Thursday, July 19, 2012

To the Askers of When

Let's just fricken do this - the kids subject.

So, Bubba and I have been together for just about a dozen years, married for eight and happy as two highly immature clams who should probably be supervised at all times but by the magic of expertly honed misdirection are running a household in which cocktails and popcorn for dinner are considered acceptable nourishment.

A man for whom the phrase, "Reapply regularly" is completely unknown.

To say that we wouldn't be fit parents for bringing up a well-balanced individual to be a proper citizen is an understatement. We're also not real into kids to boot, so the notion of us bringing a child into the world to fulfill the expectations of parents, grandparents and Askers of When seems a bit...I don't know...ill-conceived.

If you'll pardon the pun.


I mean, I hardly ever pun. Let me have my moment.


Also, we stab with forks. Which I think is not what Dr. Spock means when he says, "parenting tool."
So, we've tried explaining this position to The Askers of When (we are unfit and aren't into kids) to no avail.

The response we most commonly receive in return for our candid admission is, "Oh! But you'd make great parents! You have so much to teach to the children of our future! And, plus, even if you don't like kids in general, you'll always love your own kids and OH MY GOD THEY'RE JUST SO FUN."

Think about it carefully -- Is this what you want a kid learning?
And then, every time, we have to awkwardly change the subject instead of head butting the Askers of When while screaming, "DOUBTFUL! I KNOW FUN AND THAT IS NOT IT!", which is totally what we're thinking.

Plus, should the devil really spawn children? I think that No.

I just don't know why honesty is not the best policy in this case, but from what I've seen from the frazzled parents who most commonly approach us with this tired Q&A, honesty is not enough.

Perhaps they would respond better to fire?

So, we've resorted to a variety of different responses based on the various aggression levels of the Askers of When:

Aggression Level: Wannabe Grandparents
Response: You know how selfish we are because you remind us so frequently. It just wouldn't be right for us to bring a child into the world knowing that we'd obviously abandon it in front of the television while we did keg stands with Bubba's home brew before running off on a spontaneous backpacking trip into Desolation Wilderness with nothing but our eatin' knife and a crossbow. NOW WOULD IT?

Aggression Level: Wannabe Great-grandparent
We are terrible awful people who have no excuse for why we do things. We should be put down. (You can't reason with wannabe great-grandparents. They are too sweet and adorable. Just give them the answer that they want OR act so pathetic that they actually begin to hope that you won't procreate.)

Aggression Level: Frazzled parent of young children
Really? You should really work on your salespitch or at least comb the vomit out of your hair before posing that question.

Aggression Level: Understanding parent of teenage children
Really? Yeah. I didn't think so.

Aggression Level: Random Asker of When For Whom This Subject Is None Of Their God Damned Business
We eat delicious little childrens. Like, as a meal. Eating our own would be...I don't know...wrong somehow. We just can't risk the temptation.

Aggression Level: The "Serious" Asker of When For Whom This Subject Is None Of Their Special God Damned Business Either Even Though They Put On Their "I Really Care" Face
Global overpopulation is one of the greatest concerns of our time. We just couldn't, in good conscious, bring more people onto a planet as taxed and resource constrained as this. I mean, if we, as a people, decide to inhabit and destroy other planets, then, certainly we'd consider it. I mean, what are we going to do with our lives otherwise? Pursue happiness or some such nonsense? I think not.

Happiness? Ridiculous.
Unfortunately, none of these responses are adequate, so we keep working up new ones and the Askers keep asking and being dissatisfied with our responses. It's a fruitless and boring game that we play until such time as we are clearly beyond child-bearing age and then asking us such a question would be considered rude and confrontational because what if they can't have kids? Wouldn't that be tragic and sad? We wouldn't want to make them uncomfortable!

Because right now, the question is totally appropriate and not presumptuous or accusatory at all.

OK - so that's what the deal is with us and kids. We're not into it.

Will we live to regret this decision? Maybe. Just like we'll *maybe* live to regret the decision to put a kegerator in our garage. Except that we can hock that thing on Craigslist for $50 if we decide we don't want it anymore and, with a kid, I hear that shit is frowned upon.

Set the countdown to BIG HUGE THING NEWS to 6 posts...


