Everyone is familiar with the usual reasons that people don’t have kids, including not being able to support them financially, not traveling as easily or as much, and eventually losing your friends that don’t have kids. People typically weigh these and many other significant reasons before deciding to try and have children, but what about the smaller reasons that most people don’t even think about before having kids? Reasons like…
1. I wouldn’t know how often I should post updates on social media about my kids.
If you have a Facebook or Instagram account, you’ve most likely encountered friends that feel compelled to post something daily about their kid no matter how big or (in most cases) minuscule that “accomplishment” is. I don’t need to know that you believe Riley is going to be an artist because she painted splotches of color on a piece of paper after you put a paintbrush in her hand. Let me know when she’s drawing portraits—or, at the very least, shapes.
On the other hand, not posting frequently carries its own connotations. You don’t want to seem as if you don’t love your child, and your relatives might get upset with you if you don’t post about your kids often enough. Finding a happy medium and determining how much to post on Facebook and Instagram is just the tip of the social media iceberg. Once you think you’ve got a grasp on those two, you’ll still have to decide how much is appropriate to post on other sites like Twitter, Snapchat, and Tinder. Unfortunately, they don’t make parenting books covering these types of dilemmas.
2. It makes filling out tax and insurance forms marginally more complicated.
Taxes and insurance: two of the things in life everyone must deal with, but no one ever explains to you. Taxes and Insurance 101 should probably be a mandatory class that you have to pass in order to graduate high school and prepare you for adulthood, along with Suitcase Packing Geometry, Intro to Office Small Talk, and Tupperware Management.
Tax and insurance forms are hard enough to figure out when you’re only dealing with your own information, and adding a kid opens up a whole new section of tax and insurance form questions. I just started to figure out what copay means, so the thought of entering a new gateway to the non-single section on these forms terrifies me. Even the terminology baffles me. I’d have to navigate my way through what the word “dependents” means. The synonyms that pop up for dependents on Microsoft Word are children, wards, and charges. So, children are regions that you can charge?
3. You have to become friends with other adults simply because your kid is friends with their kid.
Making new friends as an adult can be difficult, but the only thing worse than not having friends is being forced to become friends with someone you don’t like. The problem is that you can’t choose your kid’s friends, and more importantly, you can’t choose your kid’s friend’s parents. It’s a catch-22 because you obviously want your kid to have a healthy social life and to have friends, but you also don’t want to have to spend time with Grayson’s dad, Jared.
It’s probably people like Jared that made sleepovers popular. Sleepovers are a win-win. You take turns not having to be responsible for your own kids for a night, and you don’t have to hang out with Jared, who is always rude to the wait staff, constantly talks about his ex-wife, and is always trying to show you the most recent end table he has “refurbished.” Look, I get it Jared. You take a few pieces of wood that were already assembled, sand it, and stain it. This process shouldn’t be stretched into three hours of conversation. Staining a table that was going to be thrown in the garbage doesn’t make someone a brilliant carpenter, but good luck explaining that to Jared.
4. I wouldn’t know at what age I’m supposed to stop including months when someone asked me how old my kid was.
Like global warming, this is a problem with no easy solution. Scientists have done studies on whether you instinctively learn this ability when you become a parent, or if it is learned through social cues as you interact more and more with fellow parents. Unfortunately, their results have been inconclusive.
You’re probably thinking, “Well at least the first year will be easy.” However, even the first year is challenging. Sure, during the first year you just say how many months old they are, but that means keeping a mental note in your head as every month goes by. Even remembering someone’s age in years is a long shot that’s usually reserved for maybe half of your immediate family members and for friends that coincidentally have birthdays around the same time as you. Also, at what point do you start to round up? After 5 months and 16 days, do you say 6 months, and if so, do the same rules apply to the month of February?
The true difficulty begins after the first year, when fractions start to become involved in the process. If it’s three months after their 1st birthday, do you tell people they’re 15 months old, one year and three months old, or that they’re one and a quarter years old? Do we want a child’s age to sound like a rainfall measurement? There should be an app that lets you plug in when your child was born, and then tells you how to respond when people ask you how old they are.
5. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having photos of myself displayed all over my house.
Maybe I just have low self-esteem, but for some reason, I’ve always found it strange to go to someone’s house only to see pictures of themselves and their family covering every wall and shelf in their house. Do they need constant reminders of what their family members look like when they’re already residing under the same roof? I haven’t had to get a photo printed since my trip to the zoo in 3rd grade, back when you could buy those disposable cameras that you winded up with your thumb.
I’ll admit that, ever since high school, I’ve always wanted to take someone else’s family photos and hang them all over my apartment. If anyone came over, I’d just never address it. Besides the joy I’d get out of its sheer absurdity, I do see some other benefits to this tactic, since, for instance, family photos may deter would be thieves. Seeing the faces of the people they are planning to steal from, may guilt trip them into not robbing you. It’s kind of like how you’d feel if they started putting black and white pictures of the cow with his family on the hamburger packaging at the supermarket. It makes it a lot harder to go through with it, especially if the cows are holding up the phrase “Family is Everything” in the photograph.
Like everything in life, I’m sure you’d learn these things as you go along, but for now, I’m glad I don’t have kids, mostly because I’m really glad that I don’t have to be friends with Grayson’s dad, Jared.