Apparently it’s a trend on social media for couples to celebrate that they have two incomes and no kids. The acronym for that is DINK: dual-income, no kids.
For as long as I’ve been alive — I’m a millennial — the child-free lifestyle has been boosted by every media format. That plus the genuine hard work of raising kids (especially without any nearby family) often makes me wonder about the alternate universe in which I didn’t have kids, or waited a little longer.
But these DINK videos sure are dispelling that idea. Supposedly these people are selling me a wealthy, childless lifestyle, but what they’re actually doing is making me think about having a seventh baby.
It seems like all they have to offer are pizzas at Costco (h/t Chris Bray) and Philistine-style trips to Europe to get photos for Instagram. Seems pretty freaking pointless. I can do that and have six kids.
Plus, having six kids makes life so much more meaningful than Costco pizza. The pizza is then a means to the end of keeping them growing and happy, instead of just … eating out for lunch for the 578,234th time. How many times can you eat Costco pizza and enjoy it, really? Even when I get my kids that pizza (which they love because they’re kids), I don’t eat that crap. I eat steak (really).
When I worked in an office and didn’t have any kids, lunch was the most boring thing ever after about the first year. I started asking colleagues out to lunch to make it more interesting. That was fun, because I had interesting colleagues. But after a while, even Potbelly subs with an extra giant pickle are same old, same old.
It’s got to be the same thing for the DINK lifestyle after at least a decade. Even after five years the 347th round of staring at the guy who hasn’t grown personally in your entire marriage across your Costco pizza under the tacky warehouse fluorescent lighting sounds like an early circle of hell. Nobody’s going to make a TikTok video about that round of Costco pizza because it’s obviously sad — just like the above video.
Seriously, all these people can come up with to promote their way of life is: shopping at grocery stores; travel; spontaneity; sleeping; and regular sex. They are clueless about what it’s like having kids. You can do all these things and have kids. I know, because I do it, and so do my friends, several dozen of whom have at least four kids.
For one thing, there is nothing more spontaneous and carefree than a child. I go to all sorts of amazing places I’d never see if they didn’t exist. Last night, I took them to a field trip I arranged at a local organic farm that grows year-round. Thirty-five people got to muck about in the mud in December and see all the cool ways the earth works with a lot of work and ingenuity.
The children were positively giggling at digging up carrots and turnips — yes, turnips! — and eating them right there in the field with the dirt still on them. That’s the life, folks. Boom Chicka Pop bought for the 12th or — gag — 70th time at a disgusting, dystopian Costco cannot compare. I don’t even know what to say to people who think it could.
Besides, I go to Trader Joe’s and get snacks all the time. In fact, I did that two nights ago. It’s not like having a baby makes you disabled. Maybe not having a child disables some part of your brain so that you start thinking stupid things like “moms don’t buy snacks at Trader Joe’s.”
As for sex, how do you think we even got six kids? Not by having sex one time, OK? Also not giving myself an autoimmune condition with hormonal birth control, which I super-appreciate. It’s also pretty amazing being married to a man who is not afraid of my fertility, nor makes me take drugs to suppress being born a woman and make my body a death trap for children we never even knew we had.
Sleeping: I sleep way better than multiple single people I know. If you want to trash newborns for needing to nurse every three hours, I don’t want to hear it unless you’re also trashing your melatonin-destroying screen addiction and work computer, or refusing to stay out late drinking because that wrecks your circadian rhythm. OK?
Seems to me that loving another human is a way more noble reason to deal with broken sleep for a short time than “I partied again.” Unless parents let them do otherwise, kids usually start sleeping fine around three to six months old. A few months is not much of a sacrifice. How do people even stay alive if they can’t stand that low a level of pain tolerance? It’s harder than that to earn a real promotion.
Lastly, on travel. Yes, I do want to go to Europe very much. I turned down a solo trip to London a few months ago, not because we couldn’t afford it but because our dual-income, six-kid household cannot run if I’m gone more than two or three days. All the plates don’t stay in the air if I’m not here to catch them.
But a) that won’t last very much longer (oldest kids are almost able to pinch hit) and b) we travel all over the United States constantly. Every school break there is, we’re off somewhere fun and new. The United States is a huge country and we like to explore it. Despite doing that my whole life there still are amazing places I haven’t seen here.
But also people do travel abroad with kids. I know multiple American families who have traveled and even lived in Europe for a time with their children. My parents took several of my siblings abroad (after I aged out of their house, natch). You can do anything you want to do with kids in tow. And the kids make everything so much better.
Plus, they are so, so stinking cute. They’re way better than pets. We have a dog, and I’ve had ponies, so I have comparisons. Kids are way, way cuter, way more often. My two littlest make me laugh almost every time they say something because their voices and expressions are so funny.
These videos don’t make me wish I had never had kids. They make me think, “So that’s all the child-free life has to offer? Maybe it’s time for another baby.”