Childfree, and Loving It!

smilesMy mom’s birthday was yesterday.  We celebrated, just the two of us, and then we went to my brother’s house today for a second round of celebration.  My brother’s family was going to come to our house, but my niece got sick, so my brother decided it would be better if we went over there.  My bro’s middle-child, the so-called problem child, was on his best behavior.  The youngest child, not so much.   He was in a pissy mood.

Now, full disclosure–I don’t cook.  What the hell, Minna?  I hear you say.  How the fuck did you get from kids to cooking?  Well, it’s one reason I don’t have kids.  I wouldn’t want to have to cook for them.  Just kidding.   My brother wanted to cook shrimp scampi for dinner.  He also wanted to fry zucchini (from his garden) and grill corn.  He asked if I would help, and I said, of course.   My job was to slice up the zucchini, to crush and destroy–er, chop garlic, and to de-tail the shrimp.  My brother wanted me to go faster with the shrimp, but when I did, my efficiency dipped.  A tail or two wound up in the scampi, but no matter.

As my brother and I cooked, my mom peeked her head in and said, “I like seeing my son and daughter cooking a meal for me.”  Strangely enough, I liked it, too.  It was fun cooking with my bro because, despite all our differences, we get along really well.  We have an easy rhythm, and we like to joke with each other.  My mom and my sister-in-law were entertaining the two little boys while my sick niece languished on her sick bed, reading a Harry Potter book for the bajillionth time.  It was an oddly homey scene, and for once, I didn’t mind.

Then, the youngest melted down into a screaming, kicking fit, and I tensed up.  I live alone, except for my two black cats, and I don’t do noise very well.  I like my home life to be quiet and pretty sedate.  I don’t like chaos, unless I am the one doing the chaos-ing.  Yes, it’s not a word.  Deal with it.

After a delicious dinner, topped off with ice cream and chocolate syrup, my brother, the two boys, my mom and I went for a walk around Pearl Park.  It was a breezy seventy degrees or so, maybe a bit less, and it was a great night.  I enjoyed spending time with my nephews and my brother and my mom.  It was really great to see them, and it was equally great to leave.

See, as I have stated before, I’ve never wanted children.  I got so much shit for it when I was in my early twenties, I grew quite the chip on my shoulder.  In fact, I got SO MUCH FUCKING SHIT, I was tempted to send out “I’m still childfree, bitchez!” postcards to every single fucking person who has ever cast aspersion my way because of my no child stance.

Now, let’s get one thing straight:  I love children.  What’s more, in general, they love me.  I treat them like people, and I rarely condescend to them.  I don’t pat them on the head, and I don’t ask what their favorite subject in school is.  I love how bright and eager and curious they are, especially before the reality of life sets in, and they discover that there is no Santa Claus.  I find them refreshing because as you all know, I’m pretty fucking jaded.

You know what I love best about kids?  I can give them back to their parents. Being around my niece and nephews for more than two hours wears me out.  I am not good at repetition of things I don’t like, and as anyone with kids can tell you, kids are very much into repetition.  Endless.

I knew early on that you can’t tell your kids to get the fuck away from you and not bother you for three days on end.  Hungry?  Go forage like your fucking ancestors did.  Need comfort?  Grab a blankie and a teddy bear, babe.  I got nothing for you.  Goddamn it stop fucking pestering me this very minute or I’m gonna smack you upside your head!  I swear I will!

And, I am ashamed to say, I probably would.  I have a terrible temper, and I am very selfish.  Look, I can’t fucking live with someone because I have no desire to compromise.  How the fuck am I gonna have children?  Sure, I spoil my cats rotten, but they’re cats.  This means that they are mostly self-sufficient.  Well, except for Raven.  For the most part, he has to be in the same room as I am and touching me.  Anyway, I can leave them for hours on end.  I can have someone check on them once a day if I go out of state.  I don’t have to constantly worry about them or wonder what’s going on with them.

Kids?  Total energy drain.  I had so many people tell me it’d be different when they were my own, but I was wise enough to know that was pure bullshit.  I mean, there are many people who abuse their children–way too fucking many.  I could easily (way too fucking easily) envision myself losing my temper and slapping the crap out of my child.

Damn.  I hate admitting that.  I know how it makes me sound, but it’s the truth.  For many years, I struggled to control my darker impulses.  I knew that I could kill myself at any point–what the fuck would stop me from taking my children with me?   Not a damn fucking thing.  Many women who kill their children (and men) do so because they believe that the world is such a fucked-up place, their children are better off dead (especially if they, the parents, intend to kill themselves afterwards).  I can see myself thinking that.

So, when I was younger, one reason I decided not to have kids was because I knew I had that darkness inside me.  I knew I would be an awful mother, and nothing anyone said would budge me from that position.  I maintained that I would be a kickass aunt (and I am), but I would fail, fail, fail as a mother.

