Want Children? Time Magazine Thinks You're Delusional

Posted on by Jennifer Bardall (MrsJenB)
URL for sharing: http://thisorth.at/3m0h
There's not a single parent out there who wouldn't freely admit, probably with a beer or a glass of wine in their hand and a dazed expression on their face at the time, that parenting is hard work. The hardest work ever. Ever ever. And yet every parent I have ever talked to has said almost in the same breath that it's the most rewarding work they could imagine. There's not a single one who would wish themselves back to a time before children.

Time.com recently reported, though, that parents are pretty much kidding themselves when they declare that parenting is so rewarding, so fulfilling. Sure, they state, we already knew that parents have less satisfying marriages and are angrier people overall than people who don't have children. But now it turns out that studies show that parents exaggerate the benefits of procreation in order to make themselves feel better about how much life actually, well...sucks.

Gee, isn't it great that we have studies like this to tell us how we really feel about our lives? I mean, I was totally unaware that my existence made my parents unhappy, that my decision to start a family of my own was made as a result of being brainwashed, and that I might as well just pick up a gun and put it to my head since that would be cheaper and achieve the same result in the end.

Looking into the tests which were performed, though, it becomes clear that the participants never had a chance. They were presented with the dollars and cents involved with raising a child and were actually expected to not idealize parenting when asked if they agreed or disagreed with statements like "Non-parents are more likely to be depressed than parents." Come on. Of COURSE these parents are going to agree with that! Because they were just challenged by that dollar amount. Their choice in life was just questioned. They are going to defend their lifestyle choice because they've been threatened.

If you told a dog owner that they were foolish because their dog does nothing but poop on the carpet and bark too much and shed everywhere, do you think they'd agree with you? No. They'd give you a dozen examples off the top of their head of how owning that animal enriches their life. But really, in black and white? The dog ruins the carpet and jumps all over the place. It's so clear. To everyone but the dog's owner.

You can't tell me that I'm operating under a grand illusion for wanting to raise a family of my own, just like I couldn't tell a person who doesn't want kids that they're wrong or selfish. And if they were to tell me I'm stupid for wanting to have children, I'd give them every reason in the world why I'm not. Even if I were operating on 5 minutes of sleep at the time and had three screaming, snotty children hanging all over my soiled clothing. They'd be the goshdarned cutest and smartest screaming little snot-buckets you'd ever meet.

The fact is, regardless of how many studies are performed and how many conclusions are arrived at, emotionally-driven motives can not be quantified. And at the end of the day the desire to reproduce is just as much an emotional drive as an instinct encoded into our DNA.

So I'll be trying and trying for my family, thankyouverymuch. And I'll be investing a ton of coin in jugs of wine their education and health and well-being. And just like with marriage, every moment may not be sunshine and unicorns...but at the end of the day I won't want it any other way.

What's the skinny on having kids?

1624 views & 15 votes

Debate It! 3

I agree, what a dumb (and very poorly written) article; it only proves selfishness.

Posted By BrianN,

As a parent, I appreciate what you say. I disagree, however, that emotions cannot be quantified. That normal parents are willing to hold so much cognitive dissonance about the costs of child-rearing is a testament to the power of parenthood to completely redefine our expectations and values. And if we didn't do so, well...I guess humanity would never have become the most dominant species on the planet, right? A species so dependent on long-term rearing could simply not maintain without dedicated parents. So, yes, this shit is definitely the product of natural selection, a powerful force in itself.

This stupid interpretation of the study covered by the article is just another example, more broadly, of popular journalists' penchant for emphasizing either the benefits or the costs, often in terms of such silly, vacuous concepts as "happiness" and "quality of life." If I wanted to spend my life utterly free of responsibility to anyone but myself, not only would I have tried to convince my wife to abort who is now our beloved, sweet, precocious little daughter. But I would also move to a fucking log cabin and live off the Good Earth.

I'm so fucking sick of people questioning my decisions and my values because they are so tied to their own as non-breeders (or because they are so bitter because they are shitty parents and non-robust individuals who can't handle work/life balance). To them, I say, "Go live in a log cabin somewhere and rely on no one, you po-mo bastards. I'm sure you harbor cognitive dissonance of your own."

Posted By Brash Equilibrium,

By the way, by "this stupid interpretation," I did not mean this ToT, which was great!

Posted By Brash Equilibrium,

Make a Comment

You must be signed in to add a comment. login | register
view profile
You are now following
You are no longer following
test message