Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Children = Fulfillment in Life

I don't have children, but this is not a pet peeve of mine.  I love children, go out of my way to see my beloved nephews and nieces, and spend everyday with 100 first graders that are awesome, but this is not a pet peeve of mine either. 
The pet peeve comes in when I am asked if I have children, reminded that I should have children, and, above all, am given that look that says "Oh, I feel so sorry for you, you will never know fulfillment in life if you don't have any children." 
One of the greatest things about spending your days with children is coming home to house without children.  One of the greatest joys of hanging out with your nephews is that you can always just have fun.  You don't have to clean up after them, be the target of their anger and disappointment (which children always shoot at their parents at some point), and you will never have to loan them your car.
I feel like I am "fulfilled," "complete," my cup runneth over, etc, etc.  I know that once you have a husband, a house, and a pet that you are supposed to have children, but...
I would like to bring in a little outside evidence on this peeve.  I am quoting from an article titled 'The Myth of Joyful Parenting: The Ultimate Cognitive Dissonance?' by author Wray Herbert.

Study after study has shown that parents, compared to adults without kids, experience lower emotional well-being -- fewer positive feelings and more negative ones -- and have unhappier marriages and suffer more from depression. Yet many of these same parents continue to insist that their children are an essential source of happiness -- indeed that a life without children is a life unfulfilled.
...Psychological scientists at the University of Waterloo...suspect that the belief in parental happiness is a psychological defense -- a fiction we imagine to make all the hard stuff acceptable. In other words, we parents have collectively created the myth of parental joy because otherwise we would have a hard time justifying the huge investment that kids require.

Quoting someone smarter than me just seems to beef up my pet peeve.  I say Go For It on having kids.  Somebody's gotta do it.  But I also say don't pretend to me that it is all unicorns and rainbows, because I know the truth.  I choose not to have children.  I would also like to live free from the condesending insuation that I am, because of this, operating at a lower level of existance.

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