Sunday 24 October 2010


There was a French author a few years back named Corrine Maier, who wrote a book that ruffled a lot of parental feathers. In short, she put forth her arguments as to why one should not have children or feel guilty about not enjoying the ones they have. Of course it kicked up a huge furor despite the fact that many of her arguments made pure logical sense if you could step back and take the emotion out of it (not an easy thing to do). Now now, don’t go thinking I’m going to sell the King for a brand new wardrobe…although I do need one as most of mine is now covered in spit-up. I love the kid and I don’t want my money back.

So looking at her arguments from this purely logical standpoint, one could see where she was coming from. For instance, kids rob you of sleep (for years apparently!), and your personal time; they put a huge strain on your relationship and the environment (the overpopulation issue); they can thwart a woman’s career or even end it for that matter; one’s body is never the same, and for some it is a huge financial burden that can be incredibly stressful. This author had 40 reasons I think; I’m sure most of you out there with children at one time or another thought of one or two yourselves as you traipsed to your kids room at 3am to get them to sleep for the 100th time, or picked up your two year old from the floor of the supermarket after he went apoplectic cause you said no to a certain type of cereal.

So as I love a good debate, it then got me thinking about why we have kids, especially as there are so many women that aren’t afraid to voice how truly hard it is. I like these women... As for the ones that pretend it’s all sunshine and rainbows, I’m not buying it. It’s okay ladies; you can admit you have down days and moments you want to sell your kids on the black market. No one is judging you. Well I’m not anyway.

So today in fact, when I was feeling sorry for myself, exclaiming that I had no time for myself anymore, it suddenly hit me. It’s not about me anymore. It’s not about me at all. Everything I used to do, know and think about my world is now different and that perhaps is a very good thing. And suddenly you understand the meaning of the word selfless, not to mention surrender. Two words I think more of us need to embrace…and it dawns on you that perhaps this is indeed the point. This is why we go through all this, aside from the biological drive to procreate and their ridiculously cute faces and personalities that look at the world in the most unique of ways. Perhaps the greatest human lesson of all is to learn to put others before ourselves, and do it a lot more often (and saying all this, of course those without children can be equally philanthropic and altruistic. In fact, often more so).

Cause with kids, you don’t get the choice. There is no day off, there is no maybe later, there is no more ‘I’ll do what I want when I feel like it.” [Unless you have others rearing your kids of course, and then I suppose one’s selfishness can remain in tact]. All the narcissism and self-obsession has to be checked curbside – at least until they go to school and then you can be narcissistic for a few hours until the bell rings!

With children you are also confronted with the universe’s sense of humor. The juxtaposition of a human’s need to control, and the rude reality that one cannot control much. [So this is why I’m so tired!] Children are the greatest reminders of this. You can try to control everything that happens from sunrise to sunset, and in some ways you may feel like you’re in control ('you’re having broccoli today damn it, not peas.' Ah victory!) but to a great extent, you just have to give in and accept that things are now operating in a totally different way – and it just may feel like flat out chaos. And that’s okay.

Good ol' Whitney Houston claims children are our future; Ah Whitney, she’s kind of like Yoda, isn’t she? I’m going to take a step further and say they’re not only our future but they’re a mirror into our past and present. They remind us what we were, how we got to this point, and how much idle f*cking around we did – and boy was it fun. And then they hold up a mirror into our present and force us to look at ourselves every single day – our disposition, our ability to operate under pressure, our outlook on life, our values. From the big to the small, suddenly your personality and choices in life are under a microscope and it is terrifying. I feel like the King is watching me and saying, mmm, you didn’t handle that so well mom, try again tomorrow. And here I thought I was the one who was going to teach the King all the lessons he needed to learn in life. Boy was I wrong.
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