You can give them back. That is the short answer. Other people’s children are adorable. They are, as far as you know, unflawed, perfect children who are more or less well-behaved although they might get cranky or fussy sometimes. And why do you think that? Because you never have to be with them during their temper tantrums and nighttime feedings or when they’re throwing food all over the kitchen. And we all know that children get cranky, behave poorly, vomit, and cry. But if it’s not your child, then it’s not your problem. At least not everyday for the next 18 years.
I am a babysitter. I watch my niece during the daytime, sometimes at night. But I know at the end of every day she has parents who are going to want to spend time with her so that I can do childless, single people, stuff, which for me includes spending 8 hours bingewatching Once Upon a Time, taking two-hour naps, and staring at laptop screen the other 8 hours left in my day.
People always ask me why I don’t want children and I’ll tell you why. Tiny me, before puberty and the terrible thing that is adulthood could crush my imagination, always dreamed of having a big wedding with a bigger dress and an even bigger house. All I was waiting for was the perfect husband with his long, lean body and big, fluffy afro, to tango into my life, sweep me from blissful reality to romance-drenched dream, gift me an adorable puppy for our first Christmas, and build our lives together by taking random trips and hiking with our large dog in beautiful forests. There were no children in that dream. Still aren’t.
“You’ll want them some day, when you’re ready.” You’re not the first to think that. This is just one of those well-meaning things people say to comfort me, as if not wanting children is the most unnatural thing for a woman to even think of. But why do I need to raise a tiny human for 18 years when I can have two wonderfully behaved dogs and a toilet-trained cat?
Am I the only one living under the delusion that I don’t need children to complete me? Apparently not. I have, on occasion, bumped into like-minded men and women who are completely set on the idea of not having kids. Although, more often than not, this is the only thing we have in common, it’s enough to make me feel a little less like a crazy person for being of the mindset that giving birth is not going to be a part of my life.
From time to time though, I give some thought to becoming a foster parent in the future. The passion I feel about people who abandon pets is only magnified for people who abandon children. I know that not everyone was cut out to be a parent. My feelings are not based on the shame a parent may or may not have for giving up a child, but are solely dedicated to how those children feel growing up without loving parents. Look, people have the right to give up their kids with the hopes of them finding better homes than they may be able to provide, but despite whatever feelings those parents have about their lost children, I’m pretty sure they never want them to end up in some of the horrible situations of abuse, loneliness, and hostility that make up so many of the places calling themselves [foster] homes.
My point is, there are plenty of children who already exist that need homes and, maybe it is fate’s intention for me to shelter a few of them. But for now, I babysit.
I already have little Squally bear in my daily life, and, eventually, she’ll have a little brother or sister, maybe even two, and I have every intention of being around to get to know them the way I know my little Muffin Butt. But the best thing about them not being mine, is that when they get on my nerves, I can give them back to their parents. 🙂