Thursday, 12 April 2012

Having kids....the perennial "issue"

Mother and daughter - Little Miss B wearing a Gap top I got at Christmas - I think Gap do nice things for kids - you would never guess her name in a SQUILLION years

Nail blogging seems to be an exclusively female preoccupation. I read a lot of blogs and this still surprises me. So here's a post about an issue women obsess over perhaps even more than whether or not to buy the latest Illamasqua nail polish collection.

Yes, babies. Shall I, shan't I? When? With whom? Where?

Visit of daughter #1 and her two children made me think about this (again). I'm a keen advocate of the following position:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

"This Be The Verse" by Philip Larkin

And yet, despite having felt fairly screwed up by my own parents, I went on to have two kids of my own. I never expected to. I really thought I wouldn't but I did. And I certainly made a pretty poor job of it and behaved quite irresponsibly. And yet they have both made it to adulthood and daughter #1 (above) now has two children of her own. To see her mother her children is an absolute delight. Astonishingly, given that I wasn't a great mother so I don't think she had a good role model, she is amazing! This proves that a mother's influence isn't necessarily as central as we might think.

As regards my own childhood I can still be bitter at times. Or maybe regretful is a better word. I still think Larkin's poem gives excellent advice even if I failed to follow it. Mea culpa.

Funny business this children-thing. My only (somewhat incoherent) conclusion is that you must do what you must do and get on with it the very best you can.

This entails:
  • Move on from your mistakes and don't spend too long berating yourself. 
  • Try not to condemn others too readily. It may be harder than you think.
  • Try to forgive yourself and stop wasting time on soul-searching.
  • Respect women who don't want children.  It's not compulsory, you know.
  • Support women who do have kids in practical ways if you can.
  • There's always another day and another chance. Never let the sun set on your wrath etc.
  • We're mostly pretty resilient (evolutionary necessity) so keep the faith that we'll all come through it reasonably unscathed
A Not yet but am keen
B Got some already
C My kids got their own kids (smug/relieved/astounded/amazed/thrilled)
D Maybe but then again maybe not
E A thousand times NO
F Why would I listen to the outpourings of a woman who admits to a less than accomplished career as a parent?



  1. E! I've been saying it for the last 20years or more. I knew from being a teenager that it wasn't for me!

  2. Definitely E as well - I'm now 33 and people are only just starting to believe me when I say that I've never wanted them. I even supported my boyfriend when he decided to have a vasectomy as he's never wanted kids either and it's a choice that has only recently started to gain support from some friends. The other friends and all my family though have always been supportive of my decision which is nice to know!

  3. Each to their own, it has to be 100% your choice.
    Love this post, and your honest. For a start no parent is perfect, and I'm sure you did your best in the end you are there that's all that matters being there. My mum is my best friend, she was a single parent (and did her best) cut a long sorry short, shit happened and we found out she was bi polar so as I got older we went through a lot. Regards of what my mum can't do and has not done, I have always focused on things she does and did. She's 100% perfect to me for everything, right or wrong because my dad on the other hand (self centred prick) was just never there. He flowed in and out of my life, my mum has never done that (his also bi polar). So yeah she fucked up something, but she always tried to fix it unlike my dad. As a mother of two now B but I was once and E, I realise just how fucking hard it really is. That your child depends on you, that you impact more than anyone in their life, I will do all I can for them even if it's not always what they want. As I now realise my mum did what I needed, and I can't thank her enough for not letting me fuck up my life over the years. All the shit that's happened in my life has disappeared, I refuse to pass the negative to my boys. The only thing I worry about is all the crazy, messed up things going on in this world and that one day they I hope will reach adulthood and I hope they look after each other when me and their dad are no longer here. Sorry for this epic comment xxx