1. notleia says:

    Off topic, because of course I am:
    Being the childless harridan that I am, I guess I will never understand what drives some people to have bunches of kids. I mean, I like babies — other people’s babies who go away before too long. They’re basically smol, cute animals.
    But toddlers are cripplingly dysfunctional proto-people. For several years they’re basically tiny drunks who can’t/won’t regulate their volume and emotions and impulses and probably their bladders.

    • I prefer toddlers over infants. Infants are even more fragile, and toddlers are at least kind of getting to the point where one can talk to them and teach them more.

    • 2-year olds regulate their own emotions all the time. They just have less self-awareness and haven’t been indoctrinated with social norms yet, so they don’t understand what not to do or when (or why). I greatly disliked babies until I had my own. Now I love babies. And my 2 and a half year old daughter gives me more joy and excitement than anything else under the sun. The processes of pregnancy, birth, and childcare change you profoundly. That change isn’t relegated only to females. There’s hormonal changes that men go through during pregnancy, as well, especially men who are deeply involved with child care and are very close emotionally and physically to their spouse and child. All in all, it teaches you that being a selfish jerk isn’t a great or even enjoyable way to live your life. Because everything you dislike about babies, you suddenly see reflected in your own behavior. Only in more socially acceptable ways. So be careful how you criticize. . . they’re not proto-people. They’re full people.

      • notleia says:

        But you only have one, right? You aren’t trying to manage a herd of tiny drunks.

        And I’d like to push back against the notion that childless people are selfish jerks. Like, maybe you were when you were childless, I don’t know you that well, but I am pretty good at delayed gratification and taking another’s needs into consideration. When Oldcat was deteriorating from her thyroid issue and wanting to be fed every couple of hours, I did, in fact, get up for nightly feeds when she went mrrf in my face at 2 in the morning.

        Heck, even now I have to delay my internetly gratification when Hauspanzer wants to cuddle and poke my face with her claws when I’m not petting her enough to suit her. (I should really teach her a better method to get my attention, but she knows that one works.) But I can leave Hauspanzer and Potato home alone without CPS getting on my case. Cats and houseplants are the sort of dependents I have the resources to support.

        • I wasn’t so much saying every childless person is selfish as I was saying that having a child shows you just how much more selfish you are than you think you are. If you had a child, you’d see what I mean, but you probably won’t believe me until that happens. I didn’t believe anyone that told me before I had a baby (at least not just how true it was). Every parent I’ve ever talked to says the same thing. It’s basically a law of the universe. And yeah, I only have one, and previously two cats (one passed away tragically). It takes an enormous amount of effort. Having a bunch is still very difficult to imagine, but I’ve learned to try not to say, “Never.” Life has a way of taking unexpected turns, and we’re always in a state of constant change. I wonder a lot about, “How could I feel I’m giving several kids as much of my heart as just this one?” I don’t know how it works. But apparently it does. It really is a mysterious thing. . . I was sure I wouldn’t like kids ever. And was actually afraid I wouldn’t like my own baby. Not that I wouldn’t care for her, but that I wouldn’t LIKE her. I was proved 100% wrong the moment I saw her. Anyways, childbearing is hard on the mother, and my wife had a rough pregnancy with nausea and bad post-partum anxiety, so I have zero desire to try to pressure her for another child. I never pressured her for one to begin with (it was only something we mutually agreed upon). But I can say that having Willow has infinitely enriched my life. Having a child puts an exclamation mark on everything in life. The highs are higher, the lows are lower. It’s all more than worth it in the end.

          • notleia says:

            I’m going to assume that’s the hormones talking. 😛

            But yeah, my mom said it’s different with your own kids, but BEING one of those kids….I have mixed feelings about that.

            But I’m not gonna have kids just because the culture pressures me to have some. Heck, I moved cross country to get away from the Southern rural notion that people are somehow not adults if they don’t have a kid by their mid-twenties (made worse by the higher teenage pregnancy rate). Like, stop trying to sell me a tent when that is not my circus and those are not my monkeys.

            • Leanna says:

              Just want to agree wholeheartedly with both here. Parenthood is likely the most dramatic means of showing you when you are selfish and teaching you to put someone else first.

              Also, we definitely need people in the world who do not have babies because parenthood takes tremendous attention and time and childless adults will get more done. 😉 (And it takes a community to raise a child)

              Also also, you do you, notleia. This internet stranger thinks you’re pretty awesome. *thumbs up*

              • You are absolutely right, we definitely need more single people in the world. We definitely need to make it socially acceptable not to get married. It’s a constant battle, though. Many of the saints who became nuns and priests dealt with that exact same mentality from their own families.

            • Yeah, I get annoyed with the constant, “SO WHEN ARE YOU HAVING FIVE MORE?” questions. I think a lot of people just get excited and aren’t self-aware enough to realize they’re wrongfully pressuring, or that different people live different lives. Kindof like you criticizing people with lots of kids… both lifestyles are fine.

What do you think?