When looking at the pros and cons of procreation, comedian, children’s author and mother-in-the-making Catie Wilkins developed her own pros checklist, which she wanted to share.
Who’s going to argue that the creakingly populated earth doesn’t need another one of me?
In the ongoing smug-offs between people-who-have-kids and people-who-don’t-have-kids, I am currently in the process of defecting: I am pregnant. (Thanks, we’re really excited).
But you don’t need to congratulate me. I’m actually doing it for loads of the wrong reasons.
It’s OK though: I’ve thought through all my terrible reasons very carefully, and I don’t think they’re that much worse than all the right reasons I was supposed to be motivated by.
This is them, see what you think:
I noticed my body was deteriorating and I thought, “quick, better have a baby I can blame this on”.
2) Vanity again.
I took one look at our over populated, polluted world and thought, “you know what this planet needs? More people like me on it”.
I wanted to make sure I had kids while my parents were still young enough to look after them.
I know, right? I’m totally a victim of all those articles with needlessly scary headlines about ‘career’ women leaving it too late to have kids. The truth is, you have to pick the sweet spot when your parents have just retired, but are miles away from needing stair lifts.
And the great thing is, they’ll be looking for ways to avoid being put in a home, so it’s really in their interest to help.
This is especially a concern, as now I’m in my thirties, I actually have what could just about be labeled a career.
I spent most of my ‘more fertile’ twenties mainly temping and crying. And being rejected from the kind of work I really wanted to do. I’m not sure that would have been the best environment for a child. That said, the crying competitions would have been a sight to behold.
And what’s the worst my parents could do? They seem way more stable and less drunk now than when I was a kid. And I turned out OK. (If you don’t count how I wasted my twenties temping and crying.)
You know how sometimes you buy a nice jumper, never wear it, and then one day you think, “I must get some use out of this while I still can?” Well I was thinking the same thing about my uterus.
I was bored being a woman, just being discriminated against based on my age, looks, weight and clothes. It was time to bring new potential for judgment into the mix.
Apparently, when you are a mother (or even just an obvious baby-concealing bump) people are allowed to critique you. Not just in their minds either. They’re allowed to come up to you in the street and tell you their views on what you’re doing wrong. I know, I’ve seen it happen to my friends.
I can’t wait for this phenomenon to happen to me. In many ways I’ve led quite a sheltered life, so it might be quite exciting to become one of the most demonised and controversial figures of the modern world.
Also, one of my first ever jobs was picking up litter, and people used to actually cross the street to avoid me. (It’s possible that with my luminous visibility jacket and pincer-grabbing thing, they thought I was a young criminal doing community service and not doing a paid job for the council.) It will be interesting to experience the other end of the spectrum when it comes to public over-reaction to my personhood.
6) More vanity.
As a sci-fi fan, this is the closest I will be able to get to making a clone of myself. I mean, the baby will technically only be half my DNA as it will contain some of my husband’s genetic make up. But I have deliberately mated with the worst male specimen I could find in the hope that all my DNA will prove superior and thus I will get a baby that is at least 90% me, with just a few of my feckless mate’s weaknesses having made it through.
And so we get to my main reason. I just wanted to finally be able win an argument against the people who smile patronisingly and simper: “well, you’ll understand when you have kids”.
Woody Allen decided the most beautiful words in the English language are not, “I love you”, but “It’s benign”. With this in mind, I’d like to put forth a cast iron case for the most annoying words in the English language: “You’ll understand when you have kids”.
Of course on it’s own, this sentence is merely irritating. But when combined with an obscene level of condescension and an argument that has NOTHING TO DO WITH HAVING KIDS, I think it should be a punishable offence.
The thing is, there are certain arguments you do get to win as a parent. Anything to do with your own child basically.
As someone who does not yet have a baby, I accept that the one blog I read about nappy rash does not outrank a parent’s practical experience of it. I’m not an idiot.
But I’m simply not having people trying to win arguments with me about UKIP just because they have kids. You are not suddenly an expert on everything from gay marriage to climate change just because you have thus far succeeded in keeping a clone of yourself alive.
One of these offenders recently expressed surprise that I was going to bother voting, when the outcome didn’t really affect me because I don’t have kids. (Excuse me? When did this happen? When did citizenship only become applicable to procreation?)
You know how sometimes you buy a nice jumper, never wear it and then one day you think, “I must get some use out of this while I still can?” Well I was thinking the same thing about my uterus.
If anything, surely it’s more shortsighted to only care about the state of the world in relation to how it affects your kids. I mean, it’s that logic that has allowed millionaire politicians to erode the welfare state.
But I’ve digressed. The point is, the next time someone steps on my foot, sneezes in my face or tells me I’m wrong to hate Top Gear and that I’ll “understand when I have kids,” I will be able to whip out a baby, and counter: “Aha! That’s where you’re wrong! This here is my child, and I still disagree with you! In your face smug-o! Check mate my friend, check and mate.” That is genuinely what I’ll say.
Shut up, it’s going to be totally worth it. I don’t see what the problem is. Well, maybe I’ll understand when I have kids.
Catie Wilkins is a writer, comedian and children’s author who likes jokes and stories.