As plants and pets have replaced the pitter-patter of little feet, it’s become fashionable for couples to forgo the title of ‘Mother and ‘Father’ for what social media calls “DINKs.” These are Double Income, No Kids households, and a simple scroll on Instagram or TikTok reveals many are now promoting this lifestyle, like Australian model and actress Ellie Gonsalves. Gonsalves recently went viral for posting a list of 117 reasons she doesn’t want to have children, and after Bill Maher saw it, he added a few of his own.
But is there one reason to have children that they’re both forgetting? Let’s discuss:
Gonsalves’ list was lengthy, including negative things she had heard about pregnancy (“body odor gets bad,” “you will not be able to do anything fun,” “you can’t eat or drink specific things”) negative things she had heard about parenting (“your house will never be tidy,” “you will never be alone ever,” “the things you love will be ruined”), negative things about children (“ungrateful,” “rude,” “wildly embarrassing”) and negative things about how children change relationships (“you become second priority to your partner,” “fear leaving a relationship that no longer works because of the kids” “kids breakdown relationships”).
Maher’s ten additions were mostly satirical, but each one came from his self-proclaimed hatred of children. On why he and others support abortion, Maher stated:
“Everybody hates kids. They really do. They’re feral, they’re obnoxious, they’re entitled. Nobody wants kids or if I have one, I don’t want another one.”
Interestingly, James Carville of all people piped up saying he “had to defend parenthood,” making the case that everyone in the audience had parents — essentially saying everyone should be grateful someone took that responsibility. Maher’s response was that parents don’t suck; instead, he just thinks kids do.
(In case you’re wondering, Maher does not have kids or a spouse as he’s not interested in monogamy.)
The harsh opinions about children from people like Maher and Gonsalves are on the rise, but the basic sentiment behind them reveals a terribly sad thing about how many in our society view life. In essence, they seem to believe that the purpose of life and what humans truly find fulfilling is the total ease of the individual accomplished by a lack of family ties.
This is because many of the things that Baby Haters claim as “reasons to remain child-free” aren’t actually incorrect; many are facts of life that they merely want to avoid. Gonsalves’ number one reason against having kids is that “they are YOUR responsibility until the day you die.” While that responsibility changes shape over the course of your baby being an infant to them actually having their own babies one day, she’s not wrong that parents will always be looking out for their offspring.
And yes, kids can break stuff, become messy tornadoes, pitch awkward fits in public places, be disrespectful, make life busy, and do a hundred other things that are tiresome, hurtful, or painful for their parents. No one knows that better than everyone, who can use their own personal memories from childhood and perhaps adulthood to illustrate how we wrong Mom and Dad.
But there are certainly beautiful things about a family, as well. As parents, you get to re-experience the joys of childhood again through the eyes of your babies, and through life, you have a built-in support system who should be there through the good and bad. That includes when you become elderly and infirm —for those without children, who will be there if they’re not getting paid to be?
Ultimately, however, the biggest question is do we really get satisfaction from living selfishly or from living sacrificially for others?
That isn’t to say that everyone should have children, but we need to recognize that purposely having a body untouched by childbirth, a home unblemished and spotless without children, and a social calendar uninhibited by family activities may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Instead, love seems to offer much more.
As a Good Book tells us, love is patient, kind, protective, persevering, not self-seeking, and always hoping; attributes which often require personal struggle but promise honor and reward, even if we don’t see this immediately. Those turning away from parenting seem to want liberty from love, knowing its hardships — but such liberty will almost certainly lead to loneliness.
As cultural icons tout this sad, new trend, we must be willing to speak up against it or there will be a Solitary Generation of those who fell for the idea that personal pleasure can supplant our need for familial connection.
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