If you are a parent, this post is not for you. (Although you’re welcome to read anyway!) This post is for those of you who do not have children.
To my childless readers, I am about to provide you with some very sound advice, which I hope you take to heart:
Don’t have children.
You may be curious why a father of three is offering such advice. You might expect me to say that children are blessings from heaven, and encourage everyone to start reproducing immediately.
Children are indeed blessings, and I love all of mine dearly. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s probably not a good idea for most people to reproduce.
At the risk of bragging, here’s a brief snapshot of our lives when Mrs. Cutter and I first decided to have offspring:
- We were both well-educated, earning degrees from the prestigious George Washington University.
- We were both steadily employed and brought home good salaries.
- We had been married for three years, and made a conscious decision to have a child.
- We had loving families who supported our decision to start a family.
- We were well prepared, having purchased all of the necessary equipment, and we had also attended childbirth classes.
On paper, we were as ready to have a child as anyone could be.
Yet once the child arrived – a perfectly healthy child, at that – we felt like we barely survived the process.
I can still recall one night during our daughter’s first week home. It was probably around 4 AM, and we hadn’t slept all night. In fact, we hadn’t really slept in days. All we wanted to do was figure out a way to make this small, yet inexplicably loud creature stop screaming at us.
I’d like to say that was a rare bad night, but our daughter spent most of her first six months screaming at us. From what I’ve been told, she was an exceptionally angry baby. Maybe you’ll have a “prop baby” that just sits quietly and never makes much of a fuss.
It still won’t be easy. Unless, of course, you’re a neglectful parent.
I find it reassuring to know that there are strict guidelines regarding who can have children. Before someone can become a parent, they need to undergo weeks of training and pass a tough certification test.
Oh wait, that’s not actually true. The only requirement to have a child is to have working reproductive organs.
For some reason, if you don’t have working reproductive organs, the United States legal system makes it absurdly difficult to become a parent. Despite showing an actual desire to raise a child, potential adoptive parents are subject to more scrutiny than a Supreme Court nominee.
But if your love-making bits are all functioning as designed, then you pretty much have to f*** up on a monumental level in order for that child to be taken away from you. You could have the child sleep outside in the garbage cans for a week, and you’d probably only get a stern lecture and a warning not to do it again.
If you still think that parenting might be for you, here’s another question: Do you enjoy having free time?
I want you to think about how you spent this past weekend. Did you go to a party with friends or spontaneously decide to go out to a movie? Perhaps you took advantage of the beautiful Spring weather and planned some sort of outdoor activity.
“It’s so beautiful out! Why don’t we go visit a winery and have a nice picnic lunch?”
You know who doesn’t say stuff like that? Parents.
Parents need about three months advance planning in order to do something like that. Or else they have to bring the kids along, which pretty much guarantees that nobody involved will have a good time.
Maybe you think that’s okay, because you don’t actually have much of a life anyway. Your idea of a pleasant night is sitting on the couch, binge watching your favorite show on Netflix.
Good luck with that. Yesterday morning, I determined our schedule for the day and shared it with Mrs. Cutter.
“I’ll go to the gym in the morning. After I get back, you take the Cutlet to ballet. Then, we’ll all head out to Bunnyland (Don’t ask), and when we return, you can work on the garden while I feed the twins. When you’re done, we’ll switch and I’ll mow the lawn.”
“When do we get to just sit on the couch and relax?”
We both had a hearty chuckle over that.
I’m sure that some of you still haven’t been dissuaded. Some of you probably think the chance to raise a child will still be worth it.
There’s just one more problem: You will probably suck at parenting.
Children don’t come with instruction manuals. They also don’t come with off switches or ignore buttons. (One day, maybe.) You will face impossible situations that you never thought you’d encounter, and most of them will involve poop in some way.
There are lots of advice books out there, and just about every single one of them offers up suggestions that directly contradict what the last one suggested. Although it really doesn’t matter which piece of advice you follow, because no matter what you do, there’s a 99% chance that you’re going to do it wrong.
You think you have a brilliant idea that will get your baby to fall back asleep? It won’t work. Think you have a way for your fussy eater to try his vegetables? Not going to happen.
But don’t stress too much. You could be an awesome parent, and there’s a decent chance your child will be a huge f*** up anyway. We’d like to think that a good parent can steer any child onto a good course, but sometimes, people are just f*** ups, and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it.
You could be the most caring, dedicated parent in the world, and your kid still might send out racist Tweets or appear on a season of Teen Mom.
Actually, I don’t know if the Teen Mom girls are really the big f*** ups here. After all, they found a way to get paid. Your child likely won’t be so lucky.
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you that maybe parenting isn’t your thing after all. But now you might be worried about how to avoid having kids. After all, babies are born as a result of having sex, and I don’t think it’s realistic for most of us to stop doing that.
I have some good news: They’ve come up with this fantastic thing called birth control. It allows you to have sexual intercourse and not produce a child. And I can vouch that it really does work!
Before our children were born, Mrs. Cutter and I had been a couple for almost nine years. Believe it or not, during that time, we shared a few moments of intimacy, and thanks to the miracle of birth control, we managed to remain child-free!
In 2015, birth control is both cheap and easily obtainable. All it takes is a little bit of effort.
Ladies, if you think it’s too much of a hassle to remember to take a pill every day, I can assure you that it’s much less of a hassle than waking up multiple times a night to change a diaper or having a baby suckle on your breast.
Hopefully, you listen to me and spend the rest of your days child free. But if you do choose to foolishly ignore my advice and embark on the treacherous journey that we call parenthood, I have just one last thing to say: May God have mercy on your soul.
This post has been part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. In case you couldn’t tell, today’s letter was K, and the topic was “Kids.”