Skip to content

Why ‘Why Your Top 10 Reasons for Not Having Kids Are Stupid’ Is Stupid

March 22, 2016
tags:

 

SCAN_20160322_144310873

With my cousin’s kids, demonstrating my innate maternal instincts.

 

I’ve always been pretty sure that kids weren’t for me. At age 36, I went through a period of soul-searching and, with my partner, decided definitely against reproducing. Since then, I’ve drifted away from the ongoing for-and-against debate that rages online. But every so often, an article comes along on the ‘for’ side that is so confoundingly wrong-headed it begs a response. One such is Gavin McInnes’s recent article with the irresistible clickbait title, ‘Why Your Top 10 Reasons for Not Having Kids Are Stupid’.

Beneath a pic of a winsome tot, Vice magazine founder McInnes, who ‘joined the Right in 2008’, delivers a series of spurious pro-procreation arguments, all wearyingly familiar to the childfree.  Click on the links in the article, though, and McInnes’s true agenda emerges. More on that later.

Let’s start with some choice quotes from his introduction:

You’ll hear a lot of parents lament that they had too few or didn’t have a boy or had all boys, but you’ll never hear them say, “I wish I hadn’t had a kid.”

Well, no, because there’s a massive societal taboo against admitting any regret about having kids. You might not hear parents say this out loud, but on the internet, under cover of anonymity, it’s a different story. Here are some snippets from TruuMom Confessions:

‘I love alone time, I love playing online Scrabble, I love reading catalogs….. mmm everything I love doesn’t involve my children!’

‘At least once a day I wonder how I became the least important person in my own life.’

‘I beat myself up every day for having a child. I’m bipolar. He has autism. I lost my job so I am broke. We have no help. My brain doesn’t think of how much I love my son. I think of how I should not be a mother and how he would be better off if he was never born. I want to carve my brain out to stop this thinking.’

‘I hate my life. I wish I could die,but my kids need me. Although I am really not any good to them. I am tired of being betrayed, used, and crapped on. I really don’t know how much more I can take before it just doesn’t matter how much my kids need me.’

Gee, sign me up! McInnes goes on:

Whenever I see couples without kids, I plead with them to change their ways because, almost without exception, the ones who refuse to breed are the ones who would make the best parents.

Although he doesn’t explain why these couples would make the best parents, McInnes does go on to reveal his reasons, and the assumptions behind them. But first, to that list of the ‘ten excuses [the childfree] always make and why they’re wrong’:

 

 

  1. Ew, Diapers? Gross

Do you wipe your own ass? This is the same thing, only much smaller. You’ll be surprised how un-gross changing diapers is. I knew our third would be our last, and each diaper change was getting closer to the last I would ever do. I coveted each chocolate-covered nutsack like I was the White House pastry chef, and when the last diaper went into the trash, I cried like a baby.

This is pure speculation, but who do you think did the majority of nappy-changing in the McInnes household, Mum or Dad? I’d put good money on it being Mum – who tellingly doesn’t rate a single mention in this entire article – and I would love to know whether her attitude to her third child’s final shitty nappy was as sentimental, or disturbingly fetishistic, as her partner’s.

Obviously I wipe my own arse, but I don’t enjoy it, and I have no desire to spend more of my day wiping arse, mine or anyone else’s.

Also, my arse doesn’t, spontaneously and without warning, do this:

baby-pooping-2

 

 

 

  1. I Hate Kids

No, you hate other people’s kids. We all do. These are your kids. They don’t just look like you, they are you.

Mate, you are in for a brutal awakening when your kids hit adolescence.

It’s a truism that kids reach a point in their development where they reject their parents’ values and beliefs on principle. They’re meant to do this. It’s a healthy part of growing up. I really hope that McInnes wakes up to this in time, because if he doesn’t, his kids are going to fucking hate him.

Have you noticed that, as you get older, your dad goes from cruel tyrant to just a wrinkled version of you? It’s the same with kids, but in reverse.

Plenty of dads  – and mums – are cruel tyrants all their lives. If their kids are indeed carbon copies of them, that has alarming implications for the next generation.  (We’ll return to this in Point 7.)

 

 

  1. I Just Don’t See the Appeal

Do me a favor. Smell a baby’s breath and get back to me.

Yep, babies can smell nice, some of the time. That’s totally worth trading in the time and energy I currently use for: hanging out with my husband, catching up with friends, writing, reading, drawing, sleeping, sex, yoga, chess, Scrabble, watching movies, listening to music, going out to see live theatre and bands, and dancing.

You know what else smells nice? Coffee. Incense. Fresh flowers. I can get them in any time, and they don’t grow bigger and start instead to smell like dirty socks and Clearasil.

 

 

  1. Only Egomaniacs Have Kids

“Are you so obsessed with yourself you need to make more of you?” a friend recently asked so I’d stop hassling him about being childless.

