November 28, 2007


Here's another funny quip about that woman who got herself sterilized:

“Having children is selfish, “ says Vernelli, “it’s all about maintaining your own genetic line at the expense of the planet.”

I couldn’t agree more. Every really selfish person I know has like twelve kids.

Why just the other day, as I was sitting, unbathed and exhausted, in the kitchen selfishly riding herd on three screaming children, all of whom were simultaneously demanding that I continue my genetic line by providing them with juice boxes, goldfish crackers, hairbows, wardrobe changes, sno-cones, candy, lunch, water, DVDs, computer assistance, reading assistance, diaper changes, judicial intervention, and “milkey, he-a-uh” (milk, heated up), I thought to myself, “Man, am I selfish!”

I had a discussion a little while ago with CaliValleyGirl over whether having children is selfish or selfless. I completely believe that it's selfless, that the point of having children is to raise adults who will provide benefit to society, not just to have a little version of me to cuddle. And raising upstanding members of society is hard. How much easier would my life be to just keep merrily knitting along in between vacations and spending money on myself? That seems like the selfish choice to me. I think instead that I have a duty to my society to breed at no less than replacement rate and breed well, so that my progeny make our country a better place.

But who knows, maybe I'm crazy. I did read America Alone while I was trying to get pregnant, so that may have screwed with my head.

Posted by Sarah at November 28, 2007 09:07 AM | TrackBack

“Having children is selfish, “ says Vernelli, “it’s all about maintaining your own genetic line at the expense of the planet.”

Spoken with all the wisdom of one that does not have children.

Posted by: Bubba Bo Bob Brain at November 28, 2007 09:22 AM

It is neither selfish nor selfless. It is about a choice one makes for themselves. Discussion of selfish v. selfless for childless v. having children is mostly a discussion of self-justification. Have children; don't have children. The choice is individual and personal.

Posted by: Badger 6 at November 28, 2007 09:54 AM

The choice to have or have not in regards to children is most certainly individual and of itself neither selfish or unselfish.

However, once you HAVE children, you must practice a degree of unselfishness that is unimaginable when there are no children present. You must give up sleep to rock cranky kids, clean up someone else's poop when you'd rather let them sit in it, eat chicken nuggets instead of going out to that cool new Mexican restaurant down the street because of the money factor, and so on and so forth.

Not all parents give up the majority of their selfish leanings when they have children - but the necessity of having to consider someone else's wants and needs before your own is definately a lesson in how to put your own desires second. Especially since, for quite a large bit of the lifetime the child spends living with you they are absolutely ungrateful little brats hell bent on undermining you every chance they get with no clue about the real world (even while they think they have all the answers, of course).

And yes, I do have a teenager.

Posted by: airforcewife at November 28, 2007 01:14 PM

Okay, 3 excellent comments already. I might add that having children could only be "selfish" if the goal of the human race was to become extinct. As I have never heard of this being a stated goal for any living being - I have to deduce that having children is unselfish. It's very hard work, requiring the adults involved to give up much of their own life pleasures.

Posted by: Teresa at November 28, 2007 03:22 PM

What Badger 6 said.

BTW, on a related but hopefully not a selfish note, I'm thinking in about...what, 7 months this blog isn't gonn'a be.

Posted by: tim at November 28, 2007 04:01 PM

Badger: I am not sure if I agree with you because I am not really sure what you mean by "self-justification." As in, you justify your choice after the fact? What if you justify it ahead of time? What if you don't like kids and aren't sure you particularly desire them but have them anyway because you think it's the right thing to do? Is that "self-justification"? It doesn't seem like it to me.

Tim: I swear, this will not turn into a mommy blog. I want to keep it the same. We'll see how much time I have to devote to it, but I fully intend to keep the same format. And to try to get content up in between diapers and naps.

Posted by: Sarah at November 28, 2007 04:10 PM

Cool Sarah, but I, as I'm sure others, will totally understand the lack of content then. While I don't have any first hand experience, I hear babies tend to require alot of attention. ;)

Posted by: tim at November 28, 2007 04:57 PM

By self-justification I mean they feel the need to explain why they choose to do what they did or are doing as morally superior to others who choose differently.

The person in your hypothetical would be engaging in self-justification when they start telling other people that they too should have children because "it is the right thing to do."

As I stated make your decision for yourself, the idea that you "owe" your society or your species something is silly. Your individual choice will not make a difference to those large groups.

Don't conflate justification with deciding. Deciding is what you do for yourself. Justification is defending that idea to others. I think the choices we make regarding having children should be respected regardless of what that choice is.

Posted by: Badger 6 at November 29, 2007 01:54 PM