  1. Replies
    1. Feel free to use any of these if they work for you.

  2. Further responses:
    * Oh, well, it's really so sad that you ask, I had to have a medical hysterectomy and (sob) it's just (sob) so (sob) sad (sob).

    * We've been TRYING! We have never even USED contraception! The fertility doctors are stumped. And THANK you for bringing up such a TOUCHY subject.

    * Oh, well, the truth is I'm a lesbian and he's gay, and this is just a marriage of convenience for tax purposes.

    * What with the childhood injury to my pelvis, the doctors think it would kill me to carry a child to term. It might snap and crush vital organs.

    * Well, there's insanity in Bubba's family, you know. They always go mad by their (next year's age) birthday at least. We've been lucky so far, but of course next year he's turning (next year's age). We didn't want a child to have to see that, and of course didn't want him to pass it on either.

    * We're waiting on genetic engineering advances to allow us to select for sports preferences in an embryo.

    * (grab some nearby inanimate object) But...but...but we already have children! How can you speak so thoughtlessly of my dear little Anna here? She may not be as bright as the neighbor's kids, but we love her just the same. (Cuddle the inanimate object, muttering under your breath, as you glare and leave the room.)

    * We consulted an astrologist and they said my chakras didn't align with his aura, so any baby we produced would be terribly unhappy all his life.


    I'm sorry, they just keep coming. You'd think I'd had this experience once or twice.

    Oh, and the people who tell you "well of course you'll love your OWN kids, everyone loves their OWN kids" are selling the biggest line of bullshit of all of the above. You can see it in the really terrible parents. If _everyone_ loved their OWN kids the way such people claim, then you wouldn't see the bastards who abuse/neglect their kids, slice them up verbally and physically, indulge their own wants before solving their kids' needs, etc etc etc. It's entirely possible to end up with a kid you dislike and regret, and trying to deny this obvious fact makes someone either excessively naive or a flat-out liar.

    1. While I'm tempted to use "...just a marriage of convenience for tax purposes." I'd be afraid they'd tell me about the benefit of being able to claim dependents (aka kids). I actually had a friend that told us they were "pregnant with a tax deduction".


    2. Tax deductions are only convenient if you don't have to keep an eye on them (your own or hired) 24 hours a day in order to not be charged with negligence. I mean, I can put the dogs in a crate and go out for dinner; you do that with a kid and you get a visit from the Dept of Family & Child Services and criminal charges.

    3. "* We consulted an astrologist and they said my chakras didn't align with his aura, so any baby we produced would be terribly unhappy all his life."

      I bottomed out on this one and have been rolling it around in the back of my head trying to refine it. I got it today.

      We consulted an astrologist and they said my chakras didn't align with his aura, so our babies would have terrible feng shui.

  3. I think it's awesome when people know they don't want kids. Look at all of the people who have kids and they end up in dumpsters or huffing paint cans when mom is passed out on an overload of meth. I mean, they should have asked themselves if they were qualified to be parents. You should read the book "Complete Without Kids"- it was really great. And I say be honest with people, you'd rather be kid free to go on awesome adventures! Any parent who would say anything negative about that are just jealous that their vacations revolve around hotels with kid friendly non-automatic flushing toilets. ;)

    1. I shall find and read this book you speak of. So far, the "child free" books I've read have been a lot of nonsense, but I have faith in your choices. DON'T DISAPPOINT ME.

      Also, how did you come to read this, mama 'o two adorable chiddrens?

  4. Okay, I am TOTALLY bookmarking this post! Although now that I'm in my - ahem - "Late Forties" this question (mercifully) comes up less-and-less often...

    Even Dear Hubs (with whom I thought:"we had an agreement") occasionally laments the fact that "We won't have Anyone to Take Care of Us in our Old Age." But then I point out all of the sports-cars and Harleys in the garage, the pocket-yacht, and assorted other "Toys" and REMIND him that I would *insist* on being a "Stay-At-Home-Mom" and you can pretty-much "Kiss your retirement plans goodbye."

    The lamentations magically disappear!

    My stock answer has always been: "The battery in my Biological Clock died, and I was too cheap to buy a replacement!"

    Your answers, clearly, are more well thought-out (and photographically documented!)

    Freaking AWESOME post! Thank you!!!


    1. When you need "someone to take care of you", sell the Harleys and hire a nurse.

      There, you're welcome.


