Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Don't Like Children. No, Even Yours.

Welcoming Desci back into the chair

I think more needs to be said about the Wonderful Specialness of Children.

Everyone thinks their child is extraordinary. It's sweet. To the parents, the child is their work of art, a product of their genes and nurturing. So often, whenever they can, they take the time to discuss said wonderful masterpiece. To the exasperation of everyone else.

The consternation isn't an exclusively childless person's thing: my mother, and other breeding people I know, have usually been the most vocal post-meeting mockers of the proud parent in question. It's a thing, it will always happen, get over it.

What I take umbrage at, (though I know I shouldn't - patience is my weakest trait) is when people think that THEIR child will 'convert' you.

I don't like children. Yes, there's something wrong with me, fine.

They wreck your stuff, touch things with their filthy little hands, ask relentless questions and are just boring. They're all the same. Some are fun for ten minutes or so. My cousin's kids are gorgeous and it's fun to hear stories about them, but more than 20 minutes with them and I'm shooting dust. It's weird, since I get along great with all different types of adults. But children - can't do it. Don't like them.

So I get the 'it's different when their yours' speech, obviously. But I also get the 'well, look at MY kids, though, see? SEE? NOW you see it, DON'T YOU.'

I was at breakfast with a few of my friends awhile back, and my friend's fiance had bought a workmate. The talk turned to children (the aforementioned fiance wants to have a family quickly - she's unbotheredly clocking in at around 155 kilos, so I don't think it's medically possible). The work friend asked me about when I wanted children (!) my partner laughed, we (he or I - I forget who) said we're not having them.

She asked why, of course, and I didn't have the energy to educate her, or play mind games like bursting into tears and telling her we're infertile. Yes, it's awful. But how dare she? If I had, maybe next time she'd think twice and save an actual situation like that happening, from a couple who'd been trying for a year and had just found out.

So I just said I don't like them. Cue 'Oooooh, how COULD you?' diatribe about the wonders of children.

Then, she showed me a picture on her digital camera. She whipped it out with a flourish that said 'here, now I have the ace up my sleeve that shall win this debate!' It was a picture of a child. From her colourings (blonde, blue eyed, pale), it probably wasn't hers (Mediterranean, olive-skin, dark/curly hair), but I'd bet it was related to her in some way. A niece, perhaps.

Anyway, it was a child. Not ugly. Not a cherubic angel. Just a child, like in a random google image search for 'child sitting with toy'. Fuck this, I thought.

'Eh,' I said. 'Oh! You pest!' She said, taking the camera back and trying to keep it all very light, but annoyed and taken aback a little. My partner, who had been talking with his other friend, turned around and asked what the picture was. 'Just some generic child' I said, to the consternation of the work mate.

She was expecting me to play the game. To say, 'oh, you're right, she is VERY cute, yes.' No, fuck that. I was hung over and this woman was getting right on my tits. If you choose to challenge my opinions, I should have the right to challenge yours.

Yes, I know, I should be more patient and humour people. And I know AOF would have handled the situation with dignity, grace and respect. But I just get so bloody sick of it sometimes.

32 comments:

Lene Andersen said...

I like kids I know, but have never been particularly fond of children in general. Particularly babies. Y'know how when someone's off on maternity leave and comes to work to do their papers and show off the progeny? And every woman in the office gathers 'round and coos, while exclaiming excitedly in that high-pitched voice? I never did. I'd go over, be polite, say congratulations (because I had to work with this woman again) and go work again. While Just. Not. Getting. It.

My sister's babies were beautiful, but even then, not really interesting until they started doing things other than pooping, barfing and cooing. Love teenagers, by the way, but children? Sorta yawn. And apparently, that makes me not quite a real woman. But then, I use a wheelchair, so I'm used to not being viewed as a real woman. ;)

Another Outspoken Female said...

I know AOF would have handled the situation with dignity, grace and respect

Oh thanks for your faith in me Desci! I must admit I am not always as dignified as I would like to be and have been known to have outbreaks of foot and mouth disease!

I feel the same way about babies and children as I do about grown ups - some individuals are adorable and others are utter brats. Amongst my friend's offspring I have favourites and some I avoid.

