While I, myself, have taken the parenting plunge, I do understand the opposing perspective -- choosing to be childfree. As a matter of fact, I think I understand it better now than I did before. So much so that I've compiled a list of 100 reasons not to have children.
You shouldn't have kids if:
- You dislike children.
- You like to sleep.
- You like to have sex.
- You like to have money.
- You like your freedom.
- You like to swear.
- You like to eat meals sitting down, with real cutlery.
- You like your personal space.
- You like to watch movies from start to finish in one sitting.
- You like to watch HBO.
- You don't like the appearance or smell of vomit.
- You don't like the appearance or smell of poop.
- You don't like the idea of wiping another person's snot.
- You think "Wheels on the Bus" is a stupid song.
- You like going on dates with your partner.
- You would like things to stay exactly the way they are with your partner.
- You value a daily shower.
- You think weekends at Costco are worthy of a #facepalm tweet.
- You like to shut the door while you're in the bathroom.
- You take more than one minute to make yourself presentable and ready to be seen in public.
- You don't like to say "no."
- You don't like to take "no" for an answer.
- You lack patience.
- You like keeping your living quarters tidy and neat.
- You enjoy spontaneous outings with friends.
- You disapprove of the five-second rule.
- You like to drink coffee while it's piping hot.
- You like to speak complete sentences without being interrupted.
- You prefer your iPhone screen to be smudge-free.
- You prefer your iPhone screen to be free of any kind of stickiness.
- You care about your iPhone or iPad at all.
- You like to phone your friends or family during the day.
- You dislike Goldfish crackers or Cheerios.
- You dislike stepping on LEGOs, wooden blocks or Mr. Potato Head parts.
- You strongly believe certain body parts should remain perky.
- You strongly believe other certain body parts should remain intact.
- You are not fond of stretch marks.
- You have a low tolerance for physical and psychological pain.
- You have a low tolerance for asshole-ish behavior.
- You like your current circle of friends who don't have kids.
- You hate minivans, or even worse -- SUVs.
- You are fond of your current shoe collection.
- You like having control of the music in the car.
- You detest unsolicited advice from complete strangers.
- You like your job.
- You like the furniture in your home -- glass tops, sharp corners and all.
- You enjoy fine dining.
- You dislike wrinkles -- in your clothes, as well as on your face.
- The terms "we" and "us" make you cringe.
- You like the neighbors with whom you share a wall.
- You enjoy engaging in adult conversations.
- You like to go to the gym on a daily basis and eat healthy.
- You like to travel light.
- You like to travel.
- Your pets are important to you.
- You think four colorfully dressed people wiggling their limbs is something no one should have to experience sober.
- You feel that no one other than yourself should be a representation of you.
- You like to party like it's 1999 every New Year's Eve.
- You don't like other (little) people choosing your friends for you.
- You have hobbies, passions or interests.
- You are content at your present weight.
- You dislike reading the same books every day.
- Your mental, psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual health are important to you.
- You like certainty and predictability in your day.
- You don't like to share everything you own.
- You feel you should be able to take a midday nap or put your feet up whenever you are tired.
- You feel that laundry should be limited to one load per week.
- Matching socks is far from your favorite pastime.
- Extreme emotions frighten you.
- You like to remain informed about current events.
- You prefer not to explain the "birds and the bees" to little people.
- The day you graduated, you swore you'd never set foot in a school again.
- You think holidays such as Christmas and Easter should be relaxing and a chance to unwind.
- You think summer means patios, beer and beaches.
- You think Chuck E. Cheese's is where people go when they have lost all hope.
- The idea of paying thousands of dollars for someone else's tuition seems ridiculous.
- You think the phrase "Don't put that in your mouth" is unnecessary.
- You enjoy reading books intended for adults.
- You dislike germs.
- You have an extensive designer wardrobe, and you would die if any of the pieces were ruined or destroyed in some barbaric way.