    2. Rats. There's no "Like" button! Okay, just picture a thumb's-up sign here! :-)

  5. I'm thinking about it carefully........(yes, with regards to you picking a statue's nose).......

    Yes. Those are the things that Little Man will learn (because, let's be honest, it's funny). He will also learn many other things that most people would deem inappropriate. Husband and I have already had the talk about what's going to happen when Little Man's Kindergarten teacher calls and says, "Hey Mama, Little Man said "fuck" in class today......and then proceeded to spout off his first amendment rights at me."

    It's perfectly fine to not want kids. I think you two would be the fun parents but that's not the point. You know what you want and that's that. A lot of people don't want kids and wind up with them anyway (not me, I want mine)...think of how those kids end up. At least you admit that you don't want them and you know why.

    1. See - and this is why choice is great - if you WANT kids, you can have them and if not, well DON'T. I just don't see a lot of parents being asked "WHY" they're having kids, just "WHEN".

  6. I guess I missed the point...WHY don't you want to have kids? Do you think you'll change your maybe next year?


    (I'm kidding! Don't shoot me with the crossbow! And I'm guessing folks who don't want to have kids get ESPECIALLY frustrated with "maybe you'll change your minds later...")

    I think Bubba trumps you in being able to pull off the crazy face.

    1. Right? He makes THE BEST crazy faces. I pale in comparison. He's way crazier than I am. Obviously.

      Oh, and yeah, "maybe you'll change your mind" has been replaced with "you WILL change your mind" and later, I'm sure, "you'll regret it".


    2. I wish I had something cold, slimy, and gritty to shove up the nose of everyone who has smugly "informed" me that "You'll change your mind someday." (On the other hand, I have my very first niecephew as of last week--a male one--and we are thrilled to have this niecephew that a set of parents wants, a grandkid for the appropriate grandparents...and a baby we can play with and then GO HOME.)

      I agree with the comment further down: "Basically, anyone who questions your reproductive choices is an asshole." I think that's a bingo.

  7. Printed and placed in my pocket for future use.

    I prefer to ski rather than sit through a 3 hour children's t-ball game, or whatever kids do nowadays.

  8. I have many things to say on this topic, so I think I'll just do a bullet-ed list.
    -Picking a statue's nose does not disqualify you from parenting. It should be a requirement. Because that sense of humor you have? It would come in handy for parenting.
    -Our oldest once tried to tap a keg in preparation for a Halloween party when he was about 9 years old. (That might disqualify us from parenting.)
    -We currently have 3 teenage girls (13 through 19) living with us and this is my favorite age. Seriously. I'm as surprised as anybody.
    -I don't actually have an opinion on whether you and Bubba have kids or not. Overpopulation is a huge problem and unless people really want the kids, they shouldn't be having them.
    -Having said that, the idiots seem to be out-breeding us. And I am tired of sending my kids to school with the children of hateful morons. The world needs more young people raised by parents who pick the noses of statues in public, aren't homophobic, say swears and who garden organically.
    -All kids are a total pain in the ass.
    -Your own kids are slightly less irritating than the others. (This isn't entirely true. They are more irritating because they expect more from you. However, you usually love them so much that it sort of balances out.)
    -When Joey was a baby, I sort of wanted to eat her. Like I was so enamored with her that I wanted to occupy the same space that she did. Weird, I know. But not unusual. So your cannibalism joke might be more accurate than you think.
    -If I don't get at least a couple of grand-babies one of these days I will totally put the pressure on. I won't be able to help myself. And I am going to go and apologize to the kids for my future behavior.

    1. I actually hear that a lot - the thing about how the idiots are out-breeding us. I actually have a working theory on why that is and what the long term impact will be on society, but it's way too early for my philosophies about society and this is so not the place for all my hair-brained theories.

      I'm enough of a kook as it is without THAT spilling out.

      Meanwhile, to hopefully instill some of our more useful knowledge on the generations of the future, we try to be good godparents. That way we can concentrate our good influence into short spurts and then release our evils away from their impressionable minds as soon as we leave :)

    2. Slow down on that last one, sister. My grandpa pants are still at the tailors, and I'm in no hurry to pick them up.

    3. Sounds like Wends may need to apologize to people other than the kids for her future behavior ;)

    4. Just so you know, Jeff, ONE OF THESE DAYS does not mean next week. I'm just saying that if I don't get some grandkids to cuddle EVENTUALLY, I'll be sad. Also, the fact that our second to last kiddo leaves for college in a few weeks has me feeling sort of melancholy.

