Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Do I have to Keep Explaining This?

Warning: this post comes dangerously close to just ranting, FYI.  OK.  Carry on.  You've been warned.

Let's just take a little trip down imagination lane, shall we? 

Leauxra has two children, a boy and a girl.  The girl is older by three years, and is named Crayola Pavlov. The boy is named Vladimir Pavlov.

Let's just picture them both as gingers, because my mom has red hair, and it could totally happen.  Also, I dyed my hair red recently, and I'm pretty sure if I had kids when I had red hair, the kids would be redheads.  That's how it works, right?


Vladimir Pavlov and Crayola Pavlov- my kids.

Crayola and Vlad would be bright children, but they would be around me all the time.

Just let that sink in for a moment.


Got it in your head?

I imagined up these kids when I was a teenager.  Somehow, it scared no one.

The reason I would give both of them the middle name of Pavlov is because I would most certainly condition them to respond to bells and whistles.  For the rest of their lives, they would have an overwhelming urge to pee, eat, or sleep if they hear a certain sound.  

I would homeschool them, and not teach them how to count in decimal... they would learn binary, and when they're ready, hexadecimal.  Really.  It's the computer age, and we're still counting on fingers and toes? Screw that.

I would make up an alphabet, as well as history.  It would make their lives more interesting.

I would also make sure that they are afraid of the light.

Just because... reasons.  I WOULD HAVE THE POWER!



Every few months, I get the question.

No, the question is not:
Why don't you play more Dungeons and Dragons?

No, the question is not:
When are you two lovebirds going to get married?

No, the question is not:
Are you a professional writer/artist/anything that doesn't involve a cubicle yet?

While annoying and humiliating, these are not the question.

The question goes something like this:

(Probably a)Well-meaning person: "So!  Do you have any kids?"

Me: "No."

Well-meaning person: "Awww... are your cats your babies?"

Me: "... No."

Well-meaning person: "Ha ha ha, well, you're young, you have time."

Me: "No, I am not having children. And I'm thirty-six."

Well-meaning person: "Well, that's not too old! My daughter in law had her first when she was thirty eight!"

Me: "I don't want kids."

Well-meaning person: "You'll change your mind."

Me:  "I don't think so."

Well-meaning person: "What's wrong with kids?"

Me: "Nothing, kids are fun.  I just don't want my own."

Well-meaning person (tapping the side of her nose meaningfully):  "You never know what's in store for you."

Me: "I know it doesn't involve spawning."

Well-meaning person: "You don't have to get sarcastic!  I know children are hard, but the rewards are endless!"

Me: "Sarcasm is a genetic trait.  And really. I. Don't. Want. Kids."

Well-meaning person: "Well, I really think that every woman should have at least one child."

Me:  "I don't."

Well-meaning person: "The Lord works in mysterious ways!"

Me: "I wonder if I can get this fork all the way through your eyeball and into your brain..."

Well-meaning person: "Ha ha ha.  Well.  You'll never know love until you do."

Me: "Until I stab you in the eye?"

Well-meaning person: "Have kids."

Me: "Which I won't."

Well-meaning person: (looks at me knowingly)

Me: (stabs well meaning person with fork, as promised).

Kids are fun.  They're great.  I like kids.  I just don't want to take them home with me.

Fine.  Endless rewards.  Fine.  Finally knowing true love.  Fine.  Great.  Why does this even matter to you?

My desire to remain mini-me-free is not a judgement on you, your choices, your children, or anyone else's beliefs.

But?  This conversation happens at family gatherings.  At work.  Pretty much... everywhere outside of a small group of friends.

I owe no one an explanation.  And really, how the fuck is it anyone's business but my own whether or not I wish to pass my genetic material on to the next generation?

One day, my mom, my paternal grandmother, and I were sitting around the kitchen table shooting the shit one afternoon and drinking daquaries (grandmama loooves her mixed drinks).  I had pretty much trained my mother to stop asking the inevitable "when you havin' kids" question, since I had reacted sullenly, angrily, sillily, snottily, and violently since about age twelve to this particular line of questioning.

But... as things go, somehow the possibility of future great grandchildren came up.

I looked back and forth between the two of them, trying to decide if I should just leave, leave with the pitcher of booze, or what, when it finally occurred to me how I should answer.

"Hey Mom," I said.


"Remember when I went away to college, and left the cats here?" I asked.

"Ummm.." she said.

"It wasn't that I didn't love and care about my cats.  They were awesome."


"I just couldn't take them with me."


"So," I said, "I can have kids.  That's fine.  Just don't be too surprised if I have to leave them here at some point so I can move on.  You wouldn't mind raising them, would you?"

Mom and Grandma stared at me, Grandma's mouth slightly agape.

