child playing with truck

Are You Qualified To Be A Parent?

“It doesn’t seem like a smart thing for me to do, and I’m pretty adamant about that, I don’t have anything in me that says rush out and have kids. It’s the ultimate responsibility.” ~ George Clooney

While being interrogated, and I mean interrogated, by a relatively new colleague as to why I don’t intend to have children, it occurred to me that as a society we have this completely the wrong way round.

When you make a baby you create an entirely new person. An entirely new person who you’ll be responsible for for the next eighteen years. An entirely new person who’s going to be totally dependent on you for every single thing it needs.

And you can’t take it back if you don’t like it.

With that in mind, rather than it being the standard for people to judge others who say they don’t want kids, I think it’s the parental wannabes who should be bombarded with questions.

Why do you want a baby? What qualifications do you think you can bring to parenthood? How do you plan to deal with any challenges you come up against? What makes you the best person to be a parent? What previous experience do you have in caring for children? How are you at organisation? Time management? Negotiation? Diplomacy?

After all, similar questions were asked of my postman before he was allowed to be the guy who delivers my mail.

Unfortunately, as many tweenage parents could tell you, it’s all too easy to make a baby without even being sure if you’re doing it right.

There are too many children going uncared for in our society, or who’s needs are going unmet because their parents are ill-equipped to answer them. Not everyone is capable of being a good parent, and becoming a parent shouldn’t be the norm.

It being the default family option allows people to make the choice of having children without thinking about it properly first. We should redraw the standard so that those who are trying to conceive expect to explain that they’ve thought it through when they talk about starting a family.

 

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21 Comments on “Are You Qualified To Be A Parent?”

  1. Danielle October 18, 2012 at 1:19 AM #

    No interest in being a parent, found a man who feels the same. Now if only parents I meet would stop saying “But you’ve got to have kids” and “You’ll change your mind you’re only young”. So sick of it! It’s a choice! And I think alot of them are just annoyed to think I have thought through something they never did.

    Like

    • makeupandmirtazapine October 18, 2012 at 7:02 PM #

      It’s really very patronising, and selfish, of people to think that you can’t possibly know your own mind if you want something different for your life to what they have.

      Like

  2. Andie Miller-Chan October 15, 2012 at 8:31 PM #

    Hello, I am the sister in law of your friend Anna. Interesting question. I think they should require a sort of licensing for parents…mandatory first aid at the very least.
    I am the mature(chronologically) mother of an adopted child. By my observations: one is never fully prepared; even the most natural mothers I know can be totally perplexed; it seems many mums are better at dealing with certain ages; nothing is ever as I expected it to be….sometimes better, sometimes worse, but ALWAYS different. I try always to remember how very much i love my child, even when she’s being her most dreadful. I really just try to do things the best I can for both of us and learn from my (highly regular) mistakes. Never dreamed I’d be a single parent, yet here we are and it’s okay and we work through a lot of issues and difficulties together. I am profoundly grateful for my life.

    Like

    • makeupandmirtazapine October 18, 2012 at 7:06 PM #

      Hi Andie! From what I hear you’re doing a brilliant job.
      I’ve always thought that people who adopt must be more sure that they’re doing the right thing than people who just have a baby because they can. It seems like you must have to think about it properly to decide to go through the whole adoption process. I’m glad to hear it’s all working out for you, even if it isn’t quite what you’d planned.

      Sarah

      Like

  3. Isabelle July 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM #

    The realization that the mailman was probably more thoroughly investigated on his ability to be responsible and decent than most parents is pretty brilliant.

    I think about children a lot and understand that I am not now, and may never be, equipped to be a parent.

    Still, people think it’s strange when I talk about not wanting to be a mom.

    Like

  4. Kez July 16, 2012 at 6:50 AM #

    You make a good point! I was adopted as a baby. My parents had to be asked all of those questions and more. So I was guaranteed a pretty great family life. I’m not perfect and I’ve had my baby for 8 months now. It doesn’t come with any bloody failproof instruction kit, this parenthood stuff so you have to be pretty sure you want in!

    Like

  5. cantaloupe July 15, 2012 at 10:13 AM #

    I hear ya, but… I still feel this biological/societal impetus and expectation to become a parent all the same. And I cannot wait for it. And I know that I’m not ready for it at this time and that if I was asked about my qualifications, they’re not quite up to par quite yet if I want super baby. My baby-making resume is still a work in progress by my standards. But my standards are high. I want my baby to be able to be president. (So I have to get back to America so it’s born there, I need enough money for Ivy League, etc.) But if I wasn’t so picky and overthinky, then maybe I could have a baby now! I could feed it, I could send it to school, I could even provide a social support system of some sort. But I definitely wouldn’t qualify for adoption or foster care in America.

