I hate being a parent. I hate parenting.
I don’t hate my children.
I think it’s difficult for a lot of people to reconcile these facts if they have not been in a position to experience it for themselves.
My children are neat people. I don’t lose sight of that fact. They’re witty, weird, intellectually curious, passionate, creative. They have quite a lot of my favorite qualities in a human being, in fact. I would describe my favorite friends this way as well.
Having children in my life has required that I spend an enormous amount of time on tasks I have never enjoyed and would never pursue as a career – tasks that are typically not something I have to do for my friends.
I hate pregnancy. I hate child care. I hate preparing food. I hate cleaning. I hate dealing with humans’ many and terrible excretions. I hate being interrupted. I hate mediating. I hate being touched frequently. I hate noise. I hate having to deal with intense displays of emotion. I hate being responsible for people’s safety and well-being.
All of what I’ve just described are pretty much a constant part of being a full-time parent or caregiver to children. I would hate having to do all of the above on a constant basis for a parent, a friend, or even a lover. I would hate it even if I were being paid (and I’m not paid).
Just like many people seem to believe you can’t hate being a parent without also hating your children, they seem to believe that it works in reverse, too. If you love your children you’ll love being a parent.
Maybe it has worked that way for some people. That’s not how it works for me. Trust me, I tried. My oldest is 15. When he was born I discovered that I loved him more than I ever thought I could love a human being. If I haven’t started loving being a parent after 15 years and 4 beloved children, it’s just not going to happen.
I’m really not sure where I’m going with this. I just wish I’d been supported in living a child-free existence. I’m fiercely supportive of my friends that don’t want children, and I hope that in the future, more people will realize that with 7 billion people on the planet, we’ve got this procreation thing handled and it really is okay if not everyone participates.
Trust me, they can still enjoy their life without knowing what it’s like to squeeze a 13-15 inch head out of their vagina (or being cut open because said head refuses to exit said vagina).