“We can’t afford it.”
“We live under crushing student loan debt.”
“We can’t take on a mortgage.”
“We like the weather.”
Just admit it already, millennials: You don’t want children. I say this as someone who did want children and made life choices and personal sacrifices when I was still single that put me on the path to having children. I also say this as someone with more than one couple in her life who wants children they are thus far unable to have. I know what struggles they are going through emotionally, mentally, and physically that stem from the ache of that want. Because of them, I know what it means to truly want something versus to feel obligated to want something you couldn’t care less about. And also because of them, I can rightly call anyone who makes up an excuse for why they “can’t” reproduce a hypocrite and a liar.
By now I’m plenty familiar with the money woes of millennials. “We’re buried by student debt!” “We can’t get jobs!” “How are we supposed to pay for new lives when we can’t pay for our own?” The whole financial argument is based on the presumption of responsibility. As in, “Look at how responsible I am, choosing not to have children until I can afford them!” Bull. Look no further for proof of hypocrisy than Kylie Ora Lobell’s reasoning as to why she and her husband couldn’t possibly give up their expensive L.A. lifestyle for a cheaper neck of the woods:
LA is one of the most expensive cities in the country, but for our careers, we have to be here. It’s either here or New York, and we tried that. We were way worse off there.
Sometimes we fantasize about moving to Phoenix or Las Vegas, where huge houses rent for less than $2,000 a month and we could maybe even save up and buy something in a few years.
And then I think about how few opportunities I would have to meet important people, and how nobody there is in my industry. I know it would be a huge loss. Plus, I love the weather in LA, we have lots of friends here, and, as Orthodox Jews, we can thrive. There are many synagogues and kosher restaurants.
Sure, they’d have kids, but man, that L.A. weather. Who can give up sunny skies for kids? Who can resign themselves to being a webmaster anywhere other than L.A.? Who can choose to prioritize kids over career goals? And the restaurants, oh the restaurants!
If you really wanted a child and had to move to Alaska in order to make that happen, you’d build a cabin under the Northern Lights and freeze together in perfect pregnant bliss. Just ask the couples who have gone tens of thousands of dollars into debt to schedule IVF treatments around tough work schedules and angry bosses. They’d take an Alaskan yurt in a snap if it meant having the baby they truly wanted.
When I arrived, my parents did yard sales to buy diapers and danced their way to the pharmacy, grateful for a healthy, happy child. Money, or the lack thereof, isn’t the governing force behind the decision to have a child. A willingness to put that child ahead of every other goal or personal preference (yes, even the average temperature) is what makes you choose to have a child.
Reducing a baby to a budgetary line-item is absurd. Justifying yourself as a responsible adult for choosing not to add another expense to your account is idiotic. And constantly seeking my approval for your poor life choice illustrates how immature you truly are.
Dear Millennials: You aren’t fooling anyone but yourselves. You’re just not ready for children. Perhaps you don’t think you ever will be. Or maybe you’re just too contented with yourself right now to bother with the idea of putting someone else’s life ahead of your own. Whatever your true motive is, stop masking it behind this sudden obsession with fiscal responsibility. If you truly cared about your finances, you wouldn’t have wasted so much money on a useless degree to begin with. Try pontificating on that instead, will you? Maybe then, at least our children might not make the same life-wrecking mistakes you apparently did.