      Also, I plan to sew you an actual pair of grandpa pants when the time comes. Just sayin.

  9. Questions regarding kids are always rude. If you don't have them, then you get the "when" question. If you have one, you get the, "When are you having a brother/sister for that one!" I think maybe the questions stop with number two. UNLESS you decide to have another, and then I think you get the judgmental, "So how many kids are you going to have, anyway?" as if anything more than two is Duggar-level madness.

    Basically, anyone who questions your reproductive choices is an asshole.

    1. You're totally right - it's like there ISN'T a *just right* number of kids. Reproduction is always a matter of everyone's individual opinions. I guess the difference between everyday topics and peoples' opinions on them and reproduction is that with reproduction, people feel like it's perfectly OK to foist their opinions on you, as though you need THEIR guidance or something.

      I'm with you - assholes.

  10. I am LMAO (inside my mind cause I'm at work) at this post and these comments. Finny you are so freaking awesome. We were married for 8 years before we decided to have a child. It seriously had gotten to the point with my family (I come from a HUGE Mormon family that propagates like you would not believe). Case in point - I have 18 nieces and nephews just on MY side:):)We literally told our families "QUIT FUCKING (ok the FUCKING was just in my mind) ASKING!!! When we decide to start trying THEN we will tell you and THEN you may ask". It totally worked:)

  11. I love this post! But as the mother of two I have to lament your lack of children because your kids would totally be the MOST AWESOME FRIENDS for my kids...that is a sadness.
    But oh my god, there are so many people in this world who should not have had kids!! I'm glad some (even the ones who would raise awesomely twisted and weird children)make a conscious choice not to.

  12. Love this post and agree with commenters. I'm 38 and have never had the overpowering urge to have children. Just never have. Maybe it's from having grown up with divorced parents who were constantly screaming & fighting over absolutely nothing, and being left with relatives who didn't like children (us or their own) but who weren't smart enough to either 1) admit it, or 2) not have any in the first place. I'd probably be a good mom, but I enjoy my life as it is. And I agree with comments on overpopulation, planet stretched for resources, morons still breeding, etc.

    My neighbor's granddaughter is 24 and has 3 kids, none of whom she wanted. You could never get her to admit that...but the way she treats them admits it for her. I try to spend time with the kids when they're over. My grandmother's best friend was so kind to my sister and me, and she really made a difference in how we turned out. She was a grown-up outside the family who cared about us and took a real interest in how we were doing. So maybe these kids will get a little boost knowing Miss Kitty, their grandma's neighbor, thinks they're special and can grow up to be good people. My fingers are crossed, anyway.

    Again, great post. If only people who shouldn't be having kids COULDN'T have kids. Or could at least realize they don't have what it takes to raise decent children. If only...

  13. 27 comments. A record? You should be controversial more often. I LOVE IT. And I love you both. Who the hell am I to question your decisions?

  14. Absolutely with you. Amen. I usually respond with "we can't have children do to my husband's injury in World War I." That usually shuts them up.

  15. I really enjoyed this post. I am 39 and been married since I was 20, so have gone through almost 20 years of this shit. I am continually amazed at the brazen attitude that whether or not we intend to have children is anyone's business but our own. My husband and I do, in fact, like children. We just don't need any at our house. We shouldn't have to justify it. As you get older, the comments get more backhanded and it becomes obvious that these "askers of when" make the assumption that it is the femaile's sole decision. I alone must have cooked up this whole thing and must be nothing but a cold, heartless, selfish career driven bitch. There must be something broken in me to not want a child to justify my existence and make my life "complete." Fortunately, I know my own mind and I no longer give a rat's ass what any of them think. I would like to inform these sanctimoniuos types that I would like to stop being subjected to their bitching about not having any disposable income because said children cost so much too....

    I also agree with the above comment that it seems that the wrong people seem to procreate. Remember the film Idocracy? Yikes.

    I'm going to bookmark this post and just refer my eager beaver friends and family to read it themselves next time this comes up!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.