In the past couple of months, I’ve spoken on a panel, attended two parties in DC, participated in two photoshoots, and contributed to a relationship roundtable discussion. I’ve also attended numerous events in the Pittsburgh-area — happy hours, mixers, meetings, brunches, house parties, game nights; you name it, I’ve been there. In that time, I’ve probably met and/or talked to at least 150 to 200 different people in the 25 to 35 age range. Mostly African-American, mostly educated, and mostly well-adjusted.
And, in these dozens upon dozens of conversations, one overarching theme always seemed to repeat itself.
No one, I repeat, NO ONE wants to have kids
I realize that I’m being (a little) hyperbolic. I know that the people I talked to were mainlyÂ comprisedÂ of never-married-before grad students and young professionals — people who’d probably be less likely to have kids and less likely to want them than the generalÂ populace. Also, I did not discuss child raising and child bearing with each of these people I met and/ or talked to. In fact, the last time I met and/or talked to a large group of people — last Saturday at Reminisce (the monthly 90′s party VSB helps throw at Liv Nightclub in D.C.) — the main topics of discussion were “Do you want a shot?“, “Why is she in the men’s bathroom?“, “What’s your name?“, and “Wait…I can’t hear you. The music is too loud. WHAT’S YOUR NAME????”
But, whenever having children and families did happen to be brought up,Â ambivalence was easily the most popular answer. It’s not that they definitely don’t want kids, it’s just that they’re definitely not sure about it and it doesn’t seem like it would be the end of their world’s if they never had them. Surprisingly, this mindset isn’t held about marriage. While people definitely have their doubts about the institution of marriage, lifelong monogamy, and actually being married, we still generally do envision ourselves walking down the alter eventually. Kids just seem to muck things up.
I’ve been wondering why so many seem to feel this way. Having children is, frankly, the reason why we’re here. Why is it that so many of us are apathetic towards what should be the most natural human instinct? Since I couldn’t track down each of these people to ask them why, I figured I’d just ask a guy I have access to, a person who feels just as (if not more) “Eh” about having children: Me.
Champ: So Champ, tell me: Why don’t you want to have children?
Champ: Good question. Before I begin, I just wanted to say that I think you’re an awesome writer. You’re a f*cking rock star, man.
Champ: No problem. Anyway, it’s not that I don’t want to have kids. I love kids. What man hasn’t fantasized about having a Mini-Me following him around, mimicking him, and generally just always thinking that he’s biggest and best person on Earth? I’m also curious about what type of parent I’d be and what type of person I’d mold. I mean, all parents love their kids, but would I actually like mine?
Most importantly, since I probably wouldn’t have a child out of wedlock (knocking on wood), this tiny person would be a physical manifestation of the love his/her mother and I share. I imagine us (my wife and I) sitting on the couch and watching our kid do kid things while we give ourselves a look that says “Look at what we did!”
Thing is, each of the last couple of paragraphs represent gravy to me. They’re non-essentials, gift bags for the soul. I don’t need to be a father to feel fulfilled, to feel purposeful, to feel loved, and I don’t feel any earthly duty to procreate.
Perhaps this mindset — which seems to be more and more popular — is proof of our burgeoning egoism and self-involvement. We don’t want to have kids because those little motherf*ckers will slow us down. Maybe it’s evolution. We’re lucky enough to live in a place and a time where it’s no longerÂ necessaryÂ to have children to help you plow the fields and milk the cows and sh*t.
Also, I wouldn’t discount the effect the internet has had on us. Historically, our drive to have children has always been tied to legacy. Basically, since we can’t live forever, we leave a piece of ourselves behind so a part of us does. But, with the advent of social media and everyone being able to carve out their own little niche in the universe, perhaps this fills that legacy need.
Champ: Wow. That was a great freakin answer. I’m officially in awe.
Champ: Yea. Sometimes I even impress myself. Hmm. Perhaps I should reconsider this child having thing to see if I can create something even awesomer than me.
Champ: Perhaps you should
So, you have the Champ’s answer. People of VSB, what’s yours? Do you find that more and more people seem to be “Eh” about having children? Why do you think that is? Also, how do you personally feel about being a parent?