But as I think you were getting at its not always the kids its the parental attitudes as to their child being the most beautiful, cleverest, unique, talented creature on the planet. I love my friends more when they go through the pain of realizing in primary school that their child is scholastically ordinary - and they cope with it.

But I have to admit my idea of hell is a baby or child's birthday party. Being the token barren one I've found those events personally painful and even alienating and left a few in tears over the years.

Desci said...

Lene: I *hate* that! I kind of just... hover around the outskirts, say 'aw' once and then scuttle back to my seat. What do they want?

AOF: I'm dreading the kid's birthday parties.

The weird thing is, the kids I know, I mostly like. My cousin's kids are great, and my mum tells me cute stories about them every so often (not overdoing it, fortunately). I like talking with them for 10 minutes or so, and then... yeah, I got nothin'. It's awkward and boring.

And yes, I wished more people would say, 'I love my average child!' Instead of boring you with tales of how intricate their lego sculptures are.

Anne S said...

Totally agree!!

Babies leave me cold, I must admit.

If it was a puppy or a kitten it would be a completely different thing.

Fitzroyalty said...

It's fantastic to read your writing on being childfree. I feel the same way and am also getting tired of having to explain myself. I've written a few posts on the same topic here.

Dave in Dublin said...

I really enjoyed this! My friends are due their first baby soon, and I'm wondering how it'll change our relationship. As long as they don't start this kinda crap I'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

I don't like children, I don't even like babies, I've always backed up from couples that wanted to offer me the wonderful feeling of holding their baby. YUCK.
And I have the guts to say to anyone. If they're annoyed, it's their problem, not mine.
I won't change my opinion. Never wanted to have kids, and life is fine like this.

Anonymous said...

I'm 65 and have no children. I was pregnant at 21, but at three months I had a spontaneous miscarriage and a D&C. Nothing after that. I'm completely happy with the outcome. I really don't enjoy being around children until they're about 14 or so. Then, fine. Until then, they're overbearing, loud, pushy, demanding, and, well, obnoxious. Really precocious kids are fine--as long as they seem about 30.

Never regretted not having them. In fact, I'd rather be happily barren than enduring motherhood. Some of us aren't made for breeding. I'm one of them. And I'm grateful, very grateful.

Another Outspoken Female said...

Thank you to all the new visitors to this blog. We post very irregular, when the whim takes us but all the comments get read and are much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I'll go you all one better. I despise children and I think parents (in general) are equally intolerable at least when the subject of children comes up. I do my best to avoid both at almost all costs. Parents are typically self-righteous and blind to the reality that their own children are less than perfect. Well whom do you suppose is out there vandalizing public and private property with graffiti? Certainly not adults with jobs but absolutely "NOT MY KIDS".

There is an assumption that everybody loves the little kiddies so when I'm asked why I have none I've learned to reply "It's kind of personal" and leave it at that. It's simpler than an explanation and most people accept it and go away pitying me for my "infertility"

Fine by me as long as they go away and take their noisy & intrusive progeny with them!

Faraz from Calgary, AB said...

Wow! I can completely empathize with the frustration of having somebody tell me that my general dislike of kids and decision of not wanting any of my own is unwarranted. What I find particularly annoying is the general answer of "You're young right now and will love your own once you have them"....aaaaaaarrrgghh! I may only be 25 years of age, but I think I have myself figured out pretty well.

Anonymous said...

I've never liked children in general and particularly dislike babies. I agree that being frank about disliking children is sometimes the best way to shut up child-worshippers. I particularly admire the way that you refused to humor the clueless aurochs about the photo.

