Last week I came across an interesting article in Time magazine entitled The Childfree Life: When having it all means not having children. The cover showed an attractive couple lying on the beach looking happy and relaxed with no children in sight. Basically, this couple looked just the opposite of how Derrick and I look when lying on the beach, attractiveness included. (Part of adulthood is accepting what will never be, and for us, looking attractive while while lying on the beach falls into that category.)
The article explained how the U.S. birthrate is dropping sharply as more and more couples are choosing childlessness as a viable and fulfilling life option. This didn’t surprise me; we’ve seen that trend growing for decades. But the writers real point–and the point of the piece–was how happy these people are without children. Life Is Good, it would seem, for the childless-by-choice. And this surprised me even less. Life is easier, calmer, less busy, less stressful, less messy, less annoying, less fattening, less expensive, less guilt-ridden, and less heartbreaking without children? Tell us parents something we don’t know.
The best two things about Not Having Kids would be:
1) You wouldn’t have to sell cookie dough with a two thousand percent markup every September to unsuspecting frenemies.
2) You wouldn’t have to go to WalMart. Ever again. (Can you imagine?)
Oh, wait, I forgot there’s a third:
3) You would never have to settle a loud and violent fight over a Pez dispenser in the backseat of the minivan. And a minivan–you wouldn’t even know what that was. (Can you imagine?)
The writer of this article makes a solid point: Kids. Who needs ’em?
Then again, this writer may have never witnessed conversations like the following, which took place in the backseat of my minivan, between my eight-year-old son, Ethan, and his ten-year old cousin, Tucker:
Tucker: “Would you rather be a donut, like a big donut, or a donut hole?”
Ethan (without hesitation): “A donut hole. That way if someone tried to get me, I could just roll away really fast.”
Tucker: “Yeah, but if you were a big donut, you could just, like, hit people, like go back and forth and smack against them really hard and get them out of the way.”
Ethan: “But if I was a donut hole, I’d just roll away from you, or go under you, and I’d get away. Or if you hit me, like if you were a maple bar, I’d just fly really high into the air and it would be awesome.”
Tucker: “Yeah.” This exchange was followed by a long silence as both boys look out the window to ponder the finer points of their discussion.
I think this heady dialogue proves my point: The case against children is good, but the case for the donut hole is better.