Children and the Parents Who Resent Them
Not My Problem, Bro
This morning, I was browsing through the headline articles on Yahoo's homepage when I stumbled upon this absolute gem of narcissistic ignorance discussing DINKs (Double Income No Kids) and what they seemingly owe the rest of the world. I'm not married, nor do I have children, but my girlfriend and I are perfectly happy with the current state of things, and we'll update them when we feel the time is appropriate. Furthermore, there exist no zoning laws in this country, that I am aware of, dealing with imposed regional domestic habitation dependent upon family size or personal values. Therefore, we, and other "non-breeders" like us, will continue to live wherever we'd like, and if that upsets anyone, then that is their issue, not ours - unlike the screaming toddler that Mr. and Mrs. Jones decided to tote along to an upscale restaurant for dinner and drinks at 9pm on a Saturday night, which is now everyone's problem. Next time, worry less about my living situation and more about finding a responsible teenager to babysit your brat.
There. The overt ridiculousness of that article can be tucked away so that we can now focus on the absolute lunacy of the author and his possible motives for writing such a whiny piece.
First off, the article is so haphazardly put together that we should at least entertain the idea that his poorly-parented kids kept him up all hours of the night demanding that he and his wife mouth feed them caviar while they played Call of Duty online, and he simply hadn't had his coffee when he sat down to write this piece. (Entitlement breeds entitlement, so this scenario is entirely plausible.) More likely, though, this guy is realizing too late that he can't stand his own children and the life that he has chosen, and his last resort is to unleash his acrimony disguised as journalism on an innocent, unassuming childless public.
The man essentially admits his contempt for his own children by suggesting that they're a form of "delayed happiness" - which leads me to believe that he has loathed his children since the moment of their conception. (WHAT KIND OF CRAZY IS THAT!?!?!?) None of this general quackery is anyone's fault other than the author's, and the sooner he realizes this, the sooner he'll be able to embrace his past decisions and move on with his life.
The certainty of Buzz Bishop's (author of the piece in question) ulterior motive is made glaringly transparent through his abrupt and illogical shift in the conversation, as he leaps from discussing neighborhood demographics to an irrelevant diatribe on the budgetary concerns of traveling with children. What do his expensive vacation plans have to do with the fact that I don't have kids? Am I supposed to take pity on him for having to settle for a trip to Six Flags this year instead of the annual trek to Disney World? Talk about first-world problems! From there, Dad of the Year goes on to whine about other whiners, admit that childless unions are happier ones, comically attempt to convince himself that he'd rather read Dr. Seuss than golf, and delusionally imply that his children will care about him when it comes time to shove him in a retirement home. Basically, everything goes screeching off the rails with the quickness.
What it comes down to is this: Ol' Buzz here didn't really want to discuss various housing options based on family size or affording one another respect in spite of differing lifestyles; he wanted to express the fact that he not only resents society for his choices, but that he resents the actual choices (i.e. his kids) themselves. Sadly, this seems to be a trend that is becoming more and more common as my generation delves deeper into the realm of adulthood without a concrete understanding of the landscape.
It feels like there is still an intense amount of pressure placed on individuals in their mid-20s to graduate from college, enter the cubicle, marry within their tax bracket, spit out a few kids, and move to the 'burbs. Perhaps not as much as there was for previous generations, but still enough to lead many to believe that there's no alternative. For some people, this is the recipe for success and the culmination of their life's goals. To these individuals, the suburbs, and the ensuing existential crisis to inevitably follow, represent adulthood.
I truly admire people that are able to accomplish these sorts of goals. An educated, well-employed, family man or woman represents the most American of dreams. Unfortunately, the dream often turns into a veritable nightmare, with roughly 50% of unions being dissolved in divorce before the tenth year of matrimony. This is certainly not an indictment against marriage, just a quick commentary designed to illustrate the current reality, and collective disintegration, of the nuclear family. People are rushing into very serious decisions that, if not carefully considered, can have very serious consequences - especially when kids are involved.
Breed Some Flair
Somewhere along the line, we came to view our children as accessories - if you could afford them, and they looked good on your shoulders, why not have a few? That comparison may seem trite, but I firmly believe that many people view kids this way. They seem like a really good (even necessary) idea in the immediate present, but, for some, when the realities of responsible parenting are staring them in the face, they instantly begin to yearn for the devil-may-care existence of their single days, only to discover that those days are gone, leaving them regretting everything that has come to define their existence.
The next move, then, becomes plunging into stereotypical modes of what is considered quality parenting (over-protection, allowing free reign of the household/grocery store/movie theater/etc., arguing for grade inflation), which for some, involves scoffing at those lacking what have been deemed the proper accessories of adulthood. All the while, these people live an unfulfilling life of obligatory parenting while failing to properly communicate with their own children on any meaningful level. This is the child-rearing life cycle of the Buzz Bishops of the world, and their children will no doubt recognize their parents' resentment and carry a massive chip on their shoulders the rest of their lives.
Me, Me, Me!!!
Mr. Bishop labels "non-breeders" as the selfish portion of the "Me generation." He's half right, but he got his math wrong. The entire generation of which I am a part is ridiculously selfish, but exactly how this plays into human cultivation, I have no idea. I do know that implicit in the idea that not having children is selfish, is the likewise equally absurd notion that having many children is selfless - as if we should thank Buzz for magnanimously blessing us with his parental expertise by having a few kids. Not only has the selflessly self-righteous Mr. Bishop sanctified us with his progeny, but he's also played his part in overpopulating our planet! Maybe not quite as generous as Miss Havisham, but what benevolence! What he doesn't seem to take into account is the notion that not everyone feels called to parenthood - not to mention the moronically myopic failure, on his part, to take into account those couples who would love to raise children, but can't for medical or political reasons. To qualify Bishop as narrow-minded would be a discredit to narrow-minded citizens everywhere.
This idiocy aside, the crux of Bishop's point seems to be that those uninterested in having kids are somehow laughingly inferior. As such, the childless should be exiled from any and all non-restaurant-oriented districts as well as those that are located near schools. Furthermore, they should just enjoy their weekend golf trips paid for by their extravagant dual incomes (as opposed to the tax rebates that come along with having children) and shut up. Ironically, this is exactly what I had been doing the last 28 years of my life prior to writing this piece.
Before I read the article in question, I never had a dog in this particular fight, because I never knew the fight existed. What could I, and other "empty-nesters" like me, have possibly done to infuriate this incompetent blogger? I didn't force him to have the children he so clearly detests. But now, he's actually gotten under my skin a little, and I'm starting to wonder if my kid-equipped friends judge me with the same ignorance as Bishop. If so, my girlfriend and I had better hurry up and make some rash decisions so that we can join in on all the angry fun out in the homogenous suburbs of middle America!
Bishop, Buzz. "Get Outta the 'burbs! My Problem with Married Couples without Kids." Babble. 1 May 2013. Web. 2 May 2013.