But those of us who don't like children need to choose carefully when and to whom we reveal our dislike. The social situation you described is ideal. But I wouldn't tell people I work with how much I loathe children. My manager (whom I otherwise really like) is a parent, and I want to keep my job. Fortunately, she and my co-workers are parents-not-breeders and seldom bring their kids to work. Yes, I know -- I'm very lucky.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah! I am not alone! I don't like kids, never have. Nothing against them, just don't want them in my field of vision, hearing or within vomiting distance of me, that's all. Everyone who knows me will testify that I don't pretend to feel otherwise for the benefit of the masses. So, you can imagine my horror when, at my friend-of-12-years' wedding last weekend I found that I had been seated next to the ONLY two children there. Not just on the same table as them but NEXT to them....BETWEEN them and their mother. Now, I know they say that seating plans are a minefield but in a room of 37 adults and 2 children, and with 12 years knowledge of my opinion, one might have identified an obvious conflict here. I still haven't quite decided whether this represents degree-standard thoughtlessness or if it was actually some intentional vindictive joke on her part, but at best it just goes to demonstrate how impossible it is for some people to comprehend that we simply aren't interested in investing even a millisecond of our existence in entertaining the offspring of others. The mother of these foul children (whom I shall refer to as Whiney Contrary aged 8 and Precocious Bugsy Malone aged 11) actually commented that this was "fabulous", presumably because for the duration of 3 courses, she was absolved from supervising her brats. Actually, from their demeanour, I would say she takes quite a lot of breaks anyway! Give me strength!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this site!!! I'm 51 years old and never had kids. Had my tubes tied when I was 30. I really don't like kids. Or babies. I also, like some of the other posters here, shrink back from holding other people's babies, or going over to look at the co-worker's new baby. Not interested. In fact, I have a feeling of disgust or contempt for them. An aversion. I know that sounds extreme. I also have little patience for their behavior, and have really lost my temper with a couple on the very few occasions I've been alone with them. So I make it a point not to be alone with them. It is odd because I love animals, and even am a vegitarian. People who don't know my "secret" think I am such a kind, easy-going, calm person. I am. Except for the kid thing. I've been contemplating this lately, and thinking I must have some dark problem. That's why I found myself on this site. So thank you to others who have these same sort of feelings. I know I am not alone. It really helps.

Dieselbabes said...

Hi everyone,

Just want to say to the person who posted 20/12/11 that you don't realised how much you have basically have summed up my feelings. It's uncanny I feel exactly the same. Kids make me cringe there isn't anything I find appealing about them.

I always get that old chestnut "you were a kid once" and yeah looking back I was an only child but I was not a kid fan when I was a kid. I prefered to be around adults and spent a lot of time with my grandad and when I was a child I was kinda smart and people used to say she is 6 going on 36.

I knew from about 4 years of age that I would never have them. Hate when people say I would change my mind, I am 33 and still feel the same and even have more dislike for them as I get older. So refreshing someone feels the same way. I am not alone hooray !!

Desci said...

Just stopping by quickly to say thank you.

Thank you to all of you, who remind me that there are people like me. Who are older than me, and lived through the whole 'YOU'LL CHANGE YOUR MIND!' song, only to come out of it... not changing anything.

I periodically re-read these comments, especially when I get so damned frustrated by the Kid Brigade that all I can do is vent to my husband.

Thank you. You are all brilliant.

Keep 'em coming!

- Desci.

John Brown said...

I too thought that I was alone. I'm 36 years old, have a gf that has two kids (from her ex husband) and I have nothing against them; I just can't bond with them PERIOD. I feel uncomfortable around them and I just don't understand why? Is it cause of the lack of affection that my parents gave me as I was growing up or is it just me? I have so many questions, but feel somewhat releaved that I'm not the only one that feels this way. My family on my mothers side treats me as if I'm some freakin alien or what not and it really pisses me off. I don't talk to them anyway...

Back to my gf, I really love her, but her kids mean the world to her and I wish I felt what she felt, but unfortunately I sometimes dispize them. I guess I sometimes wish that I could get the same attention that she gives them. I get it, I know that will never happen but, I just don't know what to do. Thank you guys!

Anonymous said...

