Thursday, April 21, 2011
Honest Father: Cad or Hero?
Thank you to CFVixen for alerting me to this heartfelt and brutally honest article by a married man who resents his kids because they have come between him and his wife.
I have mixed feelings about this article. My first reaction was hurray - a parent who is shattering the parenthood mystique and telling it like it really is! If more people would put themselves out there and be honest like this, there might not be such a thing as the parenthood mystique because the hard facts would be in everyones' faces, just as much as the fairytale stories of parental bliss that permeate every cell of our culture. He is a brave man - perhaps even a hero.
On the other hand, I want to say to this man: who put a gun to your head and made you have kids? The comments posted to his article are harsh - many unnecessarily so (come on - is it really necessary to make fun of the man's appearance for crying out loud?) but I do agree with the general sentiment that he is a bit of a whiner. After all, he chose the life of parent. He went along with his wife's desire to have more children, even though things were fine with having only one stepdaughter. He even admitted that producing children boosted his masculine ego, yet now he bellyaches that he no longer gets attention from his wife.
What did he expect having children would do to his marriage? Did he really expect that he would still be number one to his wife once kids came along? Is his wife really different than any other married woman with kids? Did he really expect the romantic dinners, long talks, day trips and intimate evenings with his wife would continue once kids came along? If so, why would he think that? Does he not have friends or family members with children? How is it possible to observe other couples with children and not see how they suck the life out of a marriage?
His cutting and honest article lays bare many of the important reasons the childfree make the choice not to have kids. We don't want to end up like this man with the sad eyes - emotionally abandoned, going through the motions in a passionless marriage and just getting by in life, counting the days until our burdensome spawn fly the coop. We don't want to be downgraded from number one in our spouse's life to number two (or three or four). We want to make our partner the top priority in our lives, not the lowly creature who gets thrown the scraps of whatever attention and energy we might have left at the end of our overwhelming and draining day. We want to relish in adventures, explorations and joyful, romantic experiences now while we have the youth, energy and income to fully enjoy them, and not have to delay until retirement because we are tied down by an 18-25 year long commitment that sucks us dry.
To this sad man I regretfully say: you made your bed and now you must lie in it. If you wanted to be the apple of your wife's eye and wanted your freespirited, romantic and joyful relationship to continue undisturbed into old age, you shouldn't have had kids. Now that you have kids, they take top priority. That's just the way it is, and that's why a growing number of us think very carefully and make the important choice not to have them.
One more thing: while I respect your honesty and am grateful that in the big picture you are aiding in dispelling the myth of parental bliss, in the smaller picture I feel sad for your wife and kids who undoubtedly will suffer for your cutting honesty. After all, the internet is forever.
If you'd like to read more from regretful parents, click here.