I couldn't help but feel anger and disbelief rise within me as I read this article about a new book that has just been published in France titled, "No Kid: 40 Reasons Not to Have Children". The real kicker is that the author, Corinne Maier is a MOTHER of two. (Another article about this can be found here)
A mother!! How heartbreaking for her children to know that their own mother doesn't like them, much less want them, and refers to them as "savages".
Here are ten of her reasons not to have children (along with a few quotes from her) and my rebuttals:
1. Labor and breastfeeding are torture.
"Even with anaesthetic it's the worst pain you'll ever feel. Anyone who tells you it will be a beautiful experience is lying. It's more like that scene from the film Alien, where the monster bursts from an astronaut's stomach."
Well yes, labor is in fact quite painful (thank you, Eve and that lovely bite of forbidden fruit you just *had* to have). But once its all over, its over. Most women in fact, tend for "forget" how painful it is, until we're in labor with again. ;-}
But breastfeeding isn't painful at all. In fact, numerous books and lactation consultants will tell you that if it hurts, you're doing something wrong. The baby may have a bad latch or something, but nursing itself should not hurt.
2. You never get to sleep in again, and life loses all its spontaneity when you have to book a babysitter before you can do anything.
"Get over these early hurdles and you hit the big one: how to keep your child amused and happy. This will fast become one of your most hated jobs. The moment you give birth you can forget leisurely lie-ins..."
I'll agree with the whole sleeping in thing. Waking up every few hours is not my idea of a good time, either. But those days last for a short time, and suddenly you find yourself *missing* those late night nursings, when it was just you and your sweet baby.
But children grow up, and soon get up around 7am, flip on the TV themselves, and learn to pour their own cereal in the mornings. Then you can catch a few extra Z's on the weekends.
As for the need for a babysitter, that's extremely exaggerated. We *rarely* use a sitter, and if we do, its always Grandma. Why can't you take your children with you? Are they that horribly behaved that they can't be taken out in public?! If that is the case, then that's YOUR fault not theirs. As their mother, your job is to raise them to behave in all social settings. If you haven't trained them properly, blame yourself.
3. Children cost a fortune and whine for everything they want.
My children rarely whine as they know that if they ask for anything, it is an automatic "NO" (unless they have the money on them to buy the item themselves).
And children don't cost a fortune, its all the super-cool stuff that people think children need (or else buy them in order to appease their whining) that costs so much. You don't have to buy name-brands, and you don't have to buy brand-new. We raised our children through the preschool years with significantly less income than we have now, and they were MORE than happy, healthy and fulfilled.
4. You have to spend your weekends at plastic them parks or gawking at bored animals in the zoo.
When I was growing up, we didn't have the money to visit theme parks (ever) or the zoo (except on a school field trip). So quite personally, I enjoy both areas as it gives me a chance to experience things from my children's perspective, and feel delighted that I *finally* get to meet Pooh Bear, Tigger, and Snow White. ;-]
And there's no rule stating that you *have* to visit these places all the time. We drag our children all over the place--everywhere we go, they're with us. Rare is the occasion when they're not.
Our children go to the library, science center, movie theatre, shopping malls and get togethers of all kinds. If they have a moment when they'd rather not be there, they're still expected to remain pleasant for the benefit of the family as a whole.
5. You can never go to a grown-up restaurant, but instead have to eat at fast food chains.
Again, if your children are that ill-behaved that you can't take them out and expect them to behave, that is YOUR fault. Period. We've taken our children to grown-up restaurants numerous times, and all were pleasant experiences.
Yes they can be picky at times, but if you're hungry you'll choose something from the menu and deal with it. Or else sit quietly while everyone else enjoys their meal.
6. Looking after toddlers is boring and unrewarding.
Sometimes it can be boring (like when they're napping), but never unrewarding. In fact, I find my most "boring" days are when I have no daycare children around to chase after!
I feel terribly lonely without my children at home. I love hearing their giggles and watching them play, and even when I have to repeatedly move a toddler away from the TV buttons or some other "no no", it is all worth it when you see in their eyes that they "get it", and leave it alone.
That's what training is all about!
7. You spend your life cleaning up after your children and helping with homework. And in return, your family treats you like a maid.
Only if you let them. Besides that, children should be taught to clean up after themselves. As mothers, we need to work diligently when our children are young, so we "work ourselves out of a job", as far as housework is concerned.
My children do their own laundry, clean the kitchen, wash dishes, clean the bathroom, dust, vacuum, sweep, mop, and wipe windows. I don't have to do anything unless I choose to.
As for homework help, that goes with the territory of being a mother. Part of your job is to make sure they're educated. If you weren't up to the challenge, you should never have had them in the first place.
8. Your career is put on hold as you choose jobs you can fit your family around.
"Being a working mum is like being in prison, but there's no time off for good behaviour and no electronic tags you can wear for a brief trip back to the freedom you've given up for your offspring."
I know many women (whom I babysit for and otherwise), who manage to keep their careers and family well in balance. If you can't handle it, then a different job is probably your best option. Not everyone can formulate and maintain a good balance, but many ladies do.
This doesn't mean they're not tired and wish they didn't have to rush from the office to the daycare, but that's another story.
9. Babies break up close couples and kill your s*x life.
"What hope is there of a fulfilling s*x life when a woman is forced to turn into a fat, deformed animal decked out in sack-like dresses? As you bid adieu to your s*x life, your relationship is quick to follow. You go from being a couple to being Mummy and Daddy."
This is by far, one of the most ludicrous ideas yet. If your spouse doesn't want to be intimate with you, simply because you're pregnant, then you have deeper issues to work through. But honestly, I've yet to meet any couple that expressed that same warped sentiment. If anything, pregnancy causes a husband to feel even more attracted to his wife.
And by sharing something as beautiful as co-laboring with God to create a beautiful child, you feel *much closer* to your spouse than before. As my husband puts it, children are "the glue that binds us together and makes our relationship permanent."
(Although I do agree with feeling like a fat, deformed animal from time to time. *Ahem*.)
10. There are already too many children in the world, so why add to the problem.
"Financial and job security are things of the past, housing is beyond expensive, the planet is suffering from over-population - do you still think it's such a good idea to bring yet another baby into this world? They could end up being your problem for the rest of your life. What a prospect."
Actually, there aren't that many children in the world at all! One country in particular (though I can't remember which one now) is offering financial incentives to its citizens to have more than one child, simply because that country's population growth is at a record "zero". This puts social programs for the elderly at risk with less younger workers around to meet the financial needs of the government to cover those elderly individual's healthcare costs.
And for the author's sake, I hope she never grows infirm to where she requires a nursing home or some other long-term care facility. Her children may feel quite bitter and resentful, and seek to set her up in the cheapest, "one step up from a kennel" establishment possible!
So there you have it. Ten arguments for and against having children.
What are yours?