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You're not selfish if you don't want kids.

I want to go out "undercover" with a hidden cam and no food stains and pose as a woman of reproductive age who does not want kids. I wonder what kinds of nerves it would hit. But as you know when I'm not at work (where everyone knows kiddo) I'm with her, conducting experiments and research of other kinds. Like googling HOW TO GET STICKERS OUT OF DOG FUR. So for now I'll just go by what I've heard from several friends. And the verdict is that people can be downright rude when you tell them what your uterus does not want to do. Or what your S.O.'s uterus does or doesn't want to do. As in, "Omg, I know we were enjoying this lovely conversation and you thought I was a polite, civil human being but now that you mention that you don't want kids I'm going to tell you just HOW SELFISH YOU ARE."

To which, of course, you respond--"Wowzers, you're right! Let me grab my significant other...or any other body, really, and just start procreating right on top of the hors d'oeuvres table. Excuse me...."

YEAH, RIGHT.

I wish I could answer for other parents, but as a mom I cannot wrap my brain around it. It's just bad manners. I can sort of relate, though--when I went shopping for Paraguard (the copper, 10+ year IUD that has CHANGED my life) I did have one OB-GYN tell me that I might want to get something "easier to discontinue" because I "only" had one child and I "might change my mind." I was outta that office before he could realize that I'd just puked all over him. In my mind.

If you're a fan of traditional etiquette, the literature generally says that if an interlocuter doesn't bring up their own reproductive plans, then stay the hell away from the subject. Ok, it doesn't say hell but if I wrote etiquette it would. And there's probably a reason why I don't. But I get it. Having kids is currently the "normative" approach in our society--but it is and should always be a choice. That said, as a culture why don't we turn the tables a bit? Mom_after_ed would be thrilled to see this kind of conversational twist:

"I'm thinking of spawning."
"Oh, really! Have you answered The Questionnaire?"
"Huh?"
"You know, The Questionnaire!"

As in (drumroll):

1) State your parenting philosophy in 100 words or less and provide 17 footnotes and at least 3 personal references.
2) Answer the following questions, based on categories:

ACTING LIKE A HUMAN BEING: How do you function on 6 hours of interrupted sleep for 1 year straight with 1-2 people screaming at you?

FINANCES: Have you practiced living on, say, $3000/month less than you're used to? If no, put your penis or vagina away and reconsider everything.

BALANCE: Imagine that a cat just threw up on your foot while a dog was pooping on your bed. I don't care if you have a cat or dog or not. Parenting is all about imagination and invention. So, imagine the above scenario happening multiple times a week. What are you making for dinner?

MANAGEMENT: A child's naptime is from 2-4. You need to be at a municipal office at 3:30 OR ELSE. The child weighs 30#. You are out of clean clothes, laundry detergent, wipes, perfume and cooking oil. Plus the stroller is in the other car. How do you think your life will look 7 hours from now?

HEALTH: You're sick, your favorite nanny is sick, your favorite aunt is sick and your spouse is sick. In fact, they're all puking in your bathroom RIGHT NOW AND YOU HAVE TO CLEAN IT UP. Before having a kid, you swore you'd never be one of those parents who does X, Y, Z. So...how fast can you stuff your ideals in the diaper pail and click on the TV?

SOCIETY: How will you interact with people who don't have or don't want kids? Will you respect that most people who don't want kids have probably thought long and hard about it, as you have just done about your decision? Will you respond with the same courtesy, respect and open-mind that you're teaching your own children to have? Or will you be a complete a-hole and jump on the third rail?

Food stains for thought....

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Me and B.
mom_after_ed
Life on the other side of twee

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