Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Baby greens


“But my friend already has five,” she says.
“So?” I reply.
“Well, it’s not fair.”

You see, my mum is entitled – at least she thinks she is – to grandchildren, so this topic of conversation rears its horrendously ugly head on a regular basis, albeit with some variation. With this level of tenacity being utilised, it would be easy to assume that I am an only child – wrong. She hedges her bets and tells my siblings and me the same thing in the hope that one of us will take heed.

I suspect she thinks that I’ll change my mind at some point, suddenly embrace some mythical maternal instinct and start breeding. It is a mindset that seems to be held by other people too, but alas, bad daughter that I am, they are all wrong.

I don’t want children and can’t understand why people don’t get that. I don’t question parents on their insistence on having children and filling the world with more people than it can handle and, yet, I’m fair game.

“I don’t really like children. I’ve seen their work: I’m not a fan. They’re loud, needy, expensive and worrying.”

Not only is it fair game to question (and rubbish) my motives, but it is apparently also quite alright to deem me selfish for the decision I have made. Selfish! Maybe I should have six kids and bring them up with Government assistance – how selfish would I be then? Or have a few rugrats before taking up a debauched lifestyle so I could leave them home alone – that wouldn’t be selfish at all.

If breeders were truly the altruistic ones, they would do more to look after the children that are already here, languishing in care, rather than producing more.

Does my apparent selfishness arise due to the fact that a woman’s purpose in life is to have children? Is that all we’re good for? I suspect that, in the main, I’m seen as selfish because I have chosen not to spend my time and money on a child, but that is my decision to make. I like the fact that no one is dependent on me – I don’t want the responsibility and, besides that, I don’t really like children. I’ve seen their work: I’m not a fan. They’re loud, needy, expensive and worrying.

I don’t want to be concerned with illnesses, injuries, schools, behaviour, general well-being. I don’t want to be concerned with someone else every minute of the day and I certainly don’t want to think of all the money a sprog requires to raise it to adulthood.

I want to retain the freedom and independence I have and I’m sure many would baulk at the suggestion that people’s outrage may be a result of jealousy, a touch of the greens arising from the fact that I am not a slave to the fruit of my loins. Seething yet? Now you know how I feel.

I don’t wish that I was a parent and am not jealous of those that are – more power to them – but they should do me the same courtesy and accept that we don’t all want the same thing. They should also accept that we are not all as impressed as you are by every action and garbled word that comes from Little Darling Resource Drain.

I certainly don’t begrudge the love and pride that parents have for their children; in fact, I respect those that chose to dedicate their lives to children. In turn, respect the fact that I like my life as it is and that I don’t want the major responsibility that having a child brings.

There is no maternal instinct, I don’t feel the need to coo over babies, I don’t need a mini me to follow in my footsteps – I’m happy for my genes to die with me.

Believe me, it doesn’t matter if I ‘meet the right man’ or ‘get to a certain age’; I still won’t want them. Female prerogative - get over it! Read more by Shermaine.