This one is for all you negative nellies out there. And you youngsters too. (I know, I’m not that old myself, but bear with me, please.)
Don’t dismiss an entire concept outright just because someone else has trouble with elements of it.
What on earth did I just say? Let me simplify: When someone is having trouble related to their significant other; don’t immediately say, ‘This is why I’m never getting married.’ First of all, you don’t know that, no matter how old you are. If you’re divorced, I can understand that you’re a little scorned on the subject, but if you’ve never been married, you can’t possibly know enough about it to just dismiss it like that. This goes double if you’re young, because young people – myself included – have a tendency to generalize and simplify most things. Never getting married, never having kids, never doing this or that. Yes, you are, my dear. Not because it’s the grown-up thing to do, but because someday you might actually want to.
Since I just had a kid, my colleagues keep mocking me about a minivan or a station wagon, because that’s the next logical step in my ‘domestication’. Sure, my colleagues are assholes, but that’s beside the point: I can’t tell them that I’ll never, ever buy one, because one day it might be the most practical thing for me. (That said, it ain’t that fucking hard to have kids without a damn minivan, so chill out, please!)
I’ll use the kid as an example for a little while longer. Lately, of course, there’s been a lot of talk about children and their impact on our lives. Since I’m a very recent father, everyone feels the need to share their tales of woe with me. (Did I mention my colleagues are assholes?) And I can understand that. It’s sort of an initiation process for new parents, newlyweds and new homeowners. ‘Welcome to the club, it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.’ But I’ve noticed that the people laughing hardest when someone offer their condolences on my marriage or wish me luck on my new sleepless life (because kids, amirite?), are the younger ones. The ones with actual scorn in their eyes are the ones my age, who aren’t married yet, or who doesn’t have kids. And then come the star comments: ‘I’m SO glad I’m not married. I’m never having kids.’ Bitch, you’re 25 and single, you have no idea what you’ll want in another five years. And what about me, huh? Do you really think I got married and had kids against my will?! No! I did it because I love my wife and wanted to honor that in a totally awesome way. (I don’t regret it for a second!)
I’m not thrilled by it, but the people who are in the same boat as me can get away with this, because they never express regret. When someone says ‘Marriage, huh?’ That’s just a (silly) way of making conversation. We have that in common; we’re married, and it ain’t always rainbows and sunshine. The same goes triple with kids. They’re adorable (yes they are!), but they’re also tiny pricks who cry, shit and puke every which way. And people who have kids know this; they know both the good parts and the bad. And they’re not telling me all this because they regret ever having children, but because sharing is caring . . . or something. This is infinitely more positive than saying, ‘Yuck! I’m never having kids.’ Or ‘why did you get married anyway? I’d rather just be free and control my own life.’ The same goes with home-ownership. If I mention a tiny dispute with my neighbors, some young buck who rents a piece of shit flat in the center of town will immediately comment that he’s never ever going to buy a house, because that’s just too much work. Even though my dispute is solved, and I love my adorable little house, with my wife and my kid inside.
In short, stop being so god damn negative and never say never. Wives are cool, children are adorable and my house is fucking awesome! Fight me!
– Robert ‘married with children’ Bishop
That is a nice post. Again! 🙂 And again, you take up a topic I myself often brood about. However, I like to add a thought. Buying a house, or getting married is not for good. You can sell your house, and rent a flat again, or even by a caravan and live anywhere. Nobody gets hurt. For the marriage part, it is possible to get divorced, and somebody might get hurt, but only for a time, and then life goes on. However, getting a kid is different. Getting a kid is forever! You will always stay a parent, even if your kids have moved out. So, therefore, when somebody says he/she never wants kids, I respect that! Having kids is intensively life changing. Personally, it is the most radical thing I have done to my life so far.
Even further, I do not only respect that a person says he/she doesn’t want kids, I even suggest to those that they better don’t get some. Because, if you are not really into it from the beginning, I would say you better do not try at all. It is the best for all involved, especially for the not-born-kid! (There are examples of people who did not want kids, and then became great parents anyway, so this issue is not all black and white.)
Personally, I wanted to have six kids. Now I have three, and if you ask me now, I will answer: “There is no way I get another one of this annoying little nerve-racking monsters… what did I just write? Oh, yes, I mean, of course, sweet little soft gorgeous human beings!” 😛
There is a really nice article about a family with six boys traveling the world. You should read it. They are my idols! Partly, we have done some kind of easy version of that, when we travelled two months with back-packs and a half year old baby through Australia. Most. Amazing. Time. Of. My. Life. And that was with a kid! 🙂
Look here: that article about that family with six boys: http://www.aftenposten.no/reise/Reiser-jorden-rundt-i-ett-ar—med-seks-sma-sonner-pa-slep-547195_1.snd
Hey! Just casually replying over a month late! (I have a child now, you know, so I can’t spend all my day commenting… 😉 )
I agree 100% with your sentiment. I know several people who has either given up on having kids, or just decided against it, and I respect the hell out of them. The issue though, is that NONE of those people comment when we’re talking about kids. Because they’ve made their choices, and are content to let others make their own. Many of the people I’m describing are young and single people in their twenties, claiming that your life is more or less over when you have kids. And in a way, your old life is . . . it changes everything drastically, but it’s still a pretty dick move to say something like that to someone who’s expecting children or getting married. ESPECIALLY considering how it’s always perceived to be what the wife wants, and that I have no say in it. Now, maybe . . . just MAYBE I say this because I recognize myself in some of their childish statements, and I KNOW that many of them will eventually follow in my footsteps. (And receive nothing but kind words from me . . .)
I never wanted kids myself, but life gets empty without them, eventually. I hope we have the energy and strength to do fun stuff like that as well. I love seeing how much time you guys spend together, and how happy your kids seem. We might just kick our own over the hedge some time, to teach him how to play well with others. 🙂