I have had a number of parent-pals ask me what “breeder bingo” was all about. It’s a fun little game we no-kidders play with those who think that (with enough bullying) they can convert us to their way of thinking and convince us to have kids. For those of you who have never had your life choices and values questioned by complete strangers who don’t even know you, you’re missing out on quite a treat!
Every time a child-free individual comes upon a baby-zealot, he or she is guaranteed to hear the same mindless arguments in favor of reproduction over and over again — the endless braying and baaing and mooing of natalist propaganda. These folks love nothing more than to preach the gospel of the implanted womb. Give them half a chance and they’ll explain why the decision not to breed is wrong, why the child-unencumbered are shirking their civic duty, and how the other person is going to regret having gone down this path later in life. So thoughtful of you — thanks for your concern about my well being!
I have to say, it gets really tiresome after a while — having complete strangers who don’t even know you tell you why your choices in life are socially unacceptable. And their remonstrations are so overused, so predictable, so cliche. As this self-righteous breeder yammers in your face, you can’t help but feel tempted to check their arguments off on a card and holler “BINGO!” at them when you get a straight line. Honestly, why can’t people just let you live your life the way you want?
The biggest problem I have with most of these “reasons” for having kids is that they are emotionally-driven, backed by no real logic — and smack of a desperate attempt at justification on the part of the breeder attacking you. So here are my personal responses to the more common breeder bingo arguments (feel free to use these yourself the next time you are cornered by a woman pushing a stroller!)
“it’s different when it’s your child” (what is? — the secretions and excretions, the mess and exhaustion, the crying and screaming? — giving up your own life to spend 24 hours a day focused on a helpless and dependent infant? — I would certainly hope that all turns into sunshine and daffodils after giving birth, but I’m not playing guinea pig to find out)
“you don’t know what you’re missing“ (however, I am fully aware of exactly what I’d be giving up if I allowed a small uterine parasite to take over my home for the next 18 years — my freedom, my time, my sanity, and a good chunk of my cash — rather than imagine a Pollyanna future and totally miss the mark, I’ll take the devil I know over the one I don’t)
“you might really enjoy parenting” (I might, but then again I might not — and society doesn’t allow you to give that shriekling back after you realize what a massive mistake you’ve made — I don’t want to risk being trapped like that, so I think I’ll just stand right over here on the sidelines — where I can breathe freely and observe and comment)
“you’ll forget all about the pain of labor” (it’s not the contractions, it’s the 2 decades of misery that follow — agony won’t stop me if I really want to do it, like crashing every time I rollerblade or enduring that next tattoo needle — but when I don’t, the threat of pain is just an even bigger incentive to maintain perspective and avoid that activity altogether)
“don’t you want to hear the pitter-patter of little feet?“ (I already do, that’s why I have cats — we humans have an intrinsic need to care for something smaller than ourselves, but who says it has to be a squalling pink flesh-loaf? — I get all the love and affection I need from my furbabies — plus they’re WAAAAAY cuter than most yard-monkeys I know)
“who will take care of you when you’re old?“ (my well-funded IRA and the 20-something houseboy with the firm buttocks that I’ll be hiring — my “take care of yourself” philosophy means planning ahead for mental and physical decline — and since I’m not spending it on video games or Legos, I should have plenty of cash to put in that retirement account)
“what if your parents had decided not to have kids?“ (then I’d not be here to argue with you, and I wouldn’t know the difference — true, you’d have been robbed of my brilliant logic, scintillating wit, and sparkling personality — but I’m a flyspeck in the grand scheme of things — the world would have survived sans Ramona, as it will without her unborn)
“s/he would be precious with your eyes and his nose“ (that’s not a good enough reason to bring a human I don’t want into the world — how selfish is it to create a mini-me, just so folks will compliment you on what nice genetic code you’ve got? — if the only way you can validate your existence is with a carbon-copied-clone, you need to rethink your priorities)
“your biological clock is ticking“ (this idea that we come hard-wired with an evolutionary need to reproduce is pure myth — deadline for conception does not equal desire to procreate, nor is there any scientific evidence of an automatic uterine alarm system — and a major life-choice like that shouldn’t be based on the eventual shut-down of your gonads)
“you were a child once, too“ (yeah? so what? and your point is? — I mean really, where’s the logic behind this argument? — how does my experiencing youth have anything to do with my decision to get knocked up? — the 2 issues are entirely unrelated, and this line of thinking is nothing more than flawed sentimentality disguised as a legitimate rationale)
“the children are our future” (but they’re not the only thing that makes up that tomorrow — education is our future — scientific advancement is our future — intellectual discourse is our future — humanity toward our fellow sapiens is our future — claiming that a new dawn is built of nothing but Pampers and Cheerios is a tad shortsighted, don’t you think?)
