Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Knees Together

I am the eldest of four children, not counting the half-sister born after I had my two daughters. I don't not count her in my life, you understand, but I obviously didn't grow up with her, so I don't include her for the purposes of this discussion. I doubt she reads this anyway, but if she does...she's my sister. Nuff said.

Disclaimers aside, I know what it is to be a member of a large family. So does the DH...his family is the mirror image of mine, even down to the split level houses we grew up in. My memories of childhood were of doing with what we had. Dad was a teacher, Mom a cop. Essential jobs that serve the public, which, as we all know, means they didn't make much of anything. Money was tight, always, probably more so than I knew at the time. We often wore hand-me-downs, and were glad to get them. I occasionally didn't like not being able to buy stuff that my friends did, but for the most part, I didn't feel deprived. My parents were proud in the good sense, and taught us to value what we wanted, and to work for it. Yes, I know I sound like an old fart. Tough.

When I had my kids, I firmly believed in zero population growth, and still do. The people who can least provide for their children in this world, in terms of material goods and education, are the ones who often have the most children. I chose to have two children. I was lucky. I could have kids, carry them myself, they were healthy. And my then-husband and I could afford to raise them. I do understand that some folks have a lot of kids for reasons of faith, but even most religions allow you to work not to conceive. For others, birth control can usually be obtained for free and works pretty well (though not so great when my parents were trying it in the sixties!). But my beliefs aside, it's up to you how many kids you have. Just don't try to make your choice my burden.

Today I went to pick up some artifical plants. A lady wanted to be rid of them, put them on Freecycle. She made a point that she wouldn't take a picture of them because of her five kids. I thought they'd make good studio props, and told her I would be happy to have them. She was sick of them and happy to have them gone. All should be good, right? Right. Until. I went out to get them, and she said how tired of them she was, and I said they'd have a good home in our studio. She perked up immediately. She knew who we were when I said the studio name, asked where we were now, and she starts bleating, "Discounts! Discounts would be good! Five kids!" She sticks her head in the open hatchback to yell this stuff at the DH, who is seated behind the wheel. I was in equal parts dumbfounded and furious.

Why do people today think we should fund their family? My parents never did. I cannot tell you the number of times people ask us for a price break because they have a lot of rug rats. They have XX number of kids in dance, or playing soccer, and want us to discount their pictures because of the sheer volume of their family. Really? How did your choice to breed like rabbits and overpopulate the planet become MY problem? Do you ask McDonald's to sell you discount hamburgers to feed your tribe? Does Carter's have to give you cheaper baby clothes? And by the way, did the mortgage company give you a discount on your big McMansion (sure a lot bigger than MY house)? Have you considered buying less rather than expecting me to give your greedy self preferential treatment because you decided to have a horde?

Do my bills suddenly become less because you didn't keep those knees together, lady?

See? Mother really DID know best.


Anita said...

I agree with you. I have one son that I homeschool. There is another family that has 3 children and very admirably adopted 6 children from one family so they can stay together. She will arrange classes and such and charge a price per family. I know she arranged it but then she is paying $200 some dollars for a 15 week course for her 9 kids. I have to pay that price for one! If everyone paid, maybe $50 per child, the instructor would still make enough money.

It's the same for a lot of the homeschooling umbrella groups. They charge a yearly fee per family. It's more work to do multiple reviews. I would think they would charge per kid. Then maybe those of us with one or two could pay less. Thanks for letting me rant!

Also, I also believe in zero population growth. It's ridiculous how many kids some people have. I feel bad for the older kids in those families. They end up having to help out with the younger kids. It robs them of their childhoods.

beadntat said...

You forgot the other side to knees together...keep yer britches zipped! While I'm not an advocate for zero population growth as a rule, I am all about carefully and consciously choosing each and every child a married couple has. Yup, my big rule is that every child deserves to have a father and a mother...conceived after marriage of course. Then it's about having the number of kids that the couple can provide for in *every* respect...physically, psychologically, mentally, and yes, materially. If that's 2 kids...great. If that's 6..OK. If that's none...super! If you have what you can deal with well, then knees together and britches zipped folks. The children deserve it. And yes as a max-tax bracket children single person, I get very weary of paying for the services provided to the "tribes" :-V

Rosemarie Buchanan said...

I had heard about "ZPG" back in the 60s when I was just a kid myself, and decided that I would only have one child, to replace myself, and that's what I did.
I am SO with you on the "discount" thing. (As an aside, the other thing I really hate is a social function where the price is so much per person, but a reduced rate for couples? Hello? So how many times have I been punished for being single?????)
I grew up in Southern Alberta, surrounded by hyper-breeding Mormons and Catholics. It's disgusting (for a number of reasons) and shows that they have no concept of the harm they're causing the earth (for starters). In one of my many moments ;-) I asked a Mormon (who had just spewed out baby #6) how much human sh*t the earth could absorb before it started spitting it back at us (which it already has). She hadn't considered the environmental (or any other) cost of hyperreproduction. Egads.

And yes, men need to be told to keep their zippers zipped (and need to be taught about birth control and responsible reproduction). I simply don't "get" why this is difficult for some parents to teach their children.
Ok, I'm done now. ;-)

Diana said...

I agree with those of you who pointed out that the guys need to keep zipped too. I'm VERY much against the dual way the sexes are treated when it comes to sex, both education and freedom. I only mentioned the woman's side of the equation here because this wenchlette was the one blathering on about getting discounts for the production of her over active...whatever. :-)