that only needs scooping a couple of times a week.  The work to reward ratio is pretty high with my kitty. 

I am sometimes afraid that I'll change my mind later on and regret not procreating.  When all my friends' children are grown and they're cool and enjoyable to hang out with, when I'm old and feeble and have no one to take care of me.  But I don't think that justifies bringing someone into the world just to have someone to be responsible for me when I can no longer care for myself properly.  I think that's a greedy, selfish reason to have children.  Much like how people tell me I need to get a dog for security purposes.  It only costs $20 a month for security system monitoring, and my security system isn't going to go off every time a car door shuts across the street.

Maybe I'm just not big on kids because I don't know any.  There aren't any children in my close family.  When I am around kids, it's at a large family function where there are like 10 of them swarming around and it makes me nervous and uncomfortable.  I can't relate to kids.  Every now and then I meet one and it's quiet, well behaved, and cute.  I wouldn't mind having a kid if it were like that.  Most of the kids I meet are loud, obnoxious, annoying, and destructive.  Those are the kind that make me glad I'm not a mommy.  Kind of like dogs, I only know 3 dogs that just chill out and don't get into everything.  Those dogs are pretty awesome.  All the other dogs all bark and whine at everything, destroy objects and furniture, and intentionally use the house as a bathroom.  Those dogs make me glad I don't have one.

Now, with both dogs and kids, I do accept that a lot of their behavior is due to their training and upbringing.  If you set them on the right course early in life they'll not much stray from it later in life.  It is also possible that, with hard work and dedication, you can correct behavioral problems later even if they've gotten out of hand.  But, I know it's always easier to judge when it's not yours.  I know that with the amount of work that goes into children and dogs it's easier to just let them cry/bark and tune it out than to do something about it.  I know it's easier to indulge their fits than to council and rectify the behavior.  But, tis easier to resist the first temptation than to satisfy all that come after it, and children and dogs will both push for what they want, and eventually one caves to them and they get positive reinforcement for a negative behavior.  Then you have to work twice as hard to re-assert your authority. 

Being a parent is a full time job.  I have a full time job.  It's called work.  But, although I do tend to obsess about work in my free time, I do have free time to pursue my hobbies, volunteer work, organizations, or to just chill if I so choose.  With a dog, I'd have to either crate it, risk it running loose in the house all day and possibly destroying things, get a sitter, or take it with me wherever I go.  With a kid I'd be limited to the latter two options.  No more romance, no more relaxation, no more Jennifer time.  Even with a sitter I'd always have to be available for an emergency phone call.  I'd have to either quit my job or have the kid spend half its day with someone else.  I know I could do the "daddy takes the first shift then works evenings and mommy takes the second shift" thing, but then you're left with more of a business than a family.

I do believe a child should have both a mother and a father present.  I do not mean this offensively, I mean it as something that I have observed both through my psychological/antropological schooling and through experience.  I think that dual-gender parenting is a crucial part of a childs' development and without both parents present it leaves a significant gap in the childs' ability to develop relationships later in life.  I think both the female and male influence is also critical in the childs' development of their own personality and identity.  Now, I do know that a child can still grow up in a loving, secure environment with either a 1 parent family or with same-gender parents, and of course I would consider that to be preferable to growing up in a disfunctional or unloving family, but I do think that it is not ideal for optimal social development.

Likewise, dogs are social animals.  I don't think it's good for them to be home alone all day, even if they're not crated.  Cats are relatively anti-social animals, and yet when I come home from work my kitty is all over me with the "Oh my God where were you I missed you so much I just want to be a part of you" kitty snuggles.  We play games, we talk to each other, we hang out together - and I've heard from The Boyfriend that if he has to stop over when I'm not there, kitty gets all excited and does the same thing to him.  So she clearly seems to enjoy having company as she never got that excited about anyone coming home before when I had a roommate and a roommates' cat. 

So, I don't know.  Maybe it's because I'm self centered and want to live my life for me and can't be bothered with smelly, noisy things running around my house.  Maybe it's because I think that I'm ill-prepared for motherhood and would rather go without than create a life I do not have the capacity to be responsible for. 

Maybe I'm just scared of children because I have no exposure to them.  There are not many children in my family.  The ones we do have I only see sparingly.  My house is full of fragile, valuable, and pointy things.  I don't think Smidgen (the kitty) would be too fond of a child pulling her tail.  I've never changed a diaper.  I'm sure dealing with children wouldn't seem as scary if I were exposed to them more often, but I'm not.  I don't know what type of crying means what.  I'm a fraternal twin - I'm much more likely to have twins than a non-twin.  I could end up with two kids at once like my parents did.  Could I handle Double Trouble? 

I don't know. 

Is a kid an all-encompassing fungus that permeates every tendril of your being,
so you can hardly walk;
or is it just like having a fussy dog
that slowly learns how to talk? 
Could be that I am wrong
and a child is the best thing ever,
even better than if I had
a PS3 and a kitty cat fused together?
I'm still trying to decide
if I'm meant to be a mother;
or if I can live my life for me
and leave the breeding to my brother?

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