Parent vs Non-Parent

There is a question that faces each of us at some point in our lives – to be a parent, or not to be? A certain little book entitled ‘No kid: 40 reasons not to have kids‘ that has mothers worldwide in a fury of indignation.

Why? Because the author herself has three children. The message of the book? Stick to saying ‘me first’ and avoid the trap of motherhood. Have fun, focus on yourself. It’s a brave woman who will stand up for her right to have children.

So. Is motherhood really all that bad? Let’s look at some of her reasons to avoid it.

1. The desire for children is a false aspiration. According to whom, exactly? And why is it false? I see nothing wrong with wanting to have children. I mean, no one wants to be alone in their old age, right?
2. Childbirth is torture. Point made, but a c-section wasn’t all that bad, and can be undertaken voluntarily, with good pain medication too.
3. Don’t become a walking, talking feeding-bottle. Breastfeeding is not compulsory.
4. Continue to amuse yourself. Fair enough, but a little selfish, no?
5. Subway-job-brats: no thanks. Sure, no one likes to hear screaming kids on public transport or in public places, but so what? reason enough to avoid procreation? I think not.
6. Keep your friends. If they’re not there after the child arrives, they were never friends in the first place. Be honest.
7. Dont fall victim to the atrocious ‘baby-talk’ that most parents use to communicate with their spawn. Not all of u talk to our babies like that. it annoys me even, granted.
8. To choose a nursery is to close the door on the hall of fun. Au contraire, I say.
9. Children kill desire. Kiss your sex-life goodbye. Okay, maybe for a while, but it doesn’t last forever. Sex after baby can still be fantastic, it just requires a little more effort.
10. They are the death toll of the couple’s relationship. I disagree.
11. To be or to make: you should not have to choose. And you dont have to choose. No one said you did.
12. The child is a vicious dwarf of innate cruelty. It may seem that way, but really they aren’t.
13. It is conformist. Really? And that matters why?
14. Children are too expensive. Indeed they are. But they are also totally rewarding. Totally.
15. You become a slave to the capitalist machine. You dont HAVE to buy that baby monitor/compactum/baby sling. In fact, they’re a waste of money.
16. They give you a headache. So does watching tv or drinking to amuse yourself (see reason 4).
17. They are drudgery for parents. I’d say this is true only about 15% of the time.
18. Don’t let the notion of the ‘ideal child’ fool you. True. But then who wants to have the ideal child? I want a child that is unique, is his own person.
19. You’ll inevitably be disappointed by your child. That’s a bit pessimistic, dont you think? Never ever once have I ever been disappointed by my child. In fact, he manages to amaze me at least once every hour.
20. To become a soccer mom – what a nightmare. Agreed, but not the WORST punishment in the world.
21. Parenting, above all else – no thanks. why not? Responsibility isn’t all that bad.
22. Dont fall victim to contributing to a child professional’s income. Fair enough, but it is great to have a little help sometimes.
23. Families are horrible. Shame. Is your family that bad? I think my family is lovely, circus-freaks and all.
24. Do not return to childhood. Again. Shame, was your childhood that bad?
25. To stick to saying ‘me first’ is a mark of courage. And it’s even more of a mark of courage to say ‘I manage to find time for myself, even though I must make time for kids and partner.’
26. A child will kill any fond memories you had of childhood. Not so much.
27. You will be unable to prevent youself from wanting your child to be happy. And what, exactly, is wrong with this? How is this supposed to put you off kids?
28. Childcare is a set of impossible dilemmas. Not really. Every dilemma has a possible solution. Mothering teaches you to problem-solve creatively.
29. School is a prison camp with which you will have to make peace. School wasn’t all that bad. Why else do they say that ‘school days are the best times of your life?‘If you think it’s that bad, then just home-school your kids, man.
30. You can raise a child, but for what future? Wow, negativity reigns, I see. You raise your child because he or she IS the future.
31. Flee from benevolent mediocrity. Huh? How is parenting a contributing factor to benevolent mediocrity?
32. Parenting will make you soft. I disagree. Parenting teaches you to be hard inside. And to do it with love.
33. Motherhood is a trap for women. Again, I disagree. Even though my pregnancy was unplanned, I dont feel trapped.
34. You must choose between being a mom and a success. Again, I disagree. I dont have to choose. I will succeed, but it just might take me a bit longer. In fact, I have even more incentive to succeed now that I’m a mother.
35. When the child arrives, the father disappears. Disagree completely. Not every man is like that. Some men take to the Mr Mommy role naturally. Most others can be taught. It’s not that hard.
36. Today’s child is a perfect child: welcome to our perfect world. Perfection measured by whose standards?
37. Your child will be in constant danger of paedophiles and pornographers.True enough. But not reason enough not to have children.
38. Why contribute to a future of unemployment and social exclusion? Such negativity….
39. The planet is over-crowded enough already. Fair enough, so only have ONE child.
40. Turn your back on the ridiculous rules of being a good parent. I agree.Do parenting your way, one day at a time. Make your own rules.

Okay, if you’re anything like me, those reasons either made you scream with laughter or seethe with rage. My pregnancy was both unplanned, and at the time, unwanted. That’s no secret. Although being a mother is not the easiest thing in the world (the hardest jobs are often the most rewarding) I’ve still yet to regret becoming a mother.

If it were all that bad, why would people be spending a fortune on fertility drugs and procedures? Because it’s completely worth it. It either makes you wake the fuck up, or fuck out completely.

But we must take this book for what it is – a satirical, bitingly funny (and sometimes) true representation of what it means to be a mother. (or a father) it’s not all giggling plump babies, the smell of talcum powder and the idyllic scenes usually represented in adverts like this one. Motherhood, in my experience, is about shitty nappies, snotty noses, milk-stains on your clothes, and constantly smelling like vomit. But motherhood is also about being excited when your child first smiles, first crawls and laughs. Motherhood – it’s the bad, with the good to take the edge off.

Can women be honest about the downsides of motherhood? Is an important question.

It’s still taboo for women to express mixed feelings about motherhood, but many don’t find the idyll they’d been led to expect.’ If you’re a mother, does that ring true for you?

Certainly. And that’s what the author of ‘No Kids’ is saying. That sometimes mommyhood sucks, and sometimes it’s so completely amazing, it just about breaks your heart. Okay, she doesn’t say it outright, you have to read between the lines for that. I think Anne Taintor gets it completely right with her sassy, funny magnets. One that I especially relate to it her  ‘remember sweetheart, mommy loves you, but she doesn’t have to like you’ magnet.

And that’s completely true. You can love being a mother, without having to like all the things that go with it – wiping snotty noses, being a soccer mommy, changing shitty nappies, having to do potty-patrol, and dealing with tantrums.

I’m all for being completely honest about it. I love being a mommy, but I hate all the tedious tasks that come along with motherhood. But, overall, is it worth it?

I’d say – definitely. Motherhood is totally worth it, despite all the bad press.

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