Monday, August 27, 2007

Would your life be better without children?

Enfants terribles
The book is surprisingly funny and is making me smile as I read it in the departure lounge at Luton Airport, surrounded by a good many badly behaved, tiresome examples of why this outspoken French writer might be on to something.

“Open your eyes,” she tells French women. “Your children will be baby-losers, destined for unemployment, insecure or low-grade work . . . They will have a life even less rigol-ote (fun) than yours, and that’s saying something. No, your marvellous babies have no future, as every baby born in a developed country is an ecological disaster for the whole planet.”
. . .
“Children are there to stop you enjoying yourself. It’s a child’s hidden face. Believe me, he will be very inventive in this area. He will be ill when you (finally) arrange a night out, he will bug you when you celebrate your birthday with your friends, he will hate it if you bring someone he’s never met back for the night, and beyond that you won’t dare tread for fear of traumatising him for life.” She goes on to list the things you will almost certainly have to give up after having children. They include: a full night’s sleep, a lie-in, deciding to go to the cinema on the spur of the moment, staying out later than midnight (babysitters have to be relieved), visiting a museum or exhibition (children start mucking about after five mintues), taking your holiday anywhere other than destinations where there is a beach and a kids’ club, taking a holiday during term-time and smoking in front of your children, now deemed a “crime against humanity”.
. . .
Nevertheless, it is still shocking to read her declaration that there are moments when she regrets having children – a taboo thought that few mothers would dare to admit. “If I hadn’t had children, I would be touring the world with the money I made with my books,” she writes. “Instead of that I am forced to stay at home, to serve meals, to get up at 7am every day, to go over idiotic lessons, and to put the washing machine on. All that for two children who treat me like their maidservant. Certain days I regret having had them – and I dare to say it.”
This excerpt is only part of a long article.

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