Children

I read this post by Chris Snowdon over at Velvet Glove, Iron Fist on Monday.

He’s only gone and had a baby! I wish his family well.

But that isn’t the reason I’m here. In his post he made a comical reference to The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. I had to click the link and have a look because I was intrigued.

Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth’s biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.

I’m not particularly interested in a group of people who want humans to become extinct, I prefer the Star Trek vision of the future than everybody dying out to save the planet.

What did make me stick around the site for a while and read further was the knowledge that there are other people out there, like myself and Mrs Bucko, who have made an informed choice not to have children, because so far I have met none. Not one.

Sure I have friends that don’t have children. Two couples to be precise and for both of them it’s medical reasons. My sister and brother in law also have no kids because they are not ready yet. They will be one day.

My circle of family and friends is not all that big but it still does not include one person who does not have or want kids. It the same at work. They all have or intend to have nippers at some point.

I get teased a lot off my friends about not wanting children. Mrs Bucko is actually very good with kids. Other peoples kids. And for that reason, everybody expects that she will want some of her own. She doesn’t.

Our reasons are different. Hers are because she doesn’t want to bring a child into our world She doesn’t believe it’s a nice place and she doesn’t think that will change significantly with the life time of any child we may have.

My reasons are purely selfish. Life is short and our earning capabilities are limited. I want our time and money to be spent on things we want to do rather than devoting a quarter of it to raising a child or ten.

We talked long and hard about it and made the decision before we got married.

The ribbing of my friends I can deal with. They get as much as they give. That’s what friends do, it’s the attitude of society at large that pisses me off.

Society seems to view having children as a given. People simply cannot understand it when we say we don’t want children. I’ve worked with the public for many years in the pub trade and I’ve had the discussion with many of them, all to the same ends.

Children come up in conversation, I say we have chosen not to have any and jaws drop. Most people don’t see not having kids as an option. The conversations usually begin with, “When you have children….” Not if?

People seem to go through a cycle of denial when discussing our choice not to breed. First they get jokey, they think we are not serious. We get a lot of, “You will change your mind in time”. “You will want them one day”.

After trying to convince them by stating our reasons, their mood changes and they become slightly angry, particularly those that already have kids rather than just want them.

I often get the impression that they never realised having children was an option and not a requirement. That the people I talk to had children without ever really giving it a moments thought, it was just something they did, as they imagine everybody does. I see them searching within themselves and asking what if?

This is the point where they jump out of their reverie and state firmly that they would never look back and they would do it all again given the choice. They even appear a little guilty that they took a moment to think about it.

Eventually, after spending an average of fifteen minutes trying unsuccessfully to convince me that I am wrong and I do want kids they dismiss the whole conversation by telling me firmly that I will have kids and changing the subject, or even walking off.

One reason often stated to change my mind is that when we get old we will need companionship / care. I dismiss that as a selfish reason for having children if you’re only doing it to have someone care for you in later life. Nevertheless I’ve also been called selfish for not wanting children. As though I am denying a future child the right to life. If that were in any way true we would all have to give up the contraception and have a child for every time we had sex.

I’ve had these conversations more times than I can possibly remember.

I did briefly tell this story in the comments on one of Longriders posts a long while ago. Other commenters popped up and said they don’t have children and haven’t experienced a reaction similar to mine. Still I’ve yet to meet a single person who agrees with me.

To anyone who doesn’t have children yet, please think hard about it before you do. Don’t do it because it is what you think society expects, don’t do it because your parents want grandchildren, and don’t just do it. Think about it. If you have children, do it because it is what you want to do.

I’m sure people reading this post will either wonder what all the fuss is about or come up with some new and ingenious reason why I should actually be having children.

Either way, thank’s to Chris Snowdon having a baby, I now know I’m not alone in the Universe. Health and long life to him and his family and good luck to the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

37 comments for “Children

  1. Stravagantisimo
    August 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    The world would undoubtedly be a better place if all narcissists refrained from having children.

  2. August 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Mrs L and I are childfree by choice. As we are now into our fifties, people have realised that we meant it when we said never. Do we have any regrets? No.

    • August 19, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      We are in our thirties and have been married for ten years. My feelings about children have never changed the slightest bit over time.
      In fact, when I see other happy couples with children I tend to get a little feeling of releif.

