Motherhood: the only way to grow up?

God, how boring are ‘the mummy wars’? Firstly, it’s a pretend war – fabricated, or at least facilitated, by the media. Do women really sit around and abuse each other for breastfeeding, or not; going to work, or not; smacking their kids, or not. Maybe behind each other’s backs, but what you don’t know…

Anyway, it seems like the media love talking abut motherhood. The breastfeeding cover of Time magazine has gone viral because it taps into this whole motherhood obsession – and throws in a bit of sexual undertone and shock value.

Since  when were women so fascinated by talking about, debating, judging and generally poring over having children? Have we always been, and now we just have the forums and the space to do it? I’m not sure – I just have a vague sense that it used to be more straightforward.

However, I come at the question from a childless perspective, and I wonder whether I am an unbiased observer, or my annoyance is simply borne out of some deep-seated insecurity about not having children myself.

I don’t want kids right now. Don’t know if I ever will, or if I will be overcome with maternal feelings some years hence, and jump on board the baby train.

But in your thirties, it’s hard to sit on the sidelines as everyone around you procreates. Having a baby is such an all-consuming thing, and raising a child is a long and intense experience; I’m sitting on the outside.

It’s like watching someone train for a marathon: you admire them, you see how much they love it, but there’s no bloody way you’re putting your runners on to join in.

It’s a tricky place to inhabit – everyone around me seems to be growing up and being responsible and becoming parents. I appear to be in a somewhat self-absorbed, extended adolescence. But do you have a child just because you think it’s a rite of adulthood? Surely not.

Surely you should have what I call a ‘baby-sized hole in your heart’ – the feeling that you want to create and raise a child. Either that, or you have a  failure of contraception, which you welcome in the end.

So I don’t have a point of view to argue, just a quiet reflection on the complexities of ageing and the questions it raises.

And in the meantime, I am concentrating on being a bloody good Aunty.

    • Ellen
    • May 13th, 2012

    Love it Bo, does it make you feel any better that I still feel like I’m in an extended adolescence and way too inexperienced and irresponsible to have kids! Just don’t let on hey 😉

    • Really? You seem like one of the MOST responsible people I know! Good to know it’s just a front.

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