Babies! Lots of people are having them. It's how the human race survives! But just in case you're one of those strange people who's inexplicably opposed to the idea or doesn't want to "give up your life" – if you can even call your sorry, childless existence a "life" – allow me to point out all the reasons why having children is a wonderful thing to do.
You have complete power over them!
As a parent, you have as much absolute power as Kim Jong-Un, without the nuclear arsenal or unlikely friendship with Dennis Rodman. When they're newborn, babies are more portable than most dogs, and will just lie there in a pram or bassinet. Plus, unlike dogs, you can take them to fancy restaurants and just park them on the floor. Not only are they powerless to object, but they don't even have the capacity to articulate an objection.
As they grow up and begin arguing back, you can impose whatever punishments you like. Grounding, limiting television, even imposing a diet of gruel, Oliver Twist-style – all these potential punishments are open to you, and there's no court of appeal besides the other partner. (Or, in certain cases, DOCS – do bear that in mind.)
It's also good to be aware that you'll pay for this later when they're teenagers, and won't do a single thing that you say, even if it's entirely reasonable and clearly in their best interests.
You'll never be stuck for something to do!
You know those days when you wake up with nothing planned? That will soon be a distant memory after your first child emerges from the womb. Instead, you'll have a busy schedule of ferrying your children to birthday parties, sports commitments and visits to zoos, museums, parks and the beach.
If you should find yourself not doing this at any point during a weekend or holiday, your child will soon set things straight by whining at you until you drive them to see some stupid movie at the stupid multiplex, or whatever.
The universal rule of parenting is that the only time parents ever get to themselves is during brief periods of slacking off at work, and at night after the kids have gone to bed, when you get to sit at the kitchen table and catch up on your overdue tax return.
Even those times can be interrupted at any moment by a sick or worried child. If this ever makes you feel a little overwhelmed, don't worry – your kids will move out of home eventually, and shortly afterwards expect you to take care of their grandchildren.
You can buy stuff "for them" that's actually for yourself!
Bigger houses, better ("safer") cars, in-ground pools, expensive holidays, video game consoles – just about any purchase you desire for sheer materialism's sake can be justified as being "for the kids". As long as there's some benefit your children can share, you'll seem like a wonderful provider instead of a selfish hoarder.
Unfortunately, children are infernally expensive to begin with, and soon begin constantly demanding that you spend money on them, so you're unlikely to have any spare discretionary income to devote to these kinds of purchases. But it's nice to know that you could blow your cash guilt-free if you ever did have any.
You get constant, adoring companionship!
Your children will celebrate openly whenever you come home, and will be absolutely desperate to play games with you – games that you haven't been able to enjoy since you were a kid yourself.
Plus, spending time with your children will allow you to enjoy entertainment that's normally frowned on for grown-ups, like the Muppets and Pixar movies. The only drawback is that you will also be forced to watch Dora the Explorer.
This joy of simple companionship will come to an abrupt end in your child's teens, when you will suddenly embarrass them more than anyone else on the face of the earth, but until then, it'll be great.
You'll never be stuck for small talk again!
Have you ever wondered what to say to a taxi driver, or bartender, or dull colleague? When you have kids, you'll never need to talk about the weather again! Just embark on lengthy updates about your child's mental and physical development, subtly intended to suggest that your kids are better than those of the person you're talking to, and that you are therefore also a better parent and person.
The freedom of being stuck for conversation will also apply when you have lengthy discussions with your child about things like dinosaurs and Bob the Builder and minor orcs from Lord of the Rings, and how their friends' parents let their kids do things that you won't let them do.
You'll be able to miss any social occasion you like!
Whether it's a potentially lame party, a tedious family function or an embarrassing school reunion, children give you a permanent get-out-of-lame-social-events-free card.
Your friend will completely understand why you couldn't turn up to his barbecue when you tell him your kids were sick. After all, who wouldn't prefer eating lukewarm sausages and drinking warm beer in an all-concrete backyard to caring for vomiting kids? Well, you, since it gives you the chance to catch up on the latest episodes of Game of Thrones while occasionally pausing to give your kids a glass of flat lemonade.
But then again, this question of going to social events is entirely academic to begin with, because wrangling kids will leave you too tired to ever leave the house in the first place.
You'll experience the joy of narcissism!
Remember how Austin Powers' nemesis Dr Evil created a “Mini-Me”? Well, that's exactly what you're doing! Your child will resemble you more than anyone else on the face of the earth ever could, unless of course you have a twin. You'll constantly be thinking, "Oh, that's exactly what I do!" and when you look them in the eye, you'll see yourself looking back in miniature.
This simple fact of genetics will also mean that the flaws you find most problematic about yourself will probably be replicated in them as a constant reminder of your own inadequacy. And you won't even be able to object, because they'll say, "But Dad, you pick your nose too!"
This piece is dedicated to my newborn niece, who I'm sure will be a delightful exception to any minor downside of parenting mentioned above.
This article first appeared on Daily Life.