Thoughts on Action
"Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live." ~ Nicolas de Chamfort

Bad Reasons to Have a Baby

Do people have kids because they’re bored? Drew and I had one of those didn’t-leave-the-house-during-daylight-hours Saturdays this weekend. You know the one. Nothing sounds good. Do you wanna…play Scrabble? No. Run on the beach? No. Complete an adult science fair project? No. Wait, what?

I couldn’t help thinking how nice it would be to never have to have the do you wanna conversation again. And when you’ve got kids, there’s no more wanna, only hafta. Hafta get them to soccer practice, hafta slather them in peanut butter to get the gum out of their hair, etc. Sure, some of those activities suck, but at least your thumb-twiddling days are over – you have a pre-defined purpose for your days and nights.

Now it’s my first Monday as a highly under-employed Lady of Leisure, and I’m terrified that I’m going to be crawling the walls soon. Having more free time sounded great, in theory. And I plan on taking advantage of it – figuring out how to pronounce (and do) Bikram yoga, flossing at the frequency recommended by my dentist, etc. But too much free time can also be a curse. It leads to things like watching Breaking Bad – The Complete First Season in one sitting (sorry, Jen, you’ve been outed), or loading your cats into the double-stroller for a spin around the neighborhood.

Is my fear of too much free time (these pointless cave-dwelling Saturdays) going to sway my decision about having a baby? I have to question myself. Because I’ve come up with some truly embarrassing reasons over the years of why having a baby sounds like a good idea:

  • Would like an excuse to eat like a wild pig
  • Once transformation to total pigginess is complete, would like to be showered with false compliments on Facebook about my “glow”
  • Could win $10,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos if one of the cats snags a diaper and gets squashed by a fallen baby (check out this video, minute 1:09)
  • Would like to wear sweatpants posing as jeans, and still be accepted into society
  • Could someday buy family-sized bags of Fritos without getting judgmental stare from store clerk

I’m joking. Sort of. But these are almost as bad as the real reasons some people come up with to have kids. Like:

  • Saving a failed marriage (yes, let’s add sleep deprivation and a loss of financial stability into the mix!)
  • Wanting someone to take care of you in your old age (strangers vs. family for changing my adult diaper? I vote stranger.)
  • Wondering how good-looking the kid would be (try the What Will My Baby Look Like Generator instead – it’s free, and you can just delete the fictitious baby if it starts crying)
  • Having someone to love you unconditionally (except when they’re teenagers and hate you with a burning, seething passion for not purchasing the correct brand of skinny jeans)

So where does “being bored” fall on this continuum? Is it a seemingly bad reason wrapped around a good-underneath reason like “I want something more worthwhile to fill my days”? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m looking too closely.

There are probably worse reasons to have a baby. If you have suggestions, send ‘em my way through a Comment – it’s probably time to compile a list. In the meantime, I guess I’ll get back to the new office (funny how I had to quit my job to get one with a window). PS, that’s my new co-worker, Olivia, making a break for it.

14 Responses to Bad Reasons to Have a Baby

  • Andra Gibbons says:

    We watched the entire first season of Breaking Bad the weekend before last. No joke. Elizabeth was the one who suggested that we watch it because she watched it in her science class. Who knew my nerdy step-daughter could inform us on what is cool. There were probably child-friendly things that we should have been doing as wanna-be good parents. But sometimes it’s just really fun to toss your kids a family-size bag of fritos and tell them to go into the other room and fend for themselves. And they did. And it was nice.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Alright, that’s 2 family-sized Fritos references. That’s it, I’m going to have to go buy a bag.

  • Emalita says:

    Who is going to teach you how to use/keep up with new technology? At 3, Liam has already showed me how to do stuff on an ipad and can pretty much operate our DVR (to tape Dora and Diego but that’s beside the point). Think of the kid as in-house IT ;)

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Is this another slam on my VHS taping of the soaps? Well…perhaps I could use some updating in that area. Kate suggested a similar post topic, it’s in the to-draft list!