- You feel that bodily functions and fluids should not be discussed publicly.
- You think that the only person who should examine human feces is someone wearing a lab coat.
- You don't like going to Pizza Hut.
- You prefer not to interact with teachers.
- You think Elmo's voice is annoying.
- You like weddings -- so much so that you're the person who needs to be shooed off the dance floor at the end of night.
- You feel selfies mean pictures of yourself... alone.
- You feel chocolatey hands should steer clear of white couches and light-colored carpeting.
- You think the "quiet game" is not real.
- You think the word "vacation" means a relaxing time with peace and quiet.
- You think the term "playdate" is silly.
- You want to continue to use the word "baby" to address a significant other.
- You think All You Can Eat restaurants are absurd.
- You don't know the actual lyrics to "Do Your Balls Hang Low" and "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells."
- You like to be alone sometimes.
- You feel negotiations should only occur between adults.
- You think bribery is unethical and has led to the downfall of many societies.
- You dislike staring contests.
- You think Disney World makes Chuck E. Cheese's look like heaven.
- You feel the task of shaping another human being should be left to the professionals.
I did, however, come up with one reason why you should have children.
Anjali Joshi blogs at The Adventures of a New Mom, and is a regular contributor at Bay Area Parent and MasalaMommas.
A study published in the journal Infant Behavior & Development revealed that the standard "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby" has little to do with reality. When 253 college students were asked to rank photos of the same individuals as infants and young adults (without being told who was who), there was no relationship between how cute the students found the babies and how attractive they found the grown-ups.
No, really, it's true. It doesn't matter how many times you've heard the shout "Mine!" -- research shows babies can sense fairness at 15 months. During one study at the University of Washington, 47 babies observed videos of an experimenter distributing milk and crackers to two people. When one recipient received more food than the other, the babies paid more attention. That means they had expected a fair distribution. The researchers also found that babies who did notice unfairness were more likely to share their own toys.
OK, so they're not exactly psychic. But a recent study from the University of Missouri found that babies just 10 months old are starting to follow the thought processes of others. Yuyan Luo, an associate professor of developmental psychology who conducted the study, tells The Huffington Post, "Babies, like adults, when they see something for the first time -- when something is surprising -- they look for a long time. It shows [they recognize] something is inconsistent." It's called the "violation of expectation," she explained. When babies are surprised by something or notice something unexpected has happened, they tend to gaze at that thing longer. In Luo's research, babies watched actors consistently choose object A (such as a block or a cylinder) over object B. When an actor then switched to object B, the babies stared for about five to six seconds longer, meaning they recognized the change in preference.
Don't judge a book by its cover. Treat all people the same. We're all equals. These are sentiments parents strive to teach their kids from a very young age. And they should. Starting, like, immediately. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found that babies at three months begin showing a preference for the faces of people of their own race. But not all hope for equality is lost. The same study showed that babies who are exposed to people of all different races are less likely to develop bias at such an early age.
Researchers from Brigham Young University found that five-month-old babies can identify an upbeat song as being different from a series of sad, slow songs. In other words, they are happy. They know it. They will clap their hands. Or stare longer, as the case may be. The experimenters showed babies an emotionless face while music played. When they played a new sad song, the babies looked away. When the music pepped up, the babies stared for three to four seconds longer.
Babies have a sense of morality at six months old, say Yale researchers. During the Yale study, babies watched a puppet show in which a wooden shape with eyes tried to climb a hill over and over again. Sometimes a second puppet helped him up the hill, and other times a third puppet pushed him down. After watching the act several times, the babies were presented with both puppets. They showed a clear preference for the good characters over the bad ones by reaching to play with the good puppet.
Dr. Janet Werker of the University of British Columbia, who studies how babies perceive language, found that if a mother spoke two languages while pregnant, her infant could recognize the difference between the two. And they don't even have to be spoken out loud. Werker's research found that infants four to six months old can visually discriminate two languages when watching muted videos of someone speaking both.
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