The Point of Having Kids

This morning I was messing around on Facebook when I came across and article by columnist, Paula Dvorak, entitled ‘What is the point of having kids if your life ends when theirs begins?’  The title was a quote from a man who had recently written her for parenting advice. 

Like debating the existence of God , it used to be that saying anything negative about your kids was a huge taboo. Kids were a gift, a joy, a blessing. Only secretly, after a few glasses of Merlot, was it ok to admit that there was nothing cute about colic.

At some point in the time that I have been a parent it became ok to be honest. Yes having a toddler throw Cheerios at you and say "You are a bad mommy?" can be a bit trying. Yes it is hard to be functional at work when you were up at 3am cleaning puke off your sick child's sheets. This camaraderie between frustrated parents was wonderfully liberating. You hate your kid sometimes? Me too! 

Unfortunately this new found freedom of speech eventually led to something else, obnoxious, selfish whining. And if you read my previous post you know how I feel about whiners.

Who are these people whose "lives ended" when they had kids? Twenty-five year olds who were used to hitting the club every night and staggering home drunk at 4am? Uber-wealthy world travelers who spent every weekend on a different tropical island? Yes these people's lives could not survive becoming parents. I do not know any of these people. Everyone I know has a job, a normal social life of dinners with friends, takes the occasional vacation. Some of these people now have kids and they still have a job, still go out to dinners with friends, still sip tequila on a beach in Mexico. Only now they sometimes hire a babysitter. Or they occasionally have to stop talking to their buddy for five minutes to hand their kid a crayon.  Are their lives harder? Sure. Boo hoo.

Don't get me wrong, bitching about how awful your kids are is a necessary part of being a parent. We need it to remain sane. (Just listen to Louis CK)  During my short time as a mom Maya went through all kinds of horrible phases that I will not get into but that every parent can sympathize with. There were tears (mine) and frustration. There were even (gasp!) a few moments when I wished I had not had a baby. And I am sure there is only more stress to come. (Parents of teenagers feel free to nod your heads knowingly)

And yet....

I am not going to spout a bunch of cliches about the joys of nursing or the feeling you get when your child runs to you at school pickup time. They are all true. So if you despise children and are choosing to not become a parent, good for you. At least you were honest enough to make this choice rather than bring a miserable child into the world just because you are "supposed to". But if you are reluctant to breed because you believe your "life will end" you need a new reason. This notion is quite simply, bullshit. 

The point of having kids is that you want something in your life other than yourself, or the small family of you and your spouse. The point of having kids is that a person's life is something fluid, adaptable, and subject to their own control. If you have any ounce of creativity, you can manage to juggle being a parent and everything else in your world. President Obama has kids. In fact, every president for at least the past 20 years, probably longer, has had kids. What fragile and immovable existence do you have that it can be destroyed by the addition of a tiny child?