After a hiatus of a few weeks Kate's Listography is back and has gone monthly.
This month her theme is the Top 5 Things I Love about Kids.
Bloody kids again! Why does the world have to revolve around children?
Why is it that these days I seem to see nothing but kid-centric, "doting-mummy" blogs and websites? And sycophantic parents/grandparents?
Why is it that the vast majority of people can only identify themselves through their children? Or their grandchildren? To the exclusion of all else.
Noreen and I mostly don't do children. We chose not to have children because we were neither of us convinced we wanted them. We were agreed that for us parenthood had to be a full time job for one of us until any youngest child was able to reasonably look after itself after school, especially as we didn't have a raft of nearby family to provide (free) childcare. And we both had careers; in Noreen's case a career break (25+ years ago) would have ended her career — the career she had always wanted. So we preferred to be here to help our friends and their children when they needed it. It's a different sort of give-back.
Fine if you want children. But too many people seem to drift into having kids because they're conditioned to it and can't think about any alternative. Then when they've got them they forget everything else they ever knew and that there's more to life the kids. Once upon a time there weren't reliable alternatives to spawning a child every year or two. Now there are alternatives; let's use them to their fullest potential.
It's almost as if those of us without children become invisible. We don't matter to anyone and we almost don't exist. UK employment law gives special privileges to parents in terms of being allowed time away from work for their family. Those of us without kids get nothing except to cover the parents' work. Isn't that discrimination? Bah! Humbug!
Actually it's worse than because it seems some women are actually vilified and/or bullied because they don't have children, see here.
Besides not having children is probably the least selfish and most eco-friendly thing any of us can do.
Actually I guess it's really that I dislike society's attitude to children and the overarching influence it has on most parents. (Clearly there are exceptions — we spent yesterday evening, very enjoyably, with one of them.)
Having said that, I don't dislike children as long as they are well behaved (but then that applies to adults too). I do dislike those nasty-yelling-messy-smelly-baby-things and their doting retinues.
So what (if anything) do I like about kids? I can't make five but ...
1. Yes, they can be highly amusing. Mispronunciations. Wacky ideas. Crazy antics.
2. Being able to have an adult conversation with them. In my (limited) experience they are actually quite good at this much younger than we think, as long as one picks words and concepts carefully.
3. Being able to "give them back". They're fine for an hour or two, but God, looking after the little buggers all the time would seriously drive me nuts!
Sorry Kate! I'm just being a grumpy old git.