  • matt hill says:

    “Kids are great, you can teach them to hate the same stuff you do” – Homer Simpson. You could also use them as an excuse to not have to do something, although said kid may make other people come up with fake excuses to avoid you. Also, dont forget about that government cheese! (You were asking for bad reasons right?)

  • kareinabambina says:

    Peer pressure. I know a couple who is having kids because it’s what they believe they are expected to do. I thought that sh*t stopped once you left high school?

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      *Sigh* Unfortunately not. I have a lot of girlfriends who feel a good amount of pressure not only from their peers, but also from their parents and in-laws. I consider myself very lucky that I’m not in that boat – thank God for all the nieces and nephews that have already been pumped out!

  • Scott says:

    I’m convinced that some people have kids so they have built-in excuses to get out of doing stuff. No, I can’t work that weekend, little Billy has ____. No one will ever challenge you. Everyone has to take you at your word. Just make up an excuse that has something to do with spending more time with your kids and everyone has to accept it.

    It’s like a big, messy, screaming “get out of jail free” card. Except for the whole “it’s already like jail” part of it.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      True. Even the things I’d want to get out of – say, a company picnic – start to sound a little better when pitted against dealing with a toddler temper tantrum.

  • Onel says:

    Please add to the list these reasons “filling voids in their lives”, “lack of ambitions in life”, and t he saddest of all “giving up on their own lives”

    I have the misfortune of watching some very dear friends go down this route of having babies thinking that it will fill whatever void is ailing them or thinking that this baby will be the solution to their troubles :(

    Most of them are unfortunately children of divorced parents and seeing them have these babies so young can only make you think their story will only go down the same as their parents’

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      The “giving up on their own lives” thing is something that totally irks me too – it’s truly the saddest thing I’ve ever seen when I hear people talk about how disappointed they are in themselves, or things that they don’t like about themselves, and then just sort of throw their hands up in the air and say, “Oh well, all I hope is that my kid can do better.” There’s definitely a full blog post coming on this eventually. :)

  • M. Spain says:

    I’ve been giving this some thought over the last couple months. A lot of my friends/people I grew up with/people I went to school with are either pregnant, wishing they were or wishing they had the financial/job stability to be. None of them have turned 30, yet. I mention this because of the brouhaha that has been going on for years now about women delaying motherhood until their mid-to-late thirties. I guess statistics don’t lie and if they say that women are having fewer kids and having the later on in life, I’ll have to agree, but that’s not what I see when I look around. All the people I know who have kids or want to have them like “right now!” are under 30.

    These days there seems to be no place for me to hide and escape this second wave baby boom that seems to be lurking in every corner. In the course of the last month, three (three!!!!) friends have called to break the news. “I’m pregnant!!!!”. And there I am, grinning like a Cheshire cat, saying things like “I’m soooo happy for you” while ‘When all is said and done’ by ABBA is playing in my head (I’m sure when they wrote that song they got their inspiration from all their friends becoming parents and vanishing from the face of the Earth). We say goodbye to each other and I know this is the last I’ll see of them. Although, to be honest, I’m used to it by now: where I live, people disappear when they get a boyfriend, so I’m used to spending weekends alone (yep, I’m single).

    The question that’s been nagging at me is: “Why does everybody want this????” and “Why don’t I want this????” and “What’s wrong with everyone?????” and “What’s wrong with me?????”. @ Onel made some good points: “filling voids in their lives”, “lack of ambitions in life”, “giving up on their own lives”. The second one I’ve thinking about myself for quite a while now. All the girl I know went to University, got their degrees, then their master’s degrees, then they kept doing things because everyone knows how it goes in Spain: we’re hoarders when it comes to qualifications. So they work hard to get all those things and then they go and become wives, housewives and mothers. And that’s the point I wanted to make: where I live (small, inland town) that’s what all the girls seem to aspire to in life. And, to be honest, there’s not much else to do around here. So, I think my options are limited: leave for the big cities, leave for the big cities or… leave for the big cities.

    • Maybe Lady
      Maybe Lady says:

      Well, perhaps that’s your answer then! I’m sure there’s a much higher concentration of Childfree populations in the bigger cities, so you’re probably less likely to receive that “Guess what, I’m pregnant!” phone call from the friends you meet there.

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