It was so nice to come across this post and read everyone's comments. I am 30 and have never wanted kids. My best friend who never wanted kids either accidently got pregnant and now has a beautiful baby girl. Now that she has her baby and obviously loves her very much and thinks its the best thing that ever happened to her she is on the "you'll change your mind" train too. It has been hard to talk to my friend since she had the baby because all she talks about now is the baby and how wonderful being a mother is; I really miss the friendship we used to have and I can only hope that our friendship will grow into something great again. Its so hard when so few people in my life support the decisions I've made. My husband and love of my life had a visectomy years ago. You think that would have been the first hint that we really really were never going to have kids. I don't mind my nieces and nephews, I'm a good aunt and take them for weekend and day excursions. But I just don't want my own. I hate hearing "You'd be such a good mother", I know I'd be a great mother IF I wanted kids. Its so refreshing to hear that I'm not alone and even more refreshing to read posts from women older than me that never had kids.
Thank you to everyone for sharing their thoughts and feelings.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I am so thrilled to find this blog and all the kindred spirits out there. I can't stand babies. They look weird and you have to try to please them all the time. Life is hard enough without trying to communicate with something that can't express itself. The funny thing is, I am a teacher. I am around children all the time. For some reason when I am being paid to be around them, I have loads of patience for them. The minute I am off the clock I want NOTHING to do with them. It's been really hard this year because so many friends are having babies and now I feel like I have no friends. The relationship is no longer about the friend, or me, but ONLY the baby and when they ask about my life it is clearly only to be polite because what on earth could be more important than the BABY?!?!?!

Please keep posting out there!

Anonymous said...

ha ha I AM NOT ALONE...
yes i was one once but still didn't like being around them, never wanted- one still don't- and thank god the clock is almost expired...little sticky goblins,my friends know this,yet they must think their kid is SPECIAL,I am usually a laid back, relaxed person however i really am afraid I will lose it on the unruly little kid that keeps pickin his nose and ignoring the repeated nagging attempts their mother makes. It feel like such a horrible friend but how do you say,ahh u want to leave the kid at home???
Give me a large dog that sheds anyday.

Jennifer Berry said...

I will be 40 in a month and I still haven't "changed my mind". My mom has stopped trying to convince me that "you'll love your own" and has moved on to "you're selfish for not having any" routine. Why don't people understand that some people should and some people should not have children, and everyone's reasons are personal...i.e. BUTT OUT! I feel guilty though because I don't even want to visit my 18 month year old nephew...not interested. Boring. Uncomfortable. Though once they get old enough to say interesting and funny things it's not so bad...but only in small doses. I AM NOT A MONSTER!!! :)

Childless is Calgary said...

Oh goodie I'm not the only one!! It is soooo frustrating that most people don't get that it's ok that I don't want or like kids. I feel the same way Jennifer, I have many neices and nephews and promise I will visit my siblings as soon as their kids are off to college, but I just don't want to be around them!

I feel that I am being responsible not having kids that I would most likely neglect or abuse so the next time someone hassles you about not wanting kids, point out a story in the newspaper of someone throwing their baby in a dumpster and say, "Hey, that would be me!".

Give me a dog or 10 any day!!

Thank you for letting me vent! :)

LindaDooWop said...

I'm 64 and I never understood any of it either. Kids are okay after they turn about six years old, but I can't imagine how the parents can get through the infant to age six stage. It seems like torture to me. They're boring and they get on your nerves.

I do feel the maternal pull towards kittens and puppies though, and they're no better conversationalists. And they do a lot of the same annoying things that small kids do but they're too cute to get on your nerves.

So maybe they're the same feelings, only towards different creatures for different people. That analogy makes it at least somewhat possible for me to understand.

Thanks for this post. It feels good to know I'm not the only one.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually quite upset by the fact that I have moved slightly out of area temporarily to be with my guy in the past year and in the meantime all my closest friends have got pregnant at the same time. Basically unless I make the effort to go to them they don't bother coming to us and now that all these screaming babies are starting to arrive I feel like I won't see them at all really.

Life moves on and I am not at a stage that I want kids and not sure I ever want them. I am not interested in holding them, talking about them or any of the life limiting aspects they bring you having had the opportunity to make plans as and when with no ties. We got a horse instead as figured we're going to have a lot more time on our hands and less weekend hangovers! Interestingly my guy has kids but they are both over 10 so I can handle that but the younger ones especially babies I just don't get! Glad I'm not the only one feeling like this and I'm not giving in to peer pressure!

Anonymous said...

Yay, not alone! :)
My pet hate at the moment is people with babies using a photo of said baby as their profile on social networking sites .. OK, I get you're excited about the new arrival, but it's YOUR profile, not the baby's!

I think some kids are cute between the ages of about 5 and 10 - past the snotty toddler stage, but not yet a terrible teen. I might even have one one day and I don't hate kids, but some people are really smug about it - billions of women have done it before, largely because they had no choice in the matter, and there are many distasteful aspects about the whole thing. It doesn't define you, nor make you special or amazing ok!

