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When You Have Kids...

For the child free, is anything more annoying to hear?

First of all, this comment implies that you are indeed going to have children. No room for debate there. You WILL be a parent someday. You will buy a mini-van, cart kids to soccer practice and ballet lessons, with an endless supply of juice boxes in your purse.

Second, they assume that there is a universal desire on the part of all human beings to procreate. Like there is some time-space continuum that will be violated if you choose to defy society's expectations of you. I've got news for them. The world will keep spinning without a Mini Me running around TGI Friday's.

Third, they assume that everyone's experiences are going to be the same. But the reality of parenthood is you just don't know what you're going to get. Some babies cry non-stop for a year. Others sleep through the night right away. You might end up with a kid who wins the Nobel Prize in astrophysics someday. Then again, you might end up with one who mooches off you for the rest of your life, eating chips on the couch and having crazy parties when you go away, with a life goal to get the guys back together and start up a band in your garage. Or worse yet, you might get postpartum depression, start fighting with your spouse, or have money problems after having a child. So chances are, when you have kids will probably not be the same as when they had kids.

When I hear that phrase, I cringe. I am annoyed by their interference into my personal life. I am angry that I have been lumped into a category of people where I just don't belong. And I wonder what they are thinking by saying something like that.

Chances are, they aren't thinking at all.

They certainly aren't taking your feelings into consideration. Any number of things could have influenced your decision not to have kids. Life can lead us down an unlimited number of paths, with twists and turns that are both planned and unexpected. Each life is an independent story with a cast of characters and set of scenes that are unique to each individual.

But this dispenser of unwanted advice doesn't realize that.

Like most people in this world, he or she is operating under the false assumption that everyone wants to have kids. You can see that in our child-centered society. People with kids expect to be accommodated and in some cases rewarded because they cannot even conceive that having a family is a matter of choice.

Choosing to be child free is the same as choosing to become a vegetarian, move to the country, change careers. It is one of the decisions that make us who we are.

So the next time someone starts saying when you have kids, remind yourself that you are an enlightened individual who has taken control of your destiny. Feel liberated knowing that you aren't just another cog in the wheel of procreation.

And you will never have to recall the days "when you didn't have kids."

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