First off, you can blame this post on an after school meeting I had today where someone brought me an espresso.
Second, I’m nervous to publish this post because I fear some backlash, but frankly it’s my blog, and you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to.
Third, this post comes as a response to not one, not two, not even THREE people aggressively questioning my decision to not have children, but FIVE separate people in the last two weeks. What the eff? Do I have some sort of sign on my forehead lately?
Having my grandma badger me is one thing. She’s a fiery Italian woman from a very large New York family. She rules the roost, and she lays her accent on thick when she moans, “You must have a baby before I die!” When I replied, “Who else do you know who is as happy as me?” She laughed and said, “No one! Ok it’s all bullshit!”
However, when random acquaintances or parents of my students ask things like, “So when are you going to start a family?” or “Don’t you want to have your own kids?” it gets under my skin. To be polite, I shrug it off, or make jokes, “I have enough kids in my life as a teacher…I don’t need anymore!” Everyone laughs. Ha. Ha.
But seriously – I have some very real reasons for not having children. It’s not that I want to live frivolously or that I don’t like children (hel-lo! I’m a freaking teacher!). Sometimes I worry that this bucket list blog I have kept for four years now communicates the idea that all I care about it ME, and frankly I think my reason to not have children is the most selfless choice I’ve ever made.
Top 5 Reasons I Won’t Have Children
1. Overpopulation. The world does not need more people right now. Period. What are we at now? Seven billion? That’s not to say no one should have children, but I’m not going to contribute to a problem where we know for a FACT that our earth can’t keep up with human growth that is exploding across the planet.
2. Dismal Future. Between mass pollution of our natural resources and intense political and religious conflicts all over the world, I honestly wonder how livable things will be for us in 50 years. If I truly can’t say that I am confident the world will be a place fit for humans, why the hell would I create one that might suffer the fallout of our choices?
3. Orphans. Do you know how many orphaned children there are in the world? UNICEF estimates that 153 million children are without parents. That number is pretty much incomprehensible to me, and frankly it makes me sick to my stomach that those children are already born and we are out there making more.
4. My role as an educator. Everyday I attend to the needs of society’s children. I take money out of my own paycheck to give them snacks, buy cool art supplies, and make school the exciting and creative space it should be. But they wear me out. If I had to come home to kids, I would be a crappy teacher and a crappy parent. I’m certain that I don’t have the stamina for dual roles.
5. Money. At this point, I can barely pay off my own college loans, let alone save for someone else’s. I honestly don’t think we have the capability to afford a kid without going on some psychotic Dave Ramsey rice & beans plan.
So tell me – when someone asks why I don’t or won’t have kids, and I supposed to unload all of this?? I really don’t begrudge those who have children (my career depends on them – right?), but I assume that if I said all this stuff to someone who did have their own children, I’d sound like a real asshole.
When I was around 9 or 10 years old, I was already thinking about overpopulation and orphans around the world (maybe because two of my best friends growing up were adopted from Brazil). A very distinct feeling came across my mind that having children wasn’t for me. Luckily, I found a husband who shares similar (albeit less fatalistic) views on parenthood. Why don’t we adopt? Because he doesn’t want to.
Instead, I take comfort in the knowledge that I am at least attempting to mold young brains into becoming better global citizens in my classroom. Why is it that people give me a funny look when I say I don’t want to have children, but rarely do I hear praises about the important work I’m doing with children everyday in my career?