I’ve never had children. I believe that’s my choice and my right.
Even in the 21st Century, there is often a peculiar reaction, mainly from people with children. If I respect their rights to add to the planet’s population, why can’t they respect my decision not to?
I expect the older generation not to understand, they don’t get why I’m not married either, I heard my father explain to some old dears at a ghastly family wedding that “She’s a career woman” as if by being a member of this freakish species, this explained everything. It wasn’t said with any degree of pride, either. (I think it was called blue-stocking in their day).
Younger people,too, especially those who are particularly proud of their ability to reproduce, have questioned me as if I have “missed out”, due to some tragic circumstance. “Haven’t you ever wanted to have children?” “Didn’t you find the right man?” ” Is there something wrong?” “You do like men, don’t you?” “i’ve always thought you’d be a lovely mother” and other perfectly intrusive, assumptive and downright rude statements.
When I get sick of a series of questions like this I often wonder if I should let them have it with both barrels, then again, I don’t feel I should have to defend my position.
I don’t think people are truthful about the whole she-bang. The conditioning is so intense that some people just sleep walk into marriage, parenthood and then find themselves years down the line, ‘staying together for the sake of the kids’. And, of course, the whole thing is fabulous and wonderful. Without exception. I don’t believe that for a moment.
There is a lot of false PR about having kids. This must be hard for those that choose to breed – how does the reality of a crying child that cannot sleep, compare to the sickly marketing, the social expectations, the sweetened up stories about how glorious motherhood is?
I think that children are little people and like people they are pretty,ugly,friendly,nasty,funny,horrible, loving, hateful and every shade of description in between. They aren’t all giggly,adorable bundles of joy, at least not all of the time.
I don’t think all babies are beautiful. The brand new ones give me the creeps. They are maggoty and parasitical, with those scrunched up red faces and that piercing wail that sends me as crazy as a torture device. And they smell horrible. A cocktail of sour milk, wee and shit. Sorry, I know that’s not the party line.
Some babies are nice enough, once they look human and can respond to external stimuli, some toddlers can be great fun and children too – you might be surprised to know that I’m very good with them, prefer them to adults in some situations – but not ALL children nor ALL people.
And children seem to like me, the ones I know anyway. And the little munchkins have a refreshingly instinctive approach to identifying who is positive and who is negative, rather like dogs and cats.
I fully appreciate that parenting is the hardest job in the world and the ultimate responsibility. Your effect on your progeny is lifelong and at some stage the little darlings will seem ungrateful . It’s too hard for me and I’m not up to it. At least I know this.
I do believe, however, that if you’re going to do it, you should do your best. I get angry with people who pop out kids and then don’t seem to care that they are screaming constantly, getting into supermarket trolleys with shit on their shoes (where other people put their food – for God’s sake!) or running around in restaurants and bars, spilling drinks, knocking over tables or weaving in and out of waiters carrying boiling coffee and hot food.
It shows a complete lack of respect for everyone else. These are often bad parents, the kind that palm the kids off to a nanny during the week and then ignore them while having lunch with their friends at the weekend. Children as noisome accessories that deserve less attention than the Chihuahua in their handbags, who,at least, gets a tidbit or a pat on the head occasionally. Children only run riot when they are bored.
At the other end of the social scale, we have the “I need something to love” poverty stricken, teenage mother. Growing up in a household where little or no value is placed on females, a failure at school and ambitions to be like Jordan; they deliberately get pregnant because being a mother is the only way they can find some kind of worth, believing that the child, at least, will offer them unconditional love. These conditions just replicate, sadly. Lost children bearing more lost children.
And there’s the rest. Good people, doing the best they can. Which is fair enough. Their choice and they have good intentions. They have made a big sacrifice. They care about their kids and have respect for others around them. And it’s great that they exist, because otherwise the population of this land would be a horrible mix of love starved brats and children with child mothers. Hurrah for the parents who raise normal kids! I respect you.
I will still get angry when I see a hair flicking bunch of mothers sitting around their designer handbags, ignoring the fact that two of their children have fallen over and are crying loudly. I’ll still have words with the parents that block access in restaurants for the waiters and other customers with pushchairs the size of armoured personnel carriers.
I’ll still be rude to people like the woman I saw laying her child on the table of a chi chi cafe and changing its shit filled nappy right there, while all around were eating, even though a toilet with child changing facilities was a matter of feet away. (I asked her how she’d feel if I took a shit on the middle of the table while she was having lunch).
I’m not delighted, at 11pm at night, when I’m having an intimate birthday dinner, that the militant mother who has blocked the waiter’s access to the kitchen with an enormous pram, pops out her huge veiny white tit, with its raw, discoloured nipples and attaches a squalling child to it, ignoring the horror of the older people (possibly the in laws) at her table and putting me right off my mozzarella.
Parents or not, we’re sharing this planet and should respect the people around us. Just because you have proved that you can reproduce, does not give you the right to ignore the needs of everyone around you. After all, what kind of message is that sending to your kids?
I’d better get back in the bunker now. Bring on the militant mummies!