I do not understand many things, among them the onus a society places upon its denizens to bear children. Actually, I take that back; from an evolutionary standpoint, demands to bear children make complete sense. But with around 7 billion people on the planet now, you’d think people would cut others some slack for not having children or not having children by the proper age as dictated by a given culture. But the nagging persists: “When are you going to get married and have kids? You do want kids, right? How many? Time’s running out!” While I can’t help people whose biological clocks are ticking – their drive towards procreation is on them at least – I wish to help people with nagging relatives and friends. How? By nagging back. (What other solution did you think I was going to propose?)
Let’s face it; it’s 2013 in America and bullying is no longer accepted. Frankly, that’s what nagging someone to have kids is these days; bullying. So no one, when asked, “When are you having kids?” should shrink like a violet. I propose fighting back in the face of such interrogations. If someone asks you, “When are you having kids?” there are any number of clever or snarky replies, such as
* Why is it important to you?
* Yeah, um, whose life is my life?
* Never, seeing how well you raised kids.
* As soon as you stop asking me about it.
* Seven billion people isn’t enough for you?
* When there is such a thing as job security again.
* When you die and need to be replaced.
* When they’re 18.
Personally, I’d reply with “Why is it important to you?” because the person you respond to with it isn’t going to have anything close to a rational answer as to why it’s important to them. I can almost hear the irrational guilt trip answer, “Because I want to have grandchildren before I die,” already. Furthermore, the person wanting to know when you’re having children is probably religious, which opens the door to educate them on why they really think you having children is important – the compulsion of genes to replicate themselves as far into the future as possible.
I have never been for the viewpoint that the pinnacle event in life is to have and raise children, because if so, one is living an arguably pointless existence once a child is born, seeing how a biological parent is not currently necessary to a child’s survival. And if the point of having and raising children becomes the point in life of the children to have and raise children? This is descending into idiocy from a thinking standpoint. (Though, I guess we can’t expect a biologically based drive to be subject to reason.) Besides, after the childbearing years doesn’t a person become useless if having children is all there is to life? Maybe not; I guess someone’s gotta put a dollar in the birthday card.
Yes, families are great and we all love one another and our respective children, but no one should be made to feel they are less of a human being because they haven’t done their procreation duty. Coercion, guilt, shaming – we don’t do these things anymore in freedom-loving Western industrialized countries. That is so last century and two billion people ago. And that’s why I don’t have kids, ‘cause I’m a modern man who loves freedom and free is the last thing you are when you have kids.
[To be more exact, I don’t have children because I think of them mostly as demanding, noisy, germ-infested, stress-inducing, sleep-deprivation machines that never stop when you want them to. Besides, my cats are a pain in the ass and they’re only half the size of a baby. Why the hell would I double my trouble? And no, it wouldn’t be better just because they’re mine. I know me and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to raise even a half of me.]