Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Talk It Out Tuesday - That bad idea that your life stops when you have kids

I fully realize that I'm probably going to piss someone off, but this is something that's been bothering me, and that's what Talk It Out Tuesday is all about, right?

So here goes:

You've heard this before, probably all over television and especially in commercials--when you have kids, you can only do what kids do, and then when they're all moved out and /or you're retired, all of a sudden, you can do whatever you want again.

I think it's sheer BS and it's ruining people's lives by deferring all enjoyment for the indefinite time it takes you to get to a retirement that's unobtainable for a large portion of the country, or for your kids to move out, which is becoming harder and harder. My generation has as much as 30% moving back home right now; what about your retirement then? What about all the deferment you forced on yourself because of this really stupid cultural idea of what a parent is?

Here's how I see it:

  • This idea supports the related and much more poisonous idea that the only purpose of a person is to create children. This is especially toxic when applied to women, who fought and still fight for the right to more, but it also hobbles men.
  • Anything that supports the idea that you're only valuable in one way is a shitty way to live; what happens when you can't exist that one way anymore?
  • Anything that requires that you give over your life entirely to something else is a slippery slope. You need to take care of your kids, but it's not a crime to have a life of your own, with your own dreams and interests and to go out and do those things.
  • Living your own life sets a good example for those same kids, and broadens their horizons, avoiding these kids that have been catered to their whole lives and don't know anything or care to know anything about whatever the rest of the world has to say beyond the confines of their own tiny lives and experiences.
  • Coddling kids only creates adults who don't know how to take care of themselves, and if they are the be all and end all of your life, they'll grow up believing that there is nothing inside them that matters--all that matters is being a mindless spouse, a way for more babies to get into the world.
  • It is a documented fact that happiness comes from your own source. You can't expect someone else to fill all the gaps in your psyche and just hand you happiness; you have to live your own life and find your own meaning and seek your own happiness now, not push it off until your done being a parent.
See, compartmentalizing your life just means that you're denying yourself a full and rich life. You don't have to give up everything because you have kids--you have to plan better and ensure that you take care of them while you follow your dreams and fulfill your own happiness and enjoyment criteria.

I don't understand this idea that people can only be one thing at a time. How can you raise a successful child if you're not a well-rounded adult? Now, it's not an excuse to be a selfish git; that's going too far in the other direction. It's just something that I feel more people need to think about--how does making yourself miserable for the majority of your life possibly make situations for anyone involved better?

If you only ever wanted to be a parent, and you're a good one, then that's one thing. But if you had other dreams and you gave them up only because you had a child? That's soul-suicide, and I don't understand why anyone in their right mind would do that.

Those random bits of culture that support the idea that you can't have what you want because of your life circumstances are damaging and need to stop. Especially the ones that place kids in this impossible place where they're meant to simultaneously be the be all and end all of a person's reason and existence, and then also be this burden that must be gotten rid of before you can move on and get back to enjoying your life.

What do you think of this subject, readers? 
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