I’m going to start this post by making a statement that some may not like.
I don’t like young children.
I’ve never been a maternal person. I come from a small family of four, with no additional relatives and so I wasn’t brought up with any younger children other than my two sisters. As I started to reach my 30’s I expected to feel the desire to become a mother that some of my friends claimed that they felt, but to this very day I have yet to feel anything but annoyance.
While others around me seem to turn mushy when presented with a new baby, proclaiming how ‘beautiful’ it is, I am simply reminded of the ‘Cabbage Patch Kids’ that I had when I was little. Regardless of where I am and what I am doing, it always seems to be accompanied by a screaming child and it’s frustrated parents – shopping, restaurants, public transport, even the cinema… I have lost count of the amount of times my ankles have been battered by a pushchair or I have been woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of next door’s toddler having some sort of tantrum (although they’re lovely so I don’t actually mind)…
I am a big advocate in maintaining authenticity when writing, I believe that everybody should be entitled to their opinion and most of the time I avoid becoming involved in controversial discussion. However, I read a post this morning that both shocked and amused me at the sheer ignorance demonstrated in it’s content. In short, it diminishes and destroys the role of the ‘stay at home mother,’ claiming that a woman who chooses to raise her children on a full-time basis need to stop complaining about how difficult it as and categorises the process of getting married and having children as ‘average’ in the fact that everyone can do it.
Do people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing with a woman who works and takes care of herself?
The reason why I don’t have children is simple: it is the hardest job in the world.
I work. I work really hard. I can sometimes work as many as 100 hours a week and those of you that follow my blog reguarly will be aware of my current frustrations with my profession. However, when I have finished work I get to go home, put the laptop down and spend a few hours in the bath. The Bloke and I can have some quality time together, we can go for a meal, watch a film, I can meet my friends for a quick drink or visit my mother. If I want to stay in bed until 9.00am at the weekends, I can.
This is not a luxury that is available for a parent, regardless of whether they work or not (and here I say parent rather than mother as there are plenty of fathers that stay at home too). In between feedings, changes, comforting, entertaining and household chores (all this being done whilst suffering from severe sleep deprivation) most parents are lucky if they get five minutes to themselves. Indeed, when I have visited friends with young children I am exhausted after just a few hours and thank my lucky stars that I am able to return to my nice, quiet house.
At thirty-two years old, my mother was, and still is, my rock. She was a stay at home mum up until I started school, at one point having three children under the age of six, and some of my earliest memories are of her teaching me how to read and playing games. I lived in a clean house, wore clean clothes and ate three healthy meals every day. When I was ill, she took me to the doctors and worried until I got better. Her evenings were spent taking me to the various activities that I was involved in. She attended every parents evening and every performance I was involved in. She taught me how to knit, sew and cook. When I took my GCSE exams, she sat and revised with me every night. She praised me, encouraged me, and disciplined me when my behaviour was not acceptable. When I was nineteen, she cried when I left home to go to university. She’s taken calls from me at 2.30am and has patiently listened and offered advice. She’s laughed with me, cried with me and grieved with me. There have been times when I was young where I have let her down, dismissed her and been rude to her, but even now is prepared to drop whatever she is doing to help my sisters and I with anything we need.
Over the last thirty two years my mother hasn’t just had the job of being a mother and a P.A.(the job she actually gets paid for). She has taken on the role of taxi driver, teacher, therapist, chef, cleaner, maid, waitress, hairdresser, tailor, party planner, nurse and a personal ATM for the three of us and I don’t remember her asking for much in return. However, as an adult, I have been able to help her out and/or spoil her when she has needed it, and it is a great feeling!
So, for those of you that look down on the role of a parent, I advise you to go and spend just a few hours with one and their offspring.
And for now, I’ll stick to teaching. Far easier.
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