    Like

    • makeupandmirtazapine July 17, 2012 at 7:07 PM #

      Wow, it sounds like your baby is going to be one to watch out for :) It sounds like you’ve thought about it a lot. I’m sure you’ll be great.
      It’s the people who only do it because of the biological/societal impulse, who then expect me to change my mind on the basis of a ten minute conversation who scare me.

      Like

  6. Delightfully Awkward Brittany July 15, 2012 at 4:06 AM #

    I agree. It’s insane to me that the process to adopt a child who NEEDS a family, by willing and caring adults, is so thorough but a complete and total irresponsible idiot can have their own and it’s magically okay just because they are biologically related?

    Like

  7. K July 14, 2012 at 3:45 AM #

    While I don’t know if there could ever be a proper way to judge whether someone should have a baby, I do agree with your reasoning. There are so many people that have kids and really shouldn’t have. They don’t care about them, for them, or bother to discipline them. It’s disturbing, and breaks my heart.

    Like

    • makeupandmirtazapine July 14, 2012 at 3:24 PM #

      It’s not really that I think everyone should be judged before having a baby, I’d just like to see that people have put some thought into it before doing it. Instead of thinking it’s something that everyone must do, regardless of whether they want to or ought to.
      It’s always people I hardly know who get annoyed that I’m not going to have one. People who haven’t a clue what kind of mother I’d make. It just seems wrong.

      Like

  8. missustidge July 14, 2012 at 2:09 AM #

    Reblogged this on Domesticated and commented:
    Are YOU qualified to be a parent? Some good food for thought.

    Like

  9. dankline2000 July 14, 2012 at 1:19 AM #

    Well hell i can barely be me with all my problems, but you see i was a parent and have been for over 21 years to date, did i have any qualifications, hell no, i didnt and still dont know what i am doing as far as a parent, but it was there and a responsibility that i could not over look and everything got put on hold in my life to take care of my children, hell we thought we were ready but you never are, and there sure aint no guide book or set of instructions that come along with children,. but so far i think i have done alright got two out of high school and one is a millwright apperntice and well the other he has yet to find his nitch, my daughter is 16 and is on the honor roll every systemster and is taking college nursing courses in high school and is an accomplished singer in this area, hoping she doesnt try out for idol, lol. and of course we still have the Dill (Dylan) machine at home he is 12 and does very well in school, A B student who reads at an above college level loves history and cant stand civics, hell i dont even know what civics is and hates all and i mean all school food. So was i qualified to be a parent, no i was a dope smoking, beer drinking cowboy hell of a good time son of a bitch. and you want me to have kids, alright we will give it a try, i can only fuck them up as bad as i was fucked up right, but see that right there is why i am the parent i am now, i would never give into the impulses that got me to the place and person i am now, even that was put aside so i could raise my children to the best of my ability, that is why i am so bad right now, i could have been working on my self all those years but raising children and their needs came first. Nuff said, I still try my best and that is all anyone can ever do, oh wait i do have more to say sorry, this is for all the teenage mothers out there, keep your legs shut, get an education and make a life for yourself before even deciding to get preganant, and for those of you who use that vagina to keep a man or should i say boy well do you really think he is going to stick around and change diapers if he isnt a decent sort of fellow, fuck no. so use that vagina for its intended use till you grow up. sorry but they tried that with my son and failed and when asked who she got preganant by she could only say she was at a party. Damn sorry so long and kinda bitchy too?????

    Like

    • makeupandmirtazapine July 14, 2012 at 3:27 PM #

      I’m glad to hear yours are doing well. It sounds like you’ve done a great job.

      Like

      • dankline2000 July 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM #

        yes but i think that you have the truth of it on your post people should at least ask themselves these very questions before having a child

        Like

  10. Bourbon July 14, 2012 at 12:22 AM #

    They stop you from being foster parents if you don’t visit your own parents enough. With the amount of children needing fostering and adoption perhaps there shuld somehow be a gruelling panel to sit through too to become a parent.

    Like

    • makeupandmirtazapine July 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM #

      If only there was a way to set up a parenting licencing system.
      Do they really not let you foster if you don’t see your parents? But what if your parents are horrendous?

      Like

      • Bourbon July 14, 2012 at 12:42 AM #

        I’m sure it’s done on a case by case basis. But I have heard recently of a case where potential foster parents went for a review thingybob and were turned away simply for not seeing their parents enough. Ridiculous.

        Like

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