Daily Archives: 09/08/2013

#24: I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales from a Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman

I Can Barely Take Care of Myself

Jen Kirkman and I don’t want kids.

Happily for me, that’s pretty much all I ever have to say about this fact.  Kirkman, on the other hand, has enough experience with being told that she’s going to change her mind that she was able to write an entire book about it.  I don’t understand how she hasn’t slapped anyone.

I became a fan of Kirkman from watching Chelsea Lately.  My husband got into her stand up after hearing her phone calls with Paul F. Tompkins on The Pod F. Tompkast.  I then saw her episodes of Drunk History and decided that yeah, she’s really fantastic.  She was so sincere and wanted to be sure that Oney Judge is honored and that she was wearing pants when talking about Frederick Douglass.  What’s not to love?

Her book is her memoir, based on the theme of not wanting kids and how there are a lot of people in this world that just cannot comprehend this.

I’m lucky that I don’t have to deal with this same pressure.  My mom and mother-in-law aren’t baby crazy and are fine not having grandchildren.  A lot of my friends don’t have kids, so it’s not a big deal.  I’ve never been in a situation where I felt like I was being attacked because my husband and I aren’t having kids.  It’s just not a thing.

Kirkman, on the other hand… holy shit!  I never realized that people could be so vicious about another human being deciding that having a kid isn’t something that’s going to happen.

She tells stories of growing up with anxiety and knowing from an early age that she had no control over the world and what happened in it.  She found herself completely unprepared when kids she’d babysit would ask her Big Questions and knew this wasn’t something she wanted to do full time.

Her life is comedy, but for many people, that’s just something she’s going to do until she has kids.  Many of these people are complete strangers.  A woman approached her in the bathroom to tell her that she was really funny, but things would be different once she gave up “all this” to have kids and presumably start her real life.  She’s been told that she’s selfish for not wanting kids.  People assume that she’s judging them because they have kids.  It really sucks.

Happily, Kirkman knows who she is and what she wants.  Even though there are times when people have reduced her to tears, she knows she’s not going to be a mom and she is really happy with her life.  I laughed out loud several times while listening to her read and related to so many of her stories.

I listened to the audio version of this about two months ago and am just now writing my review.   I should apologize to Jen Kirkman because I can’t remember all the stuff I wanted to say about her.It would be great if I had written this review sooner so I could be more specific.

I’m going to go ahead and award myself the Worst Review Written in 2013.  I am so, so sorry.  I really liked the book and did have a lot to say about it, but my procrastination has wrecked it.