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‘Do you think you’ll have kids?’, they ask generously

15 February 2011 by superlative

We spent the weekend staying with some friends and their small children, and it was actually quite nice and not as annoying as I thought it would be having curly haired tots running around all over the place.

As often happens during any mention of children and families, I was asked the question ‘Do you think you’ll have kids?’ by our friends.

People like to ask us you see, because they don’t want to assume we won’t have children just because we’re gayers and don’t have a vagina to rub between us, and probably because it makes them feel quite hip and trendy to be so natural about the idea of gays having children. I’m not sure if they would ask straight friends in quite the same way, because the presumption is slightly more that yes they will have children one day unless they have vehemently said in the past that they never want any.

My answer used to be that yes one day I would like to have children, even though I didn’t know how we would achieve it or at what point in our lives ‘one day’ would be reached. I’ve always felt that I would be a good father, that I would enjoy raising a child and teaching it things, and that I have a duty to bring up one or two children properly just to dilute the number of god awful children and terrible parents that there are in the world.

Over the last couple of years though I have come to realise that no, it’s not going to happen. Quite aside from the technical issues of finding a willing oven for my bun, I don’t think that I’m ever going to arrive at that ‘one day’ point where I want to change everything about my life, stop doing everything that I enjoy doing, and completely slog my guts out for years (even if it does feel rewarding) raising a child.

We have a few friends who have had children now as we’re getting to that age when everyone starts popping them out. And while they seem very happy with the choice that they have made, and are happy with how their life is, they’re just not the same people that they were before they had children. It changes everything, everything, about your life, and consumes every single part of every single day. Where you can go, what you can do, what time you can do it, what you experience, what you talk about – all of it is swept aside and a completely new order is imposed with the child at its centre.

And that’s fine, for them. That’s their choice, and I’m not criticising it. ┬áBut I can’t see myself ever wanting that.

I like eating out. I like going on holiday. I like spending money on myself and my partner. I like having a tidy house full of nice things. I like peace and quiet. I like being able to go somewhere on no notice, overnight if I want, and it’s up to me.

That all goes away when you have children, or at least goes away for so long that you’re a different person by the time your children are self-sufficient and don’t need you all the time.

And in return you get the joy of children, and their love, and their company, and that’s fine. I just don’t think I can give up everything for that.

So my position in recent years has become that I want to contribute to a child’s life, but not to have my own. I want to babysit nieces or nephews; I want them to be excited when I come round and to run out to greet me and see what I’ve brought them; I want to take them out and show them things, and chase them and scoop them up.

But then I want to give them back.

And I think that’ll be fine, and will be fulfilling enough for me. I can love them and be loved by them, and shop for nice things for them, and give their Mum and Dad a hand and a break by taking them away for a bit sometimes, but they’ll be an addition to my life not a transformation of it.

So now all I need is for someone to have some. Chris’ brother will, at some point I’m sure. He’s been married a couple of years and is in his 30s, so it can’t be all that much longer. They live far away though, which is a shame, because it means visits will be more infrequent. My own brother and his wife are a bit closer, but I honestly can’t see them having any – again, it’d be too much of a change to their lifestyle. And those are my only options for nieces and nephews.

So I suppose I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Chris’ brother to have some soon, and reconcile myself to long drives on the motorway with sackfuls of Ben 10 merchandise in the boot.


5 Comments »

  1. Maff says:

    I fully understand. It does seem like you’d get the best deal just waiting for others to drop. A bit like the Argos 16-day guarantee – at least you can hand it back if you don’t like it.

    Seems a shame to rule it out though – never say never?

  2. superlative says:

    Yeah I know, I probably shouldn’t say never. I’m not doing an Elton John and having a child at 63 though, that’s absurd. If I were going to be a father I’d want to do it while I’m young enough to do it properly and not at risk of dropping dead before they’re five.

  3. Dom says:

    i just found myself nodding the whole way through this post – not in a sleepy way either. as you know i have 2 children and I adore them and they have changed my life, my husband’s life and our relationaship as well. and I agree as well – by the time they both leave home, i will have changed so much from that person I was before. I really wanted children though and have never regretted it although they do get on my nerves sometimes!

    if you wanted some children to practice on before your nieces and nephews arrive, borrow mine!

  4. Helen says:

    What you don’t know is Dom already has flights to Mexico booked, you think you’re just babysitting but really it’s all a smoke screen. She’s been embezzling RDSU funds for years now, biding her time.

  5. Cupid Stunt says:

    I think you would be more than sensible not to have children because it is a complete lifestyle trasher. I don’t mean life trasher, I’m talking about the trashing of a lifestyle that you have cultivated for (ahem) a number of years which would be destroyed. I have been having the same conversations with a couple of gay male friends (because I’m trendy and enlightened and know gay people). I was also looking at Gay Moralist Dr John Corvino’s writings where he states that “With heterosexual people we talk about relationships. Homosexual people, we talk about sex. Heterosexual people have lives. Homosexual people have lifestyles. Heterosexual people have a moral vision. Homosexual people have an agenda.” We’re led to believe that having children is some sort of ‘norm’ barometer, a natural progression of life; mate, spawn and die. Anything that falls outside of that is somewhat suspect. Of course gay people have every right to be parents, but I honestly can’t see why anyone would want to opt for stinky nappies when they have the option of going to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern every other Sunday afternoon for Dame Edna Cabaret.

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