Candace Owens was wrongly shamed for asking a question about childlessness and angry, bitter women like Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, and Kathy Griffin.
I’m on the verge of being an empty-nester and I couldn’t be happier. I never wanted children and I really hated raising children. Being child-free will be lovely. That sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it? But that’s just the beginning; it’s not the end.
Here’s the really important thing: Despite being a Foghorn Leghorn kind of person about children, I don’t regret having children. Not one little bit. It’s not just that I love my children and am proud of the people they became. It’s also that having children was the best thing that could have happened to me.
At the most obvious level, children forced me to grow up. As long as I was childless, I could enjoy a perpetual adolescence, one in which I always came first. Sure, I was able to get through college and graduate school, and to hold a responsible job, but at the end of the day, I did it all for me. I got up in the morning for me, prepared food for me, went to work for me and, during my non-working hours, did things that made me happy.
Nothing much changed when I got married. My husband and I, although we worked very hard at demanding jobs, nevertheless tailored our lives to our wants, our needs, and our desires. Instead of being all about me, life now was all about us.
But when the kids came along . . . oh, my! Suddenly, it was all and entirely about them. As long as they were little, everything was about the absolute necessity of fulfilling their core physical needs: Feeding them, keeping them clean, getting them to sleep, keeping them physically safe, and imbuing them with emotional stability and love. Even when they weren’t babes in arms, my children’s needs continued for many years. As they got older, and their immediate physical needs lessened, there were new needs, not the least of which was the driving middle-class need to give them the best academic and extra-curricular opportunities possible.
The reality is that, with kids, self-indulgence ceased being a lifestyle and became a very rare privilege. I sorely missed being able to sleep through the night (a skill I never remastered, even after my kids ceased to be babies), I missed privacy, I missed having a minute to myself, I missed a quiet home. In other words, I missed the “me, me, me” lifestyle I had so enjoyed.
Also, unlike other mothers in the circles in which I now found myself, there was no offsetting compensation in the form of enjoying children. I don’t like children. I find them dull. Childish games, the ones for the ten and under set, are dull — something I felt when I was a child too (explaining my status as a social outcast). Kids and their games start getting interesting when they’re in their teens, so I at least had the blessing of enjoying my kids more with every passing year, rather than hating the teen years.
I also don’t find childishly lisping voices charming, and their innocent delight in the world does nothing for me. That is, I do not look on the world with fresh eyes because I have a child at my side. In this, I disagree with Jordan Peterson, who thinks that people should have children for the sheer pleasure of being around their sense of wonderment.
For me, when it came to children, they were sheer mental and physical drudgery. All those people who said to me, “Cherish these moments because you’ll miss them when they’re gone,” were wrong. I didn’t cherish them and I don’t miss them.
Still, as I said when I opened this essay, I love my children, I’m proud of who they’ve become, and I like them now and look forward to having them in my life for many decades to come. They were worth the effort and they forced me to be a mature person who moved beyond living only for herself and her selfish pleasures. Maturity is a much more enjoyable quality than adolescent selfishness. Interestingly, just today, Matt Walsh made the same point from the male perspective, although he saw marriage, not just having children, as part of that trajectory: [Read more…]