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I’m in the process of buying a townhouse. The price is right, and I’m tired of paying rent when a mortgage would be several hundred dollars a month cheaper. Any house in my price range either resembled a crack house on the inside or was so far out into the country that the commute wouldn’t be worth it. While our realtor was showing us the townhouse, she made sure to let us know there is plenty of space in the spare bedroom for the inevitable: kids.
This talk of kids startled me. Everyone I work with is either married or engaged. On a semi-regular basis, my female coworkers (which make up 98 percent of my office) ask, “When are you going to pop the question?” like it’s some sort of game. Why ruin a good thing?
A lot of people I know are starting to crank out children. I often feel like I’m behind the ball because I still haven’t even started saving for an engagement ring while my friends are off having lavish destination weddings. I honestly have no idea how people afford the $8,000 engagement ring she just “had to have,” a wedding, student loans, a down payment for a house, and then on top of all of that, a kid.
I have nothing against children or people that want to have children. To each their own; live and let live. Maybe I’m selfish, but the idea of having to spend all my time on someone else for at least 18 years isn’t in my playbook. It would suck on every level, from the growing concerns of geopolitics to having to spend all my money on the child to the terrifying thought of “What if they are more like their mother and suck at sports?” Not only would he or she be bad at sports, but then you have to deal with the crazy parents of other kids.
It’s not just my coworkers asking when I’m going to get married and own the white picket fence and 2.3 kids; it’s everyone. The mid-to-late-20s scene seems to include rushing to get a girlfriend and be married as soon as possible. People use Tinder, date the first woman that shows them interest, and are married in two years’ time, tops. I’ve been living with Mother Madoff for over two years, and I’m enjoying it more than the rat race down the aisle everyone else seems to be a part of.
I usually respond to the collective questioners: “How am I supposed to afford kids with a loan, a mortgage, wedding, etc.?” They usually rattle off a medley of responses, although I’ve grown accustomed to the ever-popular, “If you wait until you can afford kids, you’ll never have them” like it’s some sort of prophetic advice. I’ve heard it all. TIME even told me the same thing, but spending $245,000 to raise one kid is a doomsday scenario I just don’t want to live. $245,000 is a lot of happy hours, new cars, trips to Europe and an earlier retirement.
I think there are a lot of people like me. They are (fairly) intelligent, educated, have good family lives and everything else that would be conducive to not raising the next Unabomber. The sad part is that stupid people are out fucking the smart people. Those with higher IQs are having less kids, and it’s understandable. Between crushing student loan debt making it harder to save for houses, kids, weddings and whatever else, people don’t want to be screwed their entire lives. Our generation is more educated and less adverse to societal pressures or the spooky man in the sky getting mad that we have birth control and condoms.
I know, I know, everyone says they don’t want kids. It’s a rite of passage among young people that don’t want to feel like their youth is flushed down the toilet to vehemently deny having children. Maybe my mind will change, maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll slip one past the goalie, who knows? Kids bring a lot of joy to people. Back when I used to caddie to pay the bills, one of the hedge fund managers (semi-retired by 40) told me that people need to learn to be husband and wife before becoming mommy and daddy, and to be financially stable before having kids. It probably helped that he had a ton of money and was ten years older than his bombshell wife, but hey, gotta go with the proven method. Male birth control cannot come soon enough..
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