An unpredictable human experience
By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
I’ve never been one to think that babies are cute. I just don’t. I’ll see a picture of someone’s son in a white romper with a fish and boat pattern being held up by their adoring parents, and where others might coo in admiration, I’ll think to myself how his head looks kinda squishy. I’ll try to think up something nice about the child, but all that will come to mind are those constantly wet, drooling lips held in that puckered way babies do best, and those tiny, sticky limbs that I’m afraid of accidentally hurting while changing the little guy. I know none of that makes me sound good, but would it help to know that I was no exception? I looked like a little wrinkly alien wearing pink pyjamas! Though my mother and many other mothers might disagree with me, I think children just don’t get cute for quite a long time.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate children or anything, and in fact my fiancé and I have entertained the idea of having a little girl a couple of times, but I can’t get past some personal obstacles in my way of actually committing. To me, that’s a big deal. Parenting a child is an unpredictable human experience that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and if you’re trying to figure out where a baby fits in your life, that seems like a strong sign it’s not the right time—for me, that time may never strike.
I just can’t see myself giving up my freedom for the role of parent. Call me selfish if you’d like, but why wouldn’t I spend all my time, money, and devoted care on myself to ensure I am the best me I can be, rather than spend it all on a child? After taking a look at a child cost calculator provided by The Measure of Plan, a Canadian financial planning website, it seems quite costly indeed—with college savings included, the cost averages out to around $316,000 for the standard 18 years. Granted, this figure will vary from family to family, but to me those dollar signs are quite clear: Having a kid is a costly endeavour.
I’m nearing the age where it is expected of me to pump out a child or two, especially now that I’m recently engaged, but that lightning bolt of motherhood just hasn’t struck me. Some people to whom I mention my lack of desire to buckle down and buy diapers and strollers may state that I’m still quite young, and still in college, so I shouldn’t rush and maybe shouldn’t even knock on that door yet. Yet others will offer up how much better for me it’ll be to have kids early for a myriad of reasons including having the energy to keep up with them well into their youth. But what about my youth? What about having the excess income to afford the finer things in life, like a round of drinks with my friends on a whim, or a trip to the Bahamas? Or several trips across the world—can you imagine! I just don’t think I could give that up. People always say that you can still travel with children, but it’s been proven that crying babies and airplanes don’t mix, and going to the beach with two folding chairs and two beers sounds a lot better to me than two toddlers and a wagonful of inflatables and shovels.
I suspect there are a lot of people out there who would regard me as unsuitable for providing advice on whether one should have a child or not and I’d agree, but I’d also like to follow up with how that’s not what I’m trying to do. What I am in fact doing is saying that, should you choose to not have kids, that’s perfectly okay—babies aren’t for everyone. Go ahead and enjoy another drink and stay up a little later, or purchase that ticket to New Zealand because you can, and if you find down the road that you have indeed changed your mind like I’m sure many people in your life have repeated like it’s a mantra, give it a shot!