"You know, Leauxra," said Mom, "You would probably be a good mother, but you shouldn't have kids if you don't want them."

I smiled.  "Thanks."


Crystal said...

Nothing is more horrible than people constantly questioning your choices! Good for you not caving to the pressure. :)

We have one. Yes, we love him. But that doesn't mean every woman in the world should be forced to have one whether she wants or not! Just like we shouldn't have to cut his hair to make other people happy, put him in public school to make others happy, or eat more beef because someone said so.

You just do what you can to make yourself happy. So far I'm finding that no matter what, someone is going to be annoying about it. Can I borrow the fork in the eye thing for the next time someone tells me I need another one, calls him a girl, or tells me I'm a bad mom because we don't eat fast food?

Anonymous said...

People always ask me about the kid thing, or when my bf and I are going to get married. I hate having to explain that I don't necessarily want either of these to happen, so I just say no- and then get the condescending "someday..." response.
Freedom... I'm much less willing to give this up as I get older. The situation would have to be perfect for me to consider it.

LeeAnn said...

If this post were a reddit one, I couldn't upvote it enough. I'd invent multitudes of imaginary people just so I could upvote the everlovin' shit out of it.

Leauxra said...

Crystal: Yes! Exactly! It's like the working mom versus the stay at home mom crap I see all the time. Stop being a Nosey Nancy and mind your own business!

And I fully support your lack of fast food (yuck!), and the long hair. People should get our of your business!

Wynopants: Tell them you had a kid once and it was delicious with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. For real, WHY DO THEY CARE?

LeeAnn: Aww, shit yeah. Now I get imaginary Reddit fame! You rock!

Keith said...

I am happily child free after many years of marriage. More than 10,000 days, less than 30 years. My line is that kids are great, especially when they go home especially their parents. The very few times I've had anyone try those lines on me, a repressive glare works very well, and only once have I had to use the line "so, what financial guarantees, in writing, are you prepared to make about this happiness and love you say I'll have. We can go visit my lawyer any time."

You don't mention if well-meaning-person is male or female. I suppose it doesn't matter, but I've never heard of a guy being that nosey about it.

Anonymous said...

I think you are being very generous about that "well-meaning" part. Seriously.

Next time just tell them you're barren. Maybe that will shut their pie holes. Nosey assholes.

If you don't wanna have kids, you don't wanna have kids. I wish more people would examine whether that is a good option for them, before popping out tikes that they then abuse/neglect/ruin/kill. Not that I think you would do any of those things, of course, but I appreciate your decision that it's not right for you.

I think the comeback to your mom was brilliant.

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

As someone that has kids and wouldn't trade them for the world but also knows that I could have had just as happy and fulfilling life if I had never had them I've learned that you should always leave with the pitcher of booze.

Leauxra said...

Keith: Generally female, but there are at least a few men who have brought it up... usually new fathers, and one ex-boyfriend... he's the one that told me every woman should have a child.

I told him I'd rather have kittens.

And congratulations on 30 years! That's freaking awesome! My parents recently celebrated their 40th, so I have pretty high standards for a life mate. :)

Misty: I figured some people might just be that self centered... like when I say I don't like eating pigs or cows because I've met some cool pigs or cows and it isn't in me to eat them anymore. They seem to think I am somehow making a statement about THEM when I am talking about ME.

And I'm totally using that at work on my boss when she asks. "SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE, WOMAN!" Hahahaha.

Christian: Pitchers of boozes will solve most of life's problems. And cause them. It's like the cycle of life. Only with booze.

StephanieC said...

Another little smidgen left out of "well meaning"'s rant: the pregnancy part alone is hell, and there are NO pitchers of booze allowed.

It's kind of horrible.

People are assholes. Everyone thinks they know best. The difference is whether or not you are SEEKING other perspectives, or if you want them to just shut the hell up. I wish people could detect which one is which, much faster.

I was of the mindset that if we got pregnant, we'd deal with it and find happiness. If it never happened, we would still be happy with each other in life.

Already people are telling me what to do and not to do. That we were wrong to find out the sex.


And the concept of NOT being able to hand this kid back over to a (different set of) parents KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT.

MakingSpace said...

Very well done. Heh.

Stephanie said...

Oh god, I hate those conversations. I want(ed) kids, just can't have 'em. Three years of trying, and to be honest - the longer I go the closer I am to thinking that it might be for the best. I LIKE my life, thank you very much. At least I have an answer that shuts people up: I can tell them that I've battled infertility and miscarriage for three years. Infertility doesn't phase some people...they'll just go right on with their helpful advice. But miscarriage usually scares their mouths shut with a bang. Ha!

I like this website a lot: http://thenotmom.com/

Also...some people seem to think that not having kids makes a person selfish. I do not understand that at all. I think it's much more selfish to make having kids by default without thinking about it, just because it's "the thing you do next".

