I can’t remember one moment of my life where I considered not having kids. Having children was my idea of my most fantastic dreams coming true. Motherhood isn’t all I wanted, but I did want to be a mom more than almost anything else. I married a guy who felt the same way. Parenthood was something he was certain he wanted to experience. Eight and a half years ago, we had a baby. Five years ago, we did it again. In the beginning of 2020, we did it one last time. Three children. Our dream family. The family-building part of our life is complete. Now we just raise them the rest of the way.
Recently, Seth Rogen created quite a buzz when he admitted to Howard Stern that he and his wife, Lauren Miller, are “fucking psyched” not to have kids.
“I don’t know anyone who gets as much happiness out of their kids as we get out of our non-kids,” he declared. “Like, we’re fucking psyched all the time! We’re laying in bed on Saturday mornings smoking weed, watching movies naked. If we had kids, we could not be fucking doing this.”
And every parent out there knows he’s right. My Saturday mornings often include movies, nudity, and weeds, but it’s usually The Secret Life of Pets, a naked preschooler who needs his butt wiped, and a mason jar full of wilted dandelions. Not quite exactly the same.
I wouldn’t trade my life for the world, and neither would Seth Rogen. It stands to reason that if I could be completely sure for my entire life that I DID want kids, someone could be just as certain that parenthood is certainly not for them. Some people know deep down in their souls that they do not want to raise children. That is a totally valid choice, and it’s really not cool for those of us who have or want children to attempt to negate that.
We absolutely have to stop pressuring people to have kids.
First of all, it’s rude AF.
Where the hell do we get off acting like we know what someone else wants better than they do? If a grown adult lets us know they’ve made a choice for their life, all we need to say is, “Okay!” People have every right to speak freely about their decision not to have children without suffering through our opinions on the matter.
We can never truly know why someone had decided not to have children.
Some people just don’t want them. Other people have family histories that make biological reproduction risky. And some people might have wanted children at one point but have since let the idea go, coming to peace with choosing a child-free life. Nobody owes us their entire life story, no matter how close we are. All we need to know is that kids aren’t on the table for some people. Period.
Pressuring people to have kids won’t change their minds.
What do we think we are going to accomplish when we make it weird? Do we think we will convince an adult human being to make a life-altering decision just because we say they should? Dismissive comments like, “Oh, you’ll change your mind!” don’t exactly open the door for a productive discussion. It’s just annoying.
We shouldn’t want to change their minds, even if we could.
Why would we want someone who isn’t totally sure they want one to have a child? Parenting is hard as fuck sometimes. Kids take so much more than they give, and that’s how it’s meant to be, but if there is no drive or desire inside you to raise a child, the emotional toll of doing it against your better judgment could lead to misery. It’s hard enough when it’s all you ever wanted. We need to remember that for some people, the beautiful parts are not enough to negate the really, really difficult parts.
It’s not material for your not-so-hilarious little jokes.
Seriously, if you want to irritate someone, start joking incessantly about something that’s none of your business. That should do it. When they see your baby, make sure you hand it to them and say, “Are you suuuuure you don’t want one?!” That will really turn the obnoxious dial up to 11.
In his interview with Howard Stern, Seth Rogen even mentioned that he was hesitant to admit that he didn’t want kids before.
It was uncomfortable for him to admit that the reason he is able to be so productive and create so prolifically is because he doesn’t have children.
But he is totally right. For a lot of people, not having kids frees up a lot of time and mental and emotional energy. I know if I didn’t have kids, I would have a totally different life. Not better or worse—but absolutely nothing like the life I live today.
Deciding whether or not to parent children is a deeply personal experience. People without children of their own can have meaningful relationships with children if they want to as aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, mentors and friends. They can experience the wonder of childhood all over again through the kids in their lives if that’s something they want to do. They don’t have to be parents to do it, and they shouldn’t have to defend that to us.
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