If you mention to a parent that life would be better without children, you are immediately assumed to be one of those people who just doesn't understand, because you don't have kids. You'll then be shown several photos that you're socially programmed to pretend are cute of their child progressing from looking like a tiny, crack-addicted vagrant, to looking like a tiny, crack-addicted vagrant with braces, as the parent embarks on a tear-filled, Prozac-induced reflection on parental joys and woes.
However, even though having children is at this point a necessity for the perpetuation of our species, when you consider child-rearing objectively, as the great Will Smith said, "Parents just don't understand": having kids kind of blows.
1. Having children makes you less happy.
There are as many reasons to potentially have children as tear drops on Taylor Swift's guitar, but when the emotional bleeding heart clots, sometimes you find out—like the tear drops—those reasons are just…gonorrhea.
It's no surprise that 87% people will report that that their main objective in procreating is "the joy of having children." However, 7 billion people later, it is surprising that they haven't figured out that "joy" is one perk you shouldn't be expecting from the bitter pill that is the spawn of your wife not just shutting her damn mouth about it and taking the actual bitter pill. Not only is parenthood void of more reported joy, but "Parenthood is not associated with enhanced mental health since there is no type of parent who reports less depression than non-parents."
So where does this discrepancy between self-appraisal and actual reports come from? Well, we've evolved to believe that pro-creation and evolutionary success are integral parts of being a good, functional member of society because apparently society consists primarily of my grandma. So, there's a measure of social desirability involved. In addition, we are prone to effort justification, a reducer of cognitive dissonance. When we sacrifice a lot for a goal, we're more likely to rate that goal favorably to justify said sacrifice.
At the end of the day, we just aren't very good at affective forecasting, or being able to discern how an event will make us feel in the future. Maybe it's a good idea to consult history before repeating it.
2. Kids cause spousal dissatisfaction.
It's said that men think about "six" every "sex" seconds. I may think that's a fallopian argument, and don't necessarily agree with the (cunt)ingency of that mode of thinking, but an important part of any relationship is intimacy. Some couples may turn to children to mend a troubled marriage, only to find their bond in shambles. Obviously, in this situation, the most important point to emphasize is that it's NOT the child's fault…because children are assholes and should routinely be lied to. In reality, "The presence of a child is significantly associated with lower marital satisfaction in every model…"
Of course a troubled tryst can't be fixed by a child. That's like putting a Band-Aid on a Kardashian vagina! What about fulfilled, close mates who chose to have children? Well, unfortunately, the prognosis is equally dire: "Spouses who were more satisfied prior to pregnancy had children relatively early in marriage, and parents experienced greater declines in marital satisfaction compared to nonparents."
3. Kids hate women.
Women have come a long way the last two centuries. While they were once reduced to slaving away as housewives, they're now free to stay at home and watch Real Housewives. Just because women are free to have their book clubs and fly their planes, it doesn't mean there isn't a long road ahead to gender equality, particularly in the workplace.
When women are on their periods and being all hysterical, they often complain about receiving less pay than men for equal work. Part of the disparity in pay can be explained by some of the struggles women have to deal with as a function of child-rearing. According to the University of New Mexico, "Moms earn up to 14% less than women who don't have children." In America, maternity leave isn't as widely available to women as in other developed countries. Only 59% of the workforce has access to even unpaid, job-protected leave at all, let alone paid leave. This means that a sick kid often means missing work and losing money.
And have you seen what babies do to nipples?
4. You're in just as good of shape without kids when you get older.
After college, I moved back in with my parents for a while, but I didn't tell people I lived with my parents. I told people my parents lived with me. If you live with your parents, that's pathetic. If your parents live with you, that's…Chinese.
The point is, we exalt those who carry the burden of their parents in their golden years because of course they'd receive better care with our kids than at some old folks home where the veggies smell like piss and the piss smells like veggies.
So is it true? Are the elderly with children happier and receive better care? Like their trips up the stairs, not so fast. Childless elders who are disabled don't receive less care than those with children. Reinforcing the lack of perceived joy that accompanies having kids, they also don't report less psychological well-being, and are generally happier than parents who co-reside with their adult children.
An old Donald Rumsfeld or a young Benjamin Button.
5. It's kind of a shitty world out there for kids.
So maybe you haven't been convinced that you're making a terrible mistake by having children and you value things like "the future of the species" and "Chuck E. Cheese" and "amateur, unintentionally abstract pictures of animals done in crayon that you hang on the fridge" and "polysyndeton." Even if you believe that no matter how annoying they are on planes, children still deserve a shot at cruising at the altitude of existence, at least remember one thing: being a kid kind of sucks.
The proverb says that when it comes to raising a child, it takes a village. Unfortunately, most villages are less Sandals resort, and more having to resort to only wearing sandals because you can't afford shoes (although there's likely a Sandals resort in the area). In the developing world, about 1 billion children are seriously deprived, but before you think this is an advertisement featuring a man with an unshaven beard holding one of Brangelina's borrowed kids and asking for 13 cents a day to feed a child who will get half a penny of it, trust us, it's not.
It would be indisputably terrible to be a child in most of the world. That's a reflection of how devolved we still are as a species and prompts Hitler to shit on Gandhi in hell (no amount of goodwill replaces faith in Jesus). So what about children in the first world whose parents' lives look way better on paper? Isn't it all butterflies and Kirk Cameron or whatever kids are into these days?
Menace to piety.
Not quite. Almost a quarter of the children living in America are in poverty and nearly 22% are living in food insecure homes, which is an increase from five years ago. Not only do more than 25% of the children in America have shitty circumstances, but because there is outstanding wealth in the United States, they're reduced to kicking rocks down the street while little Tommy two houses down is jumping off his T-rex diving board into a pool of ice cream.
Imagine how sadistic badgrl1 is! 🙂
In addition, bullying in schools is far from the exception as some statistics have revealed up to 77% of children perceive to be the victims of bullying in at least one forum. Sure, maybe the majority of that is social networking bullying, but it doesn't take a long time of people saying "lol dude ur like such a @$$" before you start to believe it.
At the end of the day, it's your choice whether you want to have a kid or not. Just remember, it's your happiness, your kids, and us at Denny's for Sunday brunch who have to deal with the consequences.