I’m amazed that this person is still your friend, Gavin, but go on.

You can phrase it any way you want, but the biological imperative is the most intrinsically human thing you can possibly do.

Because the biological imperative is exclusive to our species. We don’t share it with, say, salmon.Rabbits. Ringworm.

It’s the meaning of life.

The meaning of life is to create more life? That’s it? Seems like an awfully reductive and circular argument to me. But since Gavin’s summed it up for us, I guess the world’s philosophers can all take early retirement.

As far as it being selfish, trust me, you are way too busy running around praising, reprimanding, hugging, and giving time-outs to gloat at your prodigy. That’s something only the childless have time to think about.

No one said that parenting was egomaniacal (although a quick skim of STFU Parents will reveal plenty of parents who manage it). It’s the implicit arrogance of procreation we’re talking about, the belief that your personal genes are so special that the human race will be poorer without them.

If biological imperative is indeed the meaning of life, then our precious individuality is immaterial. We’re all just grist for the big organic mill, which will churn along just fine without my DNA in the mix.

Oh, and “time to think”? That is the one thing I treasure most about being childfree.

 

 

  1. I’m Too Selfish

This is the opposite of the egomaniac excuse, and it’s often followed by, “I can barely feed myself.” Don’t fret, virtue signalers. You will be able to summon the strength to prevent your child from starving to death. It’s an instinct that goes back at least a quarter of a million years. Besides, they scream so unbelievably loud at night, you can’t possibly ignore them.

That sounds awesome.

In a recent speech, Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stated that “2.5 million Australians live below the poverty line, and one out of every four are children.” Australia is a wealthy country, arguably more prosperous even than America: we were cushioned from impact of the GFC by a mining boom, and we have well-established public health and education systems. And yet 625,000 of our children live in poverty. That’s a lot of kids who won’t be getting dinner tonight, no matter how loudly they scream.

Presumably, few of their parents brought them into the world with the intention of starving them.

 

 

  1. The World Is Overpopulated

Er, I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a eugenics nut, but it’s about quality, not quantity. Yes, India has dead bodies floating down the river. Your local public school having yet another kid named Cody is not going to cause global warming.

Quite apart from the breathtaking racism of this statement, it’s just plain wrong. According to Scientific American, quoting  the Sierra Club’s Dave Tilford, “A child born in the United States will create thirteen times as much ecological damage over the course of his or her lifetime than a child born in Brazil… the average American will drain as many resources as 35 natives of India and consume 53 times more goods and services than someone from China.”

We live in the safest, healthiest, and most prosperous nation ever. If anyone should feel good about creating more people here, it’s you. And if you don’t, someone else will.

The first time I read this, I thought, ‘Well, if someone else will, then surely non-breeders are off the hook?’ Then I clicked on that ‘someone else’ link, ‘75% of US Population Growth due to Immigration’.

The article’s tone implies that this is a bad thing.

It’s not a leap to conclude that McInnes is in fact worried about non-Americans creating more people, some of whom are moving to America.  Given that this is the image accompanying the cited report…

Black hand_US Flag

…it’s not unreasonable to assume that McInnes and his right-wing colleagues are primarily concerned that so many black people are moving to America. I hope I don’t need to point out the irony of this.

 

 

  1. My Parents Were Horrible and I Don’t Want to Repeat That

My experience has been that the children of negligent parents know exactly how damaging that is and are the least likely to reproduce it (“my experience” is code for “white middle class” and is relevant here because that’s likely who is reading this article—sorry).

Negligence is only one of the myriad ways in which parents can fuck up their kids, usually without meaning to. And people often repeat the mistakes of their parents despite their best intentions. That early conditioning is hard to shake. Here’s a particularly chilling example, from Tobias Wolff’s memoir This Boy’s Life, describing the lifelong impact of his stepfather, Dwight:

I hear his voice in my own when I speak to my children in anger. They hear it too, and look at me in surprise. My youngest once said, ‘Don’t you love me anymore?’

Have you been around the dads without dads? The biggest problem with them is they dote on their children too much.

Sure, the ones who are around. What about all the absent dads, playing out that pattern of desertion all over again?

 

 

  1. It’s No Big Deal If I Don’t

Really? How could it possibly be a bigger deal? Besides the part where our entire civilization is choosing to stop reproducing, what about you? Cavemen fought saber-toothed tigers. Your ancestors survived the plague. World war after world war went by, and your relatives made it through, and you’re going to throw that all away with a shrug?

Yup.

Notice how McInnes doesn’t say ‘our entire species’, he says, ‘our entire civilisation’. That’s white, American, middle-class civilisation.

To fully  grasp his real argument, you only have to click on the links, in this case a book entitled ‘What to Expect When No One’s Expecting’: ‘Middle-class Americans have their own, informal one-child policy these days … if America wants to continue to lead the world, we need to have more babies.’