“parenthood is the most important job in the world“ (I don’t see carpooling as more valuable than a paramedic who resuscitates a drowning victim or a musician who writes a symphony — it’s arrogant and more than a little insulating to set yourself on top of the heap, just because you gave birth — any monkey can copulate, but careers require skill)
“don’t you want your parents to have grandchildren?“ (my parents are dead, so it’s a moot point — besides, it’s unreasonable to expect that I’m going to replicate just so an older couple can spoil some brat they didn’t have to raise — sorry to disappoint — if Gangee and Pop-Pop want that, refer ’em to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program)
“did something happen to make you not like kids?“ (natalists love to assume a REASON for voluntarily childlessness, like an unhappy said-wit-a-Brooklyn-accent-yout traumatized you into a state of irrationality regarding childbirth — nope! — my growing-up rocked, but that doesn’t mean I have any urge or responsiblity to follow in my parents’ footsteps)
“but your child could grow up to discover a cure for cancer“ (he could also turn out to be Charles Manson — every parent has high hopes for that darling bundle of fluff in the bassinet — but ya gotta recognize that not all humans are destined to become valuable members of society — in fact, some turn out downright destructive — why take that risk?)
“it’s selfish to keep your future son/daughter from experiencing the world“ (so every unfertilized egg and prematurely ejaculated sperm is the equivalent of denying someone the chance to live? — if he’s never born, he doesn’t know what he’s missing, and he’s not going to blame me for his lack of opportunity — I refuse to accept guilt for a non-event!)
“but you’d be a great parent” (yes, yes I would, but only if I feel that’s my calling — I might also make a really excellent prostitute, but I have no interest in that particular career path either — should I be required to do it anyway, just because I could have a proficiency? — I’m all for maximizing your natural goddess-given strengths and talents, but come on!)
“you’ll grow up and change your mind“ (there’s nothing more patronizing than the assertion that a different life-choice is just a youthful and naive “phase,” that you’ll see the light once you’ve accrued a sufficient level of maturity — I’ve not wanted to breed for more than 4 decades — at what point am I adult enough to have my decision respected?)
“life isn’t complete without kids“ (what if I said that life isn’t complete until you’ve owned a business? or traveled the world? or donated a kidney? or learned to love sushi? — I’d be holding you to a standard that has no meaning or relevance whatsoever — completeness is in the eye of the beholder, and my existence is plenty full without a passel of rugrats)
“there won’t be anyone to carry on your family name“ (if I want my family name remembered, then I’ll accomplish something memorable, not count on my spawn to do it for me — I’m too busy leaving other legacies to worry about producing another Creel — and frankly, considering my family history, I might be doing the bloodline a favor!)
“having kids was the best thing I ever did“ (those of us without don’t know what we’re missing, so we can’t regret not having it — and we certainly don’t feel the need to fill any procreative holes in our lives — but since this has been such an a stellar experience for you, I won’t have to listen to your bitching about how hard parenting is ever again, right?)
“I wouldn’t give my kids up for anything“ (good for you, that’s how it should be — y’all mom-and-dad folks say you couldn’t envision life without them — we happy-to-be-sans-enfant types don’t want to imagine life with them — why can’t you just accept that it’s a win-win all around, and leave it at that? — this isn’t about converting us to your side)
“childbirth is a woman’s greatest achievement“ (if the most I can hope to accomplish in life is squeezing a pink fleshy watermelon out of my vagina, then kill me now! — I’m way more productive than I’d be if I were busy changing diapers and wiping runny noses all day long — if you discount the triumphs of women who never bore a baby, you’re a fool)
“I’d just hate to end up a bitter and sad“ (I know more crabby elderly breeders than curmudgeonly old no-kidders — we’re less likely to be resentful of unfulfilled unrealistic offspring-related expectations or feelings of empty-nest abandonment — and if you were truly content with your life, would you try to make others feel bad about their choices?)
“you must be so lonely“ (bitch, please — I’ve never had a lonely day in my life — too many interests and too gregarious a personality to sit home moping, pining away, wishing I had loin-fruit to keep me company — and my social circle isn’t limited to kid-friend-parents — I interact with all sorts of folks I’d’ve never gotten to know with a tot glued to my side)
“if everyone did what you’re doing, the population would die out” (we’re in more danger of killing ourselves off due to overpopulation than declining birth rates — and I’m not suggesting that no one ever reproduce again, I’m just making a personal choice — by the same token, why are you folks so insistent that EVERYONE should pump out a unit?)Click here for reuse options!
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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.
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