  3. August 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Weird.

    It’s never bothered me if some people don’t have kids and I didn’t realise that there was a prejudice against people who don’t want (or indeed don’t like) children.

    I know plenty of childless people (an inferile bunch, tax accountants, if truth be told) and they don’t bug me (I have had four) and I don’t bug them about it.

    It’s a free world, isn’t it?

    • August 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Some people do get worked up about it. They see it as some sort of duty and that we are selfish for not procreating.

      When we first married, there were the usual comments about tiny feet and all that. We put a stop to it pretty much immediately by stating that there would be no tiny feet, so please don’t bring the subject up again, thanks.

      • August 19, 2011 at 4:35 pm

        They do see it as a duty and they seem to think you are skirting that duty for selfish reasons when you choose not to have kids. I do think a lot of those that get worked up about it never really thought before they had children – they never realised the option to opt out was there.

        • August 20, 2011 at 8:53 am

          But you said:

          “My reasons are purely selfish.”

          They appear to be agreeing with you.

          • August 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

            For different reasons. They think I’m a bad person. I Don’t.

    • August 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      It is indeed a free world.
      Reading some of the articles about pubs deciding to ban children, I’ve noticed that there is a new word for childless couples – DINKS. It stands for Dual Income, No Kids. I’ve only seen it used as a derogatory term so far and it seems to imply that if you don’t have children you have no business commenting about children as you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.
      I’ve never been to the moon but I know it aint made of cheese.

      Come to think about it, I don’t know any tax accountants either. Maybe if I hadn’t failed my AAT and changed my career to the pub trade….

      • August 19, 2011 at 4:39 pm

        I’ve never been to the moon but I know it aint made of cheese.

        Oh? Not a cracking piece of Wensleydale, then?

        • August 19, 2011 at 4:55 pm

          ‘fraid not :mrgreen:

      • August 20, 2011 at 9:11 am

        That’s a new variant of an older term: DINKYs. Arguably more derogatory because the Y stands for ‘Yet’. We’ve been called DINKYs more than once and the Y bit particularly annoys Mrs Exile. I just point out that the dog and the cats won’t be wanting us to pay for uni or ask to borrow the car.

        • August 20, 2011 at 9:39 am

          There’s an interesting theme developing here. A significant number of folk here are childfree by choice. Are there other correlations, I wonder?

          • August 20, 2011 at 9:53 am

            Interesting. A significant number of people here have chosen not to have kids and they are mainly libertarian in their thinking.
            Is that what you are getting at?
            A significant number of people here also have cats. I know AE has pointed out that a lot of bloggers have cats in the past.
            We should do a study if there’s funding available πŸ˜‰

          • August 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

            Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking. There is a definite theme here. Cats and no kids. There’s got to be something in it. I agree. We need funding. Lots of it.

          • rob
            August 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm

            Funny that. We decided before we got married not to have kids and not let ourselves be sucked by proxy into the hands of even more jobsworths and the righteous breeder managers. 12 years later and Mrs rob looks at all her boomer friends with their teenage daughters and she is happy. With teenagers comes much gnashing of teeth and wailing and renting and pulling of hair and reliance on others to pay for your mistakes etc. Mrs rob looks much younger than her broody counterparts too (no wizard sleeves in our house – smug grin). Cats? Yep two. Dog? 1. And you’d never guess we’re fiercely Libertarian too?

            Evolution? Sometimes we are sure we’re an entirely different species! lol

  4. August 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I decided in my late teens that I would never have children since I knew that I would be a useless Dad, and I was right.

    • August 19, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      That never factored into my choice but it is undoubtedly true for myself also.
      People always think of tiny, cute babies when they talk about being a parent. I think about teenagers.
      Coming home from a hard day at work and having to start a completely different type of hard work:
      “Turn that playstation off!”
      “Get out of my arse groove!”
      “Pick those trainers up!”
      “Turn that nigger music off!”

      That’s definately not the life for me.

      • August 19, 2011 at 4:40 pm

        Then there’s the university fees, the taxi service and the banking service πŸ˜‰

        • August 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm

          And the washing, ironing…

      • rob
        August 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm

        We’re the same. My wife says and does all the correct socially acceptable things when in the presence of a baby. Quietly she whispers to the proud Father that one day the little bundle of joy will be 16, horny, and know everything – and want everything. Invariably this is returned with a knowing look and a slump in the shoulders. Once minimal social requirements are satisfied we beat our retreat….happy that our teenage dog and cats will never own a stereo or 2-stroke scooter. πŸ˜†

    • August 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      My parents have always said that I would make a good dad because I suffer no nonsense from anyone. They think any kids I might have had would have been well brought up. They may have a point. We will never know.

