6 Signs You're Definitely Not Supposed To Be A Parent, And There's Nothing Wrong With That
As a socially conditioned species, we're just on the cusp of fully understanding that what we think we're "supposed to do" is largely a construct that many of us are happier for not following. But we're not completely there just yet. I think we have all had the experience of seeing the couple who is so incredibly ill-suited to parent or to support/raise a child do so repeatedly because that's just "what you do," or worse, because they really don't know what else to do with their lives (and will admit that to the degree that they say they just want a kid to have something to play with or whatever).
The reality is that not everybody is suited to parent. Actually, far fewer people than we think really are. We don't support this idea because our animal instincts will tell us that we must do whatever we can for the survival of the species, at any cost. But we're evolving past our animalistic instincts, the ones that tell us we're in competition with one another rather than bound together in community, the ones that often keep us from being civilized, functioning, actually surviving members of society. Or at least, we need to be. We need to talk about what it means to be suited to parent, and why it is that people who don't truly want to be do it anyway. We need to lose the guilt trip we put on people who don't immediately reproduce, and we definitely need to let go of the idea that choosing not to be a parent is a selfish thing to do. In all honesty, it's anything but. Here, all the signs you're definitely not supposed to be a parent (and shouldn't feel pressured/bad about it anymore):
You Like To Play With Kids, But Not Take Care Of Them For More Than 24 Hours
You enjoy your little niece or nephew for the few hours that you get them, but once you have to actually care for them — tantrums, dirty diapers, inconveniencing outbursts and all — you're annoyed, or you're ready to hand them back to their parents. The sick truth is that people confuse "likes to play with kids" with "is suited to mentor/raise/unconditionally love and sacrifice for another human being." It is not the same thing.
You Want A Kid Because You Don't Know What Else You'd Do With Your Life/Time
This is the equivalent of only being in a relationship because you don't want to be alone. You have to figure out what you really want first. You may discover that what you desire is in fact to reproduce and create a family of your own, but that's not the point. The point is that you have to very seriously consider what it is you want to do with your life, and if you find the answer is parent AND something else (which it is for many people), you have to be aware of what you're willing to sacrifice, and how often what you sacrifice will be the well-being of a little helpless human.
You Don't Have A Sufficient Degree Of Emotional Intelligence
We are emotional beings. Before we become egotistical and logical, we are emotional, and the way our parents love or don't love us in infancy and childhood more or less sets the foundation for the rest of our lives. Most of the other details don't matter — kids don't remember how many toys they had or how nice their house was or whether or not they ate gourmet food. They remember whether or not they felt loved or cared for. And the thing about loving and caring for a child is that you have to be able to see beyond the surface of an emotion. You have to be conscious enough of your own to understand that punishing a child for more or less feeling is the worst possible thing you can do, and though the alternative requires a lot more patience and awareness, it also creates human beings who are self-aware and honest and can actually process what they feel before it does them in. And if there's anything we need in the world, it's more people like that. Don't contribute to the opposite.
You're Generally Controlling And Suffer From Severe Insecurity
If you can't love yourself unconditionally, you will not be able to love someone else unconditionally, especially not someone who is such an intense reflection/projection of who you are. You will never be able to get through 18+ years with a smidgen of sanity if your well-being still rests on whether or not things are exactly as you want/anticipate for them to be.
You Aren't Of General Health Or Financial Stability, And Don't Care To Take The Steps To Get There
You're setting yourself up for failure if you aren't willing to take steps to take care of either of those two things, and the truth is that they are both often difficult and/or hard to maintain for a lot of people. But you need to take care of the physical form that's going to create another physical form, and be sure that you'll be able to support them once they're in your life for good.
The Way You Imagine Your Future Children Is Specific And Exactly What You'd Prefer
This is usually what happens when people are more interested in having cute accessories or bodies to fill a perfect family photo than they are children to mentor, love, raise and accept no matter what. Your kids will not turn out the way you imagine, and before you have them, you need to open up to that, because in some way, it will be inevitable. You must be of the mindset that these are human beings for you to love, mentor and guide, not accessories, pets or obligations that you have to deal with all the time. This mindset isn't just for their emotional/personal development (though it's crucial to it). It's also for your future self's peace of mind.