I Don’t Want Kids
I don’t want kids. I’m a twenty-one year old who’s only half way through undergrad and I don’t have a partner or a steady job. I like kids at an arm’s length, and I’m good at being a fun aunt, and that’s all I want or need in my life.
Right about there in my speech is where the bullshit begins.
“You’ve always been so good with kids.”
“You’ll want kids later.”
“You don’t know how you’ll feel in ten years.”
And that’s the first part of the problem. I don’t know how I’ll feel in ten years. I don’t even know what my life will be like in six months. Asking me if I want kids is like asking a ten year old where they want to go to college. You’ll get an answer because you asked a direct question, but if you expect the answer to reflect reality a decade before it sets in you’re a dumbass. That ten year old may be a prodigy who gets his shit together and makes it to college by thirteen. He may never go to college. He may go to trade school or art school or dedicate his life to service. He may end up at the exact school he rattled off for you today. But that doesn’t mean you hold him to his promise.
The second part of the problem is the underlying issue in most social debates today. There is a default answer that is “acceptable”, and anything else is “different”. And that “different” definitely has a tone to it. We have retained the perception that the norm is for women to want kids, and they are making a deliberate decision to deviate from the norm in choosing not to have kids.
Some people argue for flipping that worldview, so that the norm is to take care of yourself and some people choose to have children. One of the new fad feminist metaphors I’ve been hearing is to compare the kid decision to the pet decision: no one complains if someone who doesn’t like animals doesn’t want pets, which are a huge financial and time-consuming responsibility. If you’re already in an argument, that’s a great concept to point out, but I fear the worldview flip.
Creating a new norm from the bones of the old one is a ridiculously terrible idea. If you just make it normal to not want kids, then a few generations from now women who want kids will be dealing with society’s bigotry. Why can’t the norm be “I don’t know”?
Somewhere along the line indecisiveness became unacceptable. People became afraid of the dark. Let’s go back to the kindergarten mindset, where when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” you could answer with “Cow.”
All I want is for people to take me less seriously when they ask me if I want kids. I want ten to be just as acceptable an answer as zero, because the real answer is the same for everyone at my stage in life:
No fucking clue.