I don’t have any children, and I don’t know that they’re really in the cards for me. A long time ago I decided that parenting seemed like too much effort; in recent years, I’ve realized I can barely take care of myself, let alone another person. I have enough trouble assembling Ikea furniture so imagine how I feel about putting together a human from scratch.
I don’t receive pressure from family or friends as one would expect; no, I receive pressure from casual acquaintances and strangers. If I have to hear what a “special gift” parenting is from some random person one more time, I’m going to rip out my fallopian tubes and strangle them with it. I don’t consider being saddled with a lifelong commitment to someone who will take more than they give a special gift. If I wanted that, I’d get back together with my ex-boyfriend.
Let’s assume I could guarantee that I’d have awesome kids: they could throw lightning bolts, bring me snacks using only the power of their minds, and clean up after themselves without being asked. I still wouldn’t want them. Why? Well, I’m afraid of becoming one of those parents.
Everything always starts out normally in the beginning. The parents-to-be make their announcement, share a few ultrasound pictures, and toss around baby names with friends. Then things get weird. They make a Twitter account which streams real-time updates on their unborn child, and I receive notifications that Zygote McFetus has “checked in” to The Olive Garden on Yelp. I log in to Facebook to casually stalk friends of friends, but before I can really get into it I’m bombarded with Farmville requests from Ulysses the Uterine Peanut.
I also think most pregnant women are completely delusional when it comes to what’s actually happening to them. I asked a friend (who seemed to be pregnant for two years) how she was doing. “Oh, wonderful! I’ve never felt better. This truly is a miracle.” Oh, really? I don’t consider excessive flatulence, leaky breasts, and an alien entity kicking your insides a miracle. This is beside the fact that in a few weeks you’ll be squeezing a honey baked ham out of your moo moo. “I’ll take ‘Intact Vaginas’ for $500, Alex.”
Once the baby is born, something chemical happens which causes parents to believe that minivans are a good idea. I’m here to set the record straight and say that they are never, under any circumstances, a good idea. They are expensive, get terrible gas mileage, and completely kill your sex appeal. The only thing that could make driving a minivan more unattractive is if you’re doing it while wearing a sweater set, fanny pack, string of pearls and/or black socks with sandals.
At some point in the first two years after a baby is born parents go deaf. They can’t hear the shrill battle cries of a kid who is hell bent on making everyone in the general area miserable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a department store, restaurant, or airplane when a child is screaming in ways that make my soul hurt. I look over at the parents, and they’re always oblivious to the fact that their spawn is waging war on everyone else’s eardrums.
I see a lot of parents bargaining with their youngsters, and I have way too much self-respect to have a debate with a toddler. “Now little Johnny, if you stop pulling chunks of hair from my head I’ll let you have a cookie.” It never works, and pretty soon Little Johnny has a cookie, an extra hour of watching The Wiggles, and a Camaro. I’ve seen less negotiation during divorce proceedings, and I’ll be damned if I lose my beach house and painting collection to a 3-year-old.
Parents have a way of thinking that everything is a celebration with their children. I understand being excited when a baby starts crawling, or his/her first day of school as those are pretty big milestones. It’s when you’re getting an invitation to a party commemorating Little Billy’s first poop in the toilet that’s peculiar. I dropped several deuces last week and you don’t see me asking for fanfare.
Eventually these kids grow into lazy, moody, eternally hungry, defiant teenagers. They’re always bothered by the simplest of questions, and refuse to be seen in public with their parental units unless they’re getting something out of it. They make disparaging comments and are overly critical of everything their parent does/says/wears. Parents are absolutely okay with this; they chalk it up to a “phase” their kid is going through. In any other scenario this type of abusive relationship would be unacceptable, but special concessions are always made for our children.
Please do not misunderstand, I’m not judging parents; on the contrary, I don’t think they can help it. We live in a society that has not only conditioned us to believe that parenting is a cross we must all bear, but that we need to perform the hardest job in the world while wearing a smile.
I have a theory that all first-time parents in the first four years of their child’s life are one incident away from a total meltdown. It’s no wonder that people completely change when they become parents. They have to if they want to save their sanity.
You need to get excited about the lima bean growing in your belly. You need to rejoice when they finally stop shaving off their eyebrows when you’re not looking. You need to be appreciative when they’re talking back to you instead of getting some questionable girl pregnant.
I know I’d succumb to the same fate as the rest of these people. I’m under no false impression that I could do it better, and that’s precisely why I’ll let the meter expire on my ovaries. We’re talking about a person who avoids grocery stores with Girls Scouts outside because I cannot say no.
So what will I fill my time with in years to come? Deciding to have last minute adventures with my significant other, contemplating whether or not I should get bangs, sleeping in on the weekends, and sharing countless dinners with Mr. McFetus at the Olive Garden.