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher and I do like children but I don't want to have one. I enjoy seeing and working with them but I'm glad to give them back. Its hard work to be around them all day and all I want to do is come home to my dogs. This is somewhat of problem for me in my line of work. I wish they would stop asking , why did a become a teacher if I didn't want any children. I don't know why in this day and age students and parents think you need to have children to be happy. Like many of you, my husband an I enjoy sleeping, freedome, and having some back up money. Glad to see there are others out there!

Anonymous said...

I came across this blog tonight because I am having the same argument with my boyfriend for the third time. He has two kids, a boy and girl ages 8 and 10. I thought maybe there was something I could find to help explain how I feel about kids to him better. It feels like I keep repeating myself by telling him over and over that I am just not into kids. Everything everyone has posted above I relate to almost to the point of tears. It's ok for me to dislike kids! I love my bf but I will never get passed just tolerating his kids. Thanks you for making me feel better about it. I know that we won't last over our differences, and that is sad because I love him, but at least I am not faking who I am. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't like children, themselves, but I like the IDEA of children. I like seeing the human species grow and diversify. I like the sporting element of it, the potential that children represent, even if so much of that potential is never actually realized. Maybe THAT is what I dislike about children - their incompleteness. That may not be something that they OR their parents can help, but it still seems sad. It's disturbing. The poor, disgusting little things have NO dignity. They are inept, ignorant, and very nearly helpless. I pity them for having to BE children - what an insult, what a degradation! It's hard for me to love them, mostly because for me loving someone means investing my all into their betterment - but what do you do with someone who does not WANT to better themselves? Someone whose deepest desires are to eat junk food, repeat nonsense ad nauseaum, and bounce around with sparkles? And you know what? I HAVE a child! I love her dearly, and I wouldn't give her up for the world, but it hurts, because I have to tolerate her... well, her stupidity! I only hope and PRAY that she will grow out of it, that she WILL learn to think, and WANT to do so! I am so often torn. I want to be kind to her, but there's really no kind way to tell someone with very limited vocabulary and experience that their ideas are shallow and NOT GOOD. Poor, wretched thing. Oh, that she would reach a level where I could have an actual conversation with her! Most people I've encountered seem fine with someone not liking children. What they seem horrified by is why desire to see them grow in a hurray. They talk endlessly on the joys and innocence of the most dangerous and USELESS phase of a human's life. What do children regularly do that is actually productive - OTHER than get to be adults? Very small children do not work, do not add to the sum of human accomplishments, do not help produce more humans! Childhood is an incredibly long and drawn-out waiting period, in which so much can go wrong. Other parents, and even non-parents, that I've shared these thoughts with are so in the habit of romanticizing childhood that I come off sounding like a wild blasphemer. Ah, well. Pity the poor things. May they GROW, and quickly...

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am SO happy to finally come across a group of people who feel like I do. I feel a sense of panic when small irritating horrors of human beings are put in front of me, and for some reason people feel the need to show me how cute 'their' child is. There are no cute children to me. I'm sure that to them their child is special and fabulous but to me it's a noise making, sticky fingered, stench ridden money waster.
Words of advice to all parents who may happen upon this site and be upset..
Just because you are a breeder, don't expect everyone around you to care about your offspring, and don't moan when your life becomes a boring dreary nightmare of having a sick sprog, no money, a ruined relationship and no identity other than that of being a mother. You chose it, now live with it.

Oniönhead said...

Kids just plain blow.

And that is all.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading this! I actually have a child. He's 2 years old. I love him dearly & he can be cute and sweet but he can also be a little shit!!! My eyes are wide open; he is not an angelic being who can do no wrong. I was judged for returning to work when he was very young but the truth is, he is not enough to make me content and happy; I need other things; a career, friends, adult socialising. I dislike other children, wish I could have valium to get me through the obligatory kids parties!!! When asked by the in laws what we wanted for Xmas, my hubby & me said in unison 'a night away'. I look forward to him getting older. I'm good with teenagers. No regrets at being a mum but I completely understand why others don't want to be. People with more than 1 child truly baffle me???

Anonymous said...

So pleased you said about the profile picture thing. "Hello, your baby is a completely separate human to you!"