  5. August 20, 2011 at 9:37 am

    My wife and I have made the informed choice not to have kids for two key reasons: firstly, the world is heading to hell in a handcart and I sometimes think it is almost an act of cruelty to bring kids into it. Secondly, kids are really boring. They spend the first two years bawling and craping themselves, the next few years learning all the basics of life that you have known about for decades, and then they turn into uncommunicative, sulky teenagers who utterly resent you. It must be a relief at the age of eighteen when they leave home. Frankly, I have better things to do with the next 18 years of my life.

    And yeah, there is prejuidice against those of us who choose not to breed. But there also seems to be a lot of incredulity when I say “nope, we’re not going to have kids”. Many people do not even question the fact that they will one day breed; it is just a given that they never stop to question. Which seems to me to be utterly surreal, but then again I know I am very much in the minority on this one.

    TNL

    • August 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

      We are the minority given that breeding is the norm. It has to be for the procreation of the species. These days no one even questions us. We are obviously beyond that point where it’s an issue.

    • August 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

      We are certainly the minority, but after reading these comments I can see that there are a lot more people who have made that choice than I first thought.
      Personally I dont care if most people have kids, I’ll liely be dead before the population destroys the planet of anything. I just wish they would STFU and stop trying to interfere in our choice.

      • August 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm

        “I just wish they would STFU and stop trying to interfere in our choice.”

        Seconded.

      • rob
        August 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm

        Thirded

  6. David A. Evans.
    August 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    The only problem I have with your choice is that you are probably exactly the sort of person who should have kids.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not berating your choice, just saying. 😈

    • August 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      i’ll take that as a compliment, thank you. And I’ll add this.

      Maybe the people who should be having kids are those who have thought long and hard about it first. Some won’t, most will. The population won’t die out but at least there would be a lot less folk living off benefits and not giving their children a proper life.

      • David A. Evans.
        August 20, 2011 at 7:59 pm

        Glad you took it as meant. πŸ˜€

        • August 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm

          πŸ˜€

    • gladiolys
      August 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

      It’s a bit like those who seek power and those who don’t, really.

  7. tipple
    August 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Well that’s liberty knackered then!

    As a parent & a cat owner I’m not quite sure where I stand on this one? People want to pass some semblance of their thinking(wisdom) on to future generations & if you want to see those wishes come true the best way to do that is by having children, to foster or nuture those ideals. I’m not talking brainwashing but I hope my daughter & my cat will learn something from me & pass that message on, use that in life.

    • David A. Evans.
      August 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      I neither condone nor condemn Mr & Mrs Bucko, (is that politically incorrect? If so tough shit!) for their decision.
      I don’t agree with it, particularly Mrs Buckos opinion of the World. (It’s ALWAYS been a shithole, we just hear more about it today!)
      It IS hard to fight the brainwashing of the schools though. Who has the time for that? I do my little bit, posting stuff in my window & get enquiries like, “so we’re not all gonna die?” to which the obvious answer is, “Yes, but not from Global warming!”

      • August 20, 2011 at 11:56 pm

        The world may have always been shit but that doesn’t invalidate the arguement.

        We live in the time we do and the world is shit. If we had been born 100 or 1000 years ago, the arguement would still stand because the world would still be shit.

        Now if we were born in Captain Kirks time, maybe we would think differently.

    • August 20, 2011 at 11:53 pm

      Why would liberty be knackered? Because we are not having children?
      It’s just as likely that we would raise our kids to be libertarians and they would go off to college and become raving socailists. Teenagers often rebel against their parents so why wouldn’t mine pick a totally different track to mine in an effort to prove that my politics are wrong?

      I try to pass on the ethos where it will be listened to, in my blog for example. It’s much easier than raising a child, just to create some kind of libertarian meme in society. And it gives me more time to do it.

      As my cat goes, all she is learning is how to live the easy life πŸ˜€

      • David A. Evans
        August 21, 2011 at 6:55 am

        “Teenagers often rebel against their parents so why wouldn’t mine pick a totally different track to mine in an effort to prove that my politics are wrong?”
        Then, (with luck,) they grow up! πŸ˜‰

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