It’s not cool to say those things out loud.  It’s also not cool to say I’ve never had a hankering to have children.  Not once.  The only time I even considered it was to please my mom who was (and is) having a much more difficult time than I accepting my decision to remain childfree.  Fortunately, I hit myself over the head with an iron skillet and knocked some sense back into my brain.  Procreating to make your mother happy is never a good idea.

I made my decision at age 22 not to have children.  Since then, I’ve checked in every five years or so to see if I’d changed my position over the years.  I haven’t done that in awhile, so let’s check in now.


Minna.  Do you want kids?

Hell fucking no!

Well, alrighty then.

You know all that shit I said about knowing that I could abuse my child if I had one?  As much as I hate admitting it, I have to say that I’m fucking glad I know that about myself.  I mean, it’s a taboo subject because no one wants to think she is capable of such action.  However, it’s a grim fact that many parents do, indeed, abuse their children.  So, I think it’s better that I acknowledge that darkness inside of me.  I am glad I realize my limits when it comes to having children.  It would have been awful if I realized I wasn’t fit to be a mother AFTER giving birth.

This way, I hurt no one (except my mom.  Can’t help that).  I say it’s a win-win situation all the way around.

5 Responses to Childfree, and Loving It!

  1. You’re not saying anything that a lot of people haven’t thought, Minna. You’re just brave enough to say out loud.

    For me? I had the quintessential abusive father; instant asshole, just add alcohol. Not that he -needed- the gin to be a fucktard, but definitely added some flair to his insults, and a certain ring to the sound of him hitting one of us. Eh. Whatever. But as it turned out, Steven had pretty much the same father, just different liquid flair, different size fucktard.

    When our oldest was pre-school-ish age, she went through one of *those* phases. Yeah, they all do it. And we lost it several times. And we realized that holymotherfucking shit, we either went too far, or we are dangerously close to the line of going too far.

    So while I actually had started down the road you now walk (and sometimes thing I still should be walking), I couldn’t go back. I had the Kellions; I was stuck. We quit hitting them. If you’re not sure how much is too much, or worried that you won’t be able to stop, then just don’t.

    I realize that your answer was to avoid the situation (wise choice, as far as I’m concerned, and kudos to you for it!), I could no longer take that option, and so we avoided it in our own way.

    Despite all of the psychobabble surrounding the genetic predispositions of abuse and addictions, despite all the tendencies of abused kids becoming abusers, it all comes down to a fucking choice. Violence, like most things in life, is a choice. And anyone who says otherwise is a self-indulgent, irresponsible pussy to is too goddamn immature to own their behaviors. You choose not to be violent with your cats if they piss you off. *IF* you chose to have a child, and I completely respect that you don’t, you are a mature, strong woman. There is not way that you would abuse a child. You’re just too good for that bullshit, Minna. And I refuse to believe otherwise.

    You’re just too cool. =)

  2. And my apologies for the inordinate amount of typos in the above post. I am exhausted and my fingertips are numb, so my typing sucks like a Hoover. =)

  3. Kel, you are the third person to tell me a variant of your post above (though the first to actually post it to my blog).

    It’s difficult for me to see that I could have been anything other than abusive if I had had children. As I said in the entry, it wasn’t the primary reason I didn’t have kids (not wanting them was first, not wanting to bring them into this shitty world was two), but it certainly played a factor into my decision.

    Oh, and by abusive, I don’t necessarily mean physical. I know that every parent inflicts damage on his/her children. It’s part of life. I wasn’t prepared to do that.

    Thank you for your confidence that I wouldn’t have abused my imaginary children. Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that we are friends?

    P.S. Kudos to you and your hubby for realizing that you didn’t want to be your fathers. It takes strength, insight, and patience to change behavior and ideologies as deeply ingrained as those.

  4. I, too, have a really hot temper when pushed past my limit. One of the reasons I chose to not have my own kids was also because of the generational legacy of abuse in my family, and my wanting that line to be broken forever with me. All three of my sisters are also decidedly childless. Coincidence? I think not.

    Of course, this wasn’t the only reason I made this choice. It wasn’t even the main reason. The main reason was that I didn’t want kids of my own. Period. If I don’t want them, then I shouldn’t have them.

    But many people do want kids. And Kel, like you, they want them enough to push themselves to grow beyond the abusive legacy. For that, and for your dedication to your kids, I salute you! I admire the hell out of people who make the choice you did with eyes open.

  5. Choolie, I hear you. You actually said what I meant to say (and much more concisely). Because I really did not want children, it was easy for me to decide not to take on the onus of having them. For others who want them and have had less than ideal childhoods (to say the least), they have to make the much harder choice.