I have not reproduced. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing but it has worked for me thus far. When discussing my lack of sowing my seed someone inevitably makes the old joke ‘well no kids that you know of’. And that is true. If I am going to be precise, I have no children that I know about but I have to believe with each year that passes, the chance of a knock on the door from some fully-grown curious young adult carrying a big bag of neurotic crazed characteristics, an awkward ear for bad music, a near compulsive constant craving for bacon and the nick-name Lil’ Bastard seeking info about a famously dorky birth Pappy gets slimmer and slimmer.
While my past might be a little muddled and murky, containing the occasional typical male (mis)judgments clouded and controlled by hormones, loneliness and stupidity that my sex is famous for, since a sense of paranoia has peppered a lot of my life’s decisions (both good and bad) I really have never been too worried about procreation surprises.
But not having kids does not mean I do not like kids. Quite the contrary. I like kids… when they are not around me all the time. And I like the idea of creating, nurturing and molding a person but again, since I do not really want them around me all the time… I’m much better suited to being the occasionally visiting wacky Uncle with a heart of gold… or mold or something. I just think my paranoid nature and twisted world view would cause me to raise very neurotic unbalanced Jerry Lewis like ‘Cretons’.
It does take work to NOT have a kid. It seems like a design flaw in humans that you can very easily accidentally leave the safety off the old baby juice pistol and play an unplanned round of ‘preggo my eggo’ with a very wrong potential parental partner. It makes no sense that the act of actively NOT spawning requires far more work, planning and self-control; all characteristics that my species are famously not good at.
If possible let me be even more blunt, those who we are often physically attracted to for an evening of exciting doinking is often not the same person capable of being a good parent or even remotely in-sync with your child rearing philosophy. I think that pretty much sums up why there are so many unhappy poorly adjusted not particularly good people wandering around the planet wreaking havoc on humanity. I have enough worries without bringing a kid into this mess.
I did not start my adulthood proclaiming I would never create Little Dan Mutants, but I have also never had the strong urge or need to have little Lewbies ‘created in my image’ running around whining that they want to be removed from the bubble I would have kept them locked in until they were 30. I did already mention that I am a tad paranoid.
I am not wishing a lack of steady employment to my psychologist and prison worker friends, but I kinda wish more people would have made the same decision I did. I truly have not taken this choice lightly. I fully understand the gravity of the parent-child beauty and bond but that is not what I need to feel fulfilled. Because I do like children it has always seemed wiser to not venture into parenthood than to do it half assed.
As the years have passed I have refined my response to the ‘do you have children’ question with my oft repeated “If I was with someone that wanted kids I am sure I could be a good Dad but it has never been a priority to me.” Of course the replies I receive have been wildly varied from being called selfish to being complimented. I know my opinions might change and I can see how being elderly without children and grandchildren to live vicariously through, or at least have visit and occasionally care for you in times of need, could be a lonely isolating prospect but that does not seem like a good enough reason to have kids.
Unfortunately, I guess that innate parenting instinct never really goes away so what I have noticed about myself and my other childless friends is that we tend to really dote on our pets. Anthropomorphizing our animals is nothing new but childless couples seem to raise it to an artform. I recall working with a woman who talked about her cockatiel’s experiences with the same intensity as someone describing their child’s schooling preparations for collage.
I am comfortable with my skills at dog and cat caring but they do not really translate to child raising. I do not think it would go over well if I only occasionally took my kid out for leashed walks. On the other hand, I would leave extra food and water out if I left them alone locked in the house for the weekend. Yeah, I guess so far my choice has worked out okay.