StephanieC said...

^ Well said Stephanie.

Anonymous said...

I dealt with this for years too. I'm now 56 and so this BS has been over for some time now. I truly believe that some people are threatened by those of us who choose not to multiply. That's the feeling I've always gotten anyway. It is annoying hearing someone tell me "you'd make such a good mother." HOW could they know this when I have such huge doubts myself.

Anyways, I feel you. NEOCLEO

Anonymous said...

I totally understand how frustrating these conversations are! I'm only 29, so I suspect I will be having them for years to come. In my early 20s, I trully thought I would be changing my mind about having babies and a few years ago decided that I wanted to have my mind made up one way or the other by the time I was 30. Well... 2 1/2 months until my 30th birthday and I'm still not having the maternal urge.

If there ends up being an "oops" situation, it happens and we will manage just fine and be good parents. But we are taking precautions to prevent it!

I have a couple of friends that decided not to have kids and they are STILL happy as they are in their late 30s/early 40s, so that helps reassure me in my decision.

Anonymous said...

I totally understand how frustrating these conversations are! I'm only 29, so I suspect I will be having them for years to come. In my early 20s, I trully thought I would be changing my mind about having babies and a few years ago decided that I wanted to have my mind made up one way or the other by the time I was 30. Well... 2 1/2 months until my 30th birthday and I'm still not having the maternal urge.

If there ends up being an "oops" situation, it happens and we will manage just fine and be good parents. But we are taking precautions to prevent it!

I have a couple of friends that decided not to have kids and they are STILL happy as they are in their late 30s/early 40s, so that helps reassure me in my decision.

Anonymous said...

Love the response! There is nothing wrong with not wanting kids, and I applaud those that decide it's just not for them. While I love my own kid to death, being a parent is super effing hard a lot of the time, and if I hadn't been completely sure I wanted and was ready for parenting, it would suck big time. If someone's ambivalent, dude. Just say no.

If it makes you feel better, even if you have kids, the nosy folks still get all up in your business. If you only have one (our situation- one and DONE baby!)they start asking when you're having another (12th of Never was my general response) and if you're not, you're judged as some horrible person for raising a spoiled child. If you have more than two, people start questioning when you're going to stop, how can you afford it, how do they all get their own time, etc. etc. I think the "Well-Meaning Person" is a myth. They're just a judgmental bitty wanting to stick their nose in everyone else's business. Blech.

Wow. That was ranty. Sorry about that.

Rebeka said...

I feel your pain as my best friend of 25+ years feels exactly the same way about children as you and I've seen her go through all the same line of questioning you have. She has felt that way FOREVER and 25+ years later she STILL feels the same way even though everyone swore up and down she would one day change her mind.

I respect that you know what you want (or in this case DON'T want) rather than being irresponsible and having children, then not taking care of them or leaving them somewhere (as you stated). You are doing the most responsible, mature thing to do.

I really can't stand when people do this to other women, family or not. People just need to STFU and mind their own business. I have kids, but even so, sometimes I'd like to drop them off somewhere and leave myself, if you know what I mean. :|

Izzy Mason said...

Freaking best answer ever!

thoughtsappear said...

Nice response!

bevchen said...

I WISH I didn't want kids. It would make me life sooo much easier.

People need to learn to mind your own business! Not everybody has to reproduce. A friend of mine (who REALLY) doesn't want children told me the other day that I'm more interesting without kids. All the people she knows who are parents turned boring once the offspring came along.

Jocelyn said...

1) I am moved by the thoughtful words of Anonymous above. "God Bless you man," indeed. That's exactly what I was going to type, too, only Anonymous took it first;

2) I'm pretty sure I could hang with your grandma;

3) I'm glad your mom got the point. Now, if only the rest of the world could stop caring about your choices and uterus;

4) I have huge respect for people who choose not to have kids, as that's an indication that they've actually thought about the issue and didn't just "fall into" their existences, as so many "whoops, I got pregnant" folks do.

Brooke said...

Agree. We get "the question" quite often as well. Our friends don't ask any more. Our parents have backed off some (although my dad will lay his hand on my head and say "I will you triplets" more often than I'd like). But I don't get it from strangers as much as I used to. Kids just aren't on the to do list.

(When people reply, "Well not everyone's meant to have children," I want to punch them in the face - go say that to a couple that's sticking needles in themselves and taking hormones to have their own child. It's almost as if they don't know how to respond to such a matter-of-fact resolution.)

It's annoying, but I do believe most people offer their opinions and ask with sincerity. I have no doubt that having a child is life changing and fabulous - but if you like your life the way it is, keep doing what you're doing. Keep blowing their mind with odd replies like "population control" or my favorite "you can keep having babies; I like the idea of having social security when I'm older."