Populate or perish, citizens!

 

  1. It’s Too Expensive

College and piano lessons are all frills kids don’t require… Having a kid is exactly as expensive as you want it to be.

Piano lessons? Maybe. But college? Plenty of millennials are finding it difficult to get an entry-level job even with multiple degrees. And what does McInnes think will happen to ‘middle-class civilisation’ without college? If education isn’t the backbone of any civilisation, then what is?

 

 

  1. We’re Not Ready

Women are convinced they can cram a career in before their ovaries dry up, but did you notice you started menstruating at 14? Twenty-four is already ten years past that date. At 34, you’ve basically told your womb to pack it in.

That’s right. My womb.

Look, going out for dinner is fun and Barcelona is beautiful at this time of year, but eventually you close that chapter in your life and move on to the next one…

Why?

I’m not trying to take away the party years where you did whatever you wanted and traveled the world getting blackout drunk. Do that. However, adults recognize this is only a stage, and eventually you’re ready to move on to the next one. You’ve been a kid for decades now. It’s time to grow up and make some of your own.

 I could describe the various ways in which it’s possible to ‘grow up’ without having kids (see my list of activities in Point 3). I could point out the many ways in which childfree people are able to contribute their considerable resources to furthering civilisation.

But all that is beside the point. Because McInnes doesn’t actually care about whether or not you have kids. He cares about well-off white Americans having enough kids that they continue to outnumber poor people, people of colour, and immigrants. And that’s really stupid.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2016 7:17 am

    I really enjoyed this post.

    I knew I probably wouldn’t have kids at a young age. I just didn’t see it in my future. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me but apparently it is to everyone else. My family just goes with it now, but my grandparents have said they gave up waiting for me to give them grandkids and started eyeing my sisters (I’m the oldest) a long time ago.

    My aunt has told me she wishes she didn’t have kids. She loves her kids, obviously, but it’s the hardest thing she’s ever done and if she had her time over she probably wouldn’t have.

  2. Jakin permalink
    March 22, 2016 10:33 am

    Wow, that is an insanely awful, terrible article! And of course I mean his not yours! I have kids and I can’t understand why people feel the need to convince others they should do it (the only thing I can think of is some kind of weird jealousy, and wanting everyone else to understand what it is you’re going through). Even if there was some kind of reason you could come up with, that article had none of them. Gross. Well rebutted.

  3. Polly permalink
    March 29, 2016 2:20 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I grow so tired of the constant harassment to change my “bad” choice to not have children.

  4. allisonhofmann permalink
    March 29, 2016 2:40 pm

    I’m glad you pointed out the racism that was a constant through his post.

    Just FYI: “traveled” with one L is correct spelling in the USA.

  5. Will permalink
    March 29, 2016 3:26 pm

    Nicely written, I too thought that whole diaper thing was weird. I also found the whole thing about menstruation disturbing, what’s he implying about 14 year olds?

  6. Kara permalink
    March 29, 2016 4:08 pm

    HORRIBLE ARTICLE. TERRIBLE MESSAGE. I hate kids and I don’t want any. That’s my choice. Listening to this asshole tell me why I should is infuriating.

  7. March 30, 2016 1:53 am

    I wonder if men change their minds about having kids more than women. My BIL has always been on the same page as his current girlfriend. So he’s both gone on about NEVER having kids and talks about them like it’s just a matter of time.
    Regardless of that Gavin is horrible. The blatantly racist comments are disgusting. Also as someone who has always wanted children I don’t find it difficult to believe someone else could have opposite feelings. I have never understood the need to convince people to have kids. Sure if a friend tells me they’re on the fence then I would offer honest advice but it’s such a personal decision.

  8. Lara permalink
    March 30, 2016 4:40 pm

    What a great article. Well done.

  9. March 30, 2016 7:18 pm

    Amazing piece! I read this only a few days after I posted the following article to my own blog, so obviously I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s so nice to know I’m part of an increasingly vocal, intelligent, sassy, well-informed, and all-around awesome group of folks who know having children isn’t for them. Thanks for this article! (And I hope you like mine!) http://twicesoldtales.bangordailynews.com/2016/03/24/home/5-reasons-im-happy-not-to-be-a-mother/

  10. Ellie permalink
    April 3, 2016 11:26 pm

    well written. THANK YOU .

  11. Child free woman permalink
    July 1, 2016 11:18 pm

    Thank you for being the expert on how to live my life. I don’t think diapers are gross. My reason for not having kids is that I enjoy freedom. I work my ass off, and the money I do make, I’d much rather spend on a nice dinner or a trip than some toy that a kid will get bored with in 5 seconds or break. I have two cats that I adore. I have tons of friends. I don’t need to distort my body, face health risks or give up my freedom to be happy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: