Reasons I Didn't Want to Have Children
Today I had an amazing day with my daughters (eight and five years old). I remember how terrified I was to ever have kids. Here are the reasons why, along with how those fears stack up to the reality.
- •My career! I won't be able to focus on it enough.This has turned out to be true, in that my standard of "enough" was "absolutely all the time in every single way." Sometimes I still feel envious of writers who don't have kids and get to spend all their time cranking out incredible work. And then I'm like, "Eh, my kids are awesome."
- •I can't have kids because I'm not financially secure enough yet.I'm still not, I guess, because my standard of financial security was basically Ryan Murphy plus Seth MacFarlane, i.e., I should be so extremely wealthy that a situation never, ever arises where I'm forced to say, "I can't immediately pay for that." Turns out you don't have to be THAT wealthy to support a family.
- •I'll never get enough sleep again!This turned out to be true, mainly during the first three years. The sleep deprivation, the crying... My wife and I used to call it "Abu Ghraib." Mona Simpson has a memorable passage in her book "My Hollywood" about how people in Los Angeles don't age - except for people in L.A. with children. I look at photos of myself just before I had kids, and it's like when you see a President before and after his eight years in office. It's the lack of sleep! And then I'm like, "Eh, my kids are awesome."
- •I got abused as a kid, and I've ingested enough pop psychology to know I'll inevitably pass the abuse onto my kid, too.This was actually a "quality" fear, because it forced me to rush out and get lots and lots of help for all those gnarly childhood issues. The Echo Center was an indescribably powerful resource. I don't have to worry about this one anymore. Thank God.
- •Seriously - MY CAREER!!!Another thing about having kids is that, subconsciously, I think it lessened the whole, "I MUST BE THE MOST FAMOUS AND SUCCESSFUL [fill in the blank] OF ALL TIME BECAUSE WE ARE ALL RACING TOWARD DEATH AND IT'S MY ONLY SHOT AT IMMORTALITY!" My DNA is passed on. Mission accomplished, let's just go swimming today.
- •Overpopulation/ Eco-collapse/ Bring a child into THIS world?!I have come to believe that the answer is not, "People should stop having kids." The answer lies in a bunch of other super-uncomfortable stuff that is no fun to get into on an app. I'll spare you the Marxist lecture and simply say, "We're meant to have a world that supports bringing children into it."
- •Maybe I simply won't like or get along with my kid. Maybe my kid will hate me.Stupid, selfish, narcissist me-before-kids kind of fears. Doesn't matter. My kid can scream "I hate you" every day. You're my kid. You get all the love, end of story. And it was pointless to worry, because both of my kids turned out to be cool as shit.
- •Something bad will happen to my kid someday, and I'll be devastated.I actually don't even allow myself to ponder this one anymore. Like, not even for a second. Not allowed. Next.
- •Having kids is incredibly difficult.No! It's really not! What a pleasant surprise that's been. The source of this fear was that my parents constantly told me - in word and action - that being MY parent was incredibly difficult. But turns out, they were full of shit. Seriously, even the "difficult" moments of parenting are rewarding and precious. And frankly, complete morons have managed to raise children for centuries. I can't? I'm the great exception?!
- •One last time - MY FUCKING CAREER.Again, it wasn't a conscious thing, but I truly believed that if only I had enough Overall Deals, Dad would finally love me and I could stop hating myself. Now I walk in the door after work and I am BOMBARDED BY LOVE. BOMBARDED! In fact, I've been trying to craft a joke like, "I wouldn't trade it for anything - except four Emmys and an Oscar," ha-ha...but I can't because I DON'T FEEL THAT WAY. I never would've believed it!
- •I'll become a boring guy who goes on and on about his kids to people who could care less.Totally valid, came true.