Monday, August 16, 2010

A Man's View

To start with, I am married and mentally 100% childfree and my wife, though not completely committed to the viewpoint, is gradually coming to terms with what the reality is like for parents in a modern life. When I look around I see hordes of people everywhere. Traffic jams every day. Long lines in stores. The quality of life seems to be going down by the year. The reason? Expanding population, whether by birth or immigration.

I have several friends who have recently had kids. Who I once knew as energetic and productive people have now settled into an existence of stress-laden parental mediocrity. It is not that the human species is at a risk of getting wiped out, or that bringing new humans into this crowded world is a community service, but it might still be worth it if a kid is brought out of strong desire, raised to be an well-rounded mature adult, not project babies meant to be shown off like labradoodles. Yet I still see smart couples falling for the same old wrong reasons like biological urge, parental and peer pressures, and to make a so-called picture perfect family life. In the old days, kids were a true economic asset. Large families lived together, working on a farm or common business, and children were essential to support and continue the whole infrastructure and eventually take care of aging parents. Now, in the age of urban life and nuclear families, they have suddenly become nothing but a mounting liability. They grow up spoilt by their working parents who try to compensate for the quality time they can't spend with them, and leave the nest as soon as they grow up. It costs a staggering $300k to raise one child from birth till high school. College is altogether a different story of debt and scam. From the viewpoint of a CF man who values his freedom and productivity enormously - what is in it for me? Nothing. Nada. Zero. I have to give up my precious free time, freedom, energy and enough money that could take us both on numerous trips to places we would never otherwise see.

I remember how much sacrifice my parents made. Even though they got their satisfaction because myself and my sister turned out decent enough, I don't see why I even need that emotional reward at all. I can spend time on hobbies and volunteer for good causes and get as much or more pleasures out of them. The fact that smart people like us still become parents without thinking critically saddens me. Why one needs a kid should be a much bigger question than why one doesn't. Parenting is not a default thing. Marriage is nothing other than a monogamous bond, and children are never a part of the deal. Yet the media keeps brainwashing us for their own benefit, for families are the biggest consumers of a myriad of products. It is a vicious cycle and it makes me sick. The true responsible ones are those who stay away from parenting with the smallest doubt in the commitment involved. And those who take it up after thinking hard and preparing for the life changes. It is a popular opinion that men only grow up after becoming parents. What complete hogwash !



Kristine said...

I think part of it is the delusion that, this time around, it will be unique, special, all-together different. And it never is. It's the same exercise played out again and again by people who, by and large, don't evolve much at all.

In the words of Corrine Mair: We live in a society of ants, where working and reproducing represent the ultimate objective of the human experience.

Well, not for me, buddy. I happily opted out and never ever looked back.

Clare said...

I've been reading this blog for a few months now, and I'm finally stepping out from the shadows to say hello.

I love the new feature from a man's point of view. I think all too often men are not taken seriously when they publicly express their reasonable, thoughtful decision not to have children. It seems so culturally ingrained that men are supposed to play the role of 'irresponsible man-children' until they 'grow up and have children of their own.'

I'm also happy to read your expression of dismay over our decreasing quality of life due to overcrowding. I can't tell you how frustrated I feel to hear over-population naysayers try to debunk real concerns about overcrowding problems and the very real psychological effects we feel.

Christy said...

As to the emotional reward: I hear about it all the time, even from people I consider good parents. Just blech. This may sound harsh, but they really lose IQ points in my estimation when they babble on about that bs. Hormones and instincts, that's all, and I'm glad they have them, but they so often mistake those instincts for something spiritual and are almost always laboring under the truly false belief that A) their child mirrors the feeling, and B) that their child is only capable of feeling this way about them and them alone, as opposed to any other care-giver the child could have had.

I wish that along with those instincts, there was a little bit of reality.

It's especially refreshing to hear a man say all of this.

marin said...

I always find disturbing the way my male friends are pushed into the paternal role by time-over wifes' biological clock.
Nice to hear from freethinker guys.

Oh, I found this blog, take a look:


MilaJosephine said...

Reading experiences from a childfree man's perspective is refreshing. It seems that so often in society, women are the ones that yearn for the "2.5 kids" part of the American dream and men just go along with it. I've hardly seen any of them have a true burning desire to be a parent. I'm anxious to read more- it's exciting to realize there are allies on both sides of the gender fence.

Sea_creature said...

Thanks so much for the man's point of view, I love these entries! My husband should read these. He can use the insight.

Spectra said...

I still don't "get" the whole biological urge thing. I've never had any urge to have kids. My husband's friends that have kids generally got them because they somehow knocked up their girlfriend and had shotgun weddings (that's another story, but still). My husband and I originally thought it'd be fine if we had kids someday, but after a couple of years of being married with no kids, we really LIKE not having them and we love that we have extra money and time to spend on our own hobbies and on each other.