Saturday, December 13, 2014

Child-like =/= Parent Material

One of the reasons I hear for becoming a parent is not having outgrown entertainment that's considered for children. G and PG-rated animation, coloring books, and the likes. The idea is if you like kid stuff, it means you're great with children and would be able to have fun with small children.

However, what the people who say that fail to realize is the reason those things can still be enjoyed is that they are not forced. For example, I love Disney animation. However, I do not enjoy reptitiveness. Children tend to watch things on repeat over and over. If I had to watch the same show, even if it was a favorite, thirty times in one day, I'd quickly grow tired of it and not want to hear another thing about it.

There's also a stereotype that if you like things aimed at children, but do not have any yourself, you haven't matured yet. It's utter nonsense. First off, every single thing aimed at children was created by adults. In addition to that, someone's preferences for what kind of entertainment they prefer has little bearing on their level of maturity. Personally, I mainly stick to media with ratings under PG-13/TV-14 because the more adult themes (swearing, sex, etc) don't interest me. Anything I watch over that rating is comedy.

Of course, interests do change over time and it's not wrong to have outgrown child-like entertainment for things geared more toward adults. But the idea you can't do something meant for children unless you have one of your own is silly. Eighteen is not a magical age where someone's interests morph the second the clock strikes midnight on that birthday. Sometimes, adulthood makes those things more fun than they were during childhood because you can choose them for yourself instead of being told what's appropriate and what's not.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Genetics - No One Wins

Before I knew I was childfree, I would say if I have children, I was adopting. This went as far as back as me being a small child. I never believed babies came from the stork. I knew where they came from and what pregnancy since I was a preschooler (kind of hard to use the stork when you see your mother pregnant). I never wanted to go through it.

If I had any desire for parenthood, that idea would not change. I still would go for adoption instead of pregnancy. There are a number of reasons behind it, but one of the biggest would be genetics.

Simply put, my genetics. The number of illnesses that run in my family is scary. At most, I know mental illness (depression and some others, likely) and asthma runs on one side, and breast cancer runs on both. I could not, in good conscience, bring a child into the world with those risks.

I know many people - probably the majority - have risk factors like that in their genetics, but it's simply not a chance I'd be willing to take. Especially not when I know what one of those is like (depression). It is hell. It's not something I'd wish on anyone, even someone I hated.

However, even the risks are only part of it. In truth, my genetics really are not special. They're average at best (and frightening at worst). Weeks ago, I spoke with someone who I, at the time, considered a friend. He has no desire to have children, but he wants to give to a sperm bank or something of the sort because, in his own words, he has too much talent. While I do give him credit for what he has accomplished, he fails to understand intelligence is not exactly genetic. His child could - in fact, would likely - still be average. Of course, it's not like he'd ever know.

In other words, I really do not understand the strong desire some people have to pass their genetics on. I'm not talking about the desire to have a baby. I mean when they literally only want to pass on their genetics and nothing more. Those who consider themselves to have won the "genetic lottery". I consider it similar to those who fantasize about dressing up their children in cute baby and toddler clothes, ignoring that those children will eventually be unable to fit those clothes.

If someone's genetics were that special, I could potentially understand the strong desire to an extent, but most aren't. In fact, usually when I see "special" genetics, it involves some kind of exceptionally rare disease. Not exactly something I'd one would be proud of passing on.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Special Expense?

I love animals. I know it'd be a ton of work, but I want to have a house full of pets. At least, I want to have a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and a hamster. Maybe fish too, but I've had a lot of fish over the years (still have some now). I enjoy caring for animals, especially furry critters, as you can tell from my list.

If I tell that to someone, chances are they'll ask me if I'm sure and warn me about the high cost and responsibility of owning just one pet, let alone four. And I would appreciate the concern because pets, as fun and affectionate as they can be, do require money and care. Pets are expensive, especially when it comes to vet care.

Here's what confuses me. If I tell that same person I'm pregnant or trying to conceive, chances are I'd get congratulations. No asking if I'm sure. No warning about the responsibility and cost. Just a cheerful "congrats", with a "good luck" thrown in or some variation.

Yet children are much more expensive and time-consuming than pets. The expenses of a single child are likely much higher than the expenses of four pets. The cost of raising one child from birth to eighteen has been estimated at a minimum of $250,000. Let's say, for the sake of this post, that number is spread evenly across each year. 250,000 divided by 18 equals 13,888.88, so I'll round it up to 14,000.

Using the highest prices in this article for an annual checkup and the average cost of pet food in my area (to the best of my memory), the yearly cost of a pet would be $2,875. Only close to $3,000. Let's say that number is the same for all four pets. $12,000. Still less than one child.

If someone were to spend $14,000 on anything else, even education, most people would be wondering why, if they're certain about whatever the expense is, if they're aware of what they're doing. But if it's a child - another person's life - congratulations fly everywhere, even if the person has no clue how they will support the child. I simply do not understand that.

Let's go away from the financial aspect for a minute. Years ago, I had a cat. All my cat needed was to be fed twice a day and the litter box cleaned once a week. That's it. I could leave my cat home alone for a whole day, and as long as he had food and clean water, he'd be fine.

Do that with a child and it is neglect. A child, especially an infant, cannot be left alone for a long period of time, even when sleeping. A child cannot care for him or herself. Granted, a cat can't either, but again, a cat only needs food, water, and a clean litter box. A child would need to eat again in a few hours. An infant would need his/her diaper changed again in a few hours (I've read before that infants can use as much ten diapers a day, and that may not be much at all).

I cannot understand why what's considered by many to be "the most important job in the world" is treated so casually and as something you should just roll with. If someone did that with any actual job, they'd be fired for poor performance at the least.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hostility

I know there are some people who say the childfree are unnecessarily hostile in defending themselves. Let me give you an example of the reverse.

Some time ago, I got into what became a very heated argument with a woman on Tumblr who became a mother at eighteen. Originally, she was angry because I wouldn't agree with her about something she felt I was wrong about (she actually misunderstood and kept putting words in my mouth when I tried to explain). As the argument went on, however, her anger escalated to a point that made it seem like she was angry at my mere existence rather than a clash of opinions.

I am not one to play the jealousy game, but not once did I attack this woman for anything, despite her doing so to me. Granted, I may be thinking a little too much about it, but I'm seriously starting to wonder if the lone fact I did not have a child at 18 made her mad. Her last response to me even consisted of something along the lines of "come back when you have some life experience". Apparently, having a child at 18 gives all the experience of everything in the world.

I've blocked this woman, so she cannot message me, but I cannot fathom why she got so aggressive. She picked a fight with me and even after I tried to end it, she still continued on. Also, this took place at about four in the morning. Don't kids typically wake up early? I'd think for someone so aggressive about parenthood, she'd be more inclined to do something involving her child instead of picking fights with strangers on the internet.