Hey Media! Why do you hate kids so much?

Over the years I’ve noticed an increase in the number of articles or reports on the burden of having children. Everywhere we look now we are faced with something telling us how terrible being a parent is nowadays. Why is this?

In two consecutive weeks the Daily Mail ran two different articles on the curse of parenthood. The first was the almost forty something woman who had twins through IVF but was speaking about her terrible anguish and how she wanted to adopt one out because… she had downs and wasn’t “perfect” (her words, not mine). Unfortunately I can’t find the link to that article. The second, more recent article can be found here. The couple speak woefully of how their triplets wrecked their marriage.

Edit: The first article I refer to is here thanks to a lovely lady who found the link for me!

Now raising kids is hard. Raising multiples must be really hard. But in both these articles stands out the “me, me, me, my, my, my” attitudes of the parents. In the latter, which I’ll focus on here because you can read what I’m talking about, there are several things which don’t sit well with me.

This couple lived beyond their means and didn’t even reign it in even though they were in debt. They could have chosen to downsize their home or cut back on their lifestyle. If they can afford two separate homes now surely they could have afforded some changes while still together in order to relieve some of the financial pressure? He chose to take a job abroad probably to try and keep the lifestyle they were accustomed to despite having newborn triplets. He could have got a job closer to home. They made the decision to go ahead with IVF knowing full well the chances of conceiving multiples are higher. They cannot claim to know that two/three/four children at once is going to be more expensive than one at a time. You will be aware that you will need to account for childcare costs if you are planning to return to work after one child. Go into IVF with the possibility of multiples and you should be aware that more than one child will equal more than one set of childcare costs, for more IVF information, visit Fertility plus. And a couple should not make a decision to have a child in order to “seal their love”. Children shouldn’t be added to a relationship as a means of making it stronger. The relationship should be on solid footing to begin with. If your relationship is already fragile a child is not going to be the miracle glue to fix it.

Nowhere have they taken responsibility for their own actions. In fact, the husband says: ‘The tragedy is that neither Bernadette nor I did anything wrong,’. Really? So you just go and blame your triplets in a national newspaper? Great parents and I hope your children never learn to Google their names.

The thing is, couples like this can be found in articles everywhere now. Children are no longer seen as something special or something to be cherished. Is it any wonder that so many people seem to resent their children now? After all, it’s how the media tells them they should feel, right?

From the three page spreads in the glossy parenting magazines which tell us the latest baby must-haves to the newspaper columns listing the extortionate costs of the privilege of raising a tiny, screaming, milk-puking red-faced bundle into a lumbering,screaming, alcohol-puking, red-faced teen which runs into thousands per child (the article above quotes the cost as £10,000 per child). Of course there is the fact that having kids will ruin your body, destroy your relationship, and leave you an emotional wreck. You need x amount of “me-time” for every parenting hour you put in because, horror of horrors, if you don’t you will suffer for it. But this “me-time” must consist of going out and spending money on YOU because YOU are worth it. And it must be true because that’s what they all say.

Even a trip to the library will re-affirm the truth in this. Look under the “self help” (i.e the “How to become more selfish and narcissistic” section). It’s all about you, don’t you know. Where is the “Selflessness” or “How-to-put-others-before-yourself-for-once-in-your-bloody-life” section? Or the article that will not nurture your spirit because you are made of marshmallow fluff and delicate china but will tell you straight that actually, the world doesn’t revolve around you and yes, you can actually think of others (including, oh dare I say it, your children) before yourself and, get this, it won’t kill you!

And if it all goes wrong, if the decisions you have made go to pot and everything hits the wall it’s easy. You don’t need to take responsibility for any of it. Just blame the children. It’s ok. Everyone does it. All it takes is one look at a programme, magazine article or newspaper column.

For once, just once in this day and age, I’d like to see parenthood portrayed in a positive light. Why is it so bad to have an article titled “Babies, the true cost on a real budget” or “Don’t even consider it – baby stuff you don’t need, will never use and will re-sell on an auction site for a smidgeon of the amount you originally paid for it”.

How about more articles on the positives of family life?

How about the strong relationships that have become stronger as their families grew?

How about a half page spread, that’s all I ask, on mothers that enjoy motherhood? On fathers that love to spend time with their families? Is that too radical?

How about less of the “me-time” encouragement and the idea that when you decide to add a new life to a family the family dynamics change, therefore “me-time” will become “us-time”. The “us” will consist of whoever is in the family. It’s not a bad thing. Honest! It’s different. But unlike the image that is portrayed it is not a negative.

How about re-encouraging the family unit?

How about recognising the blessing of children rather than using the idea of them as burdens to sell your publications? Or doesn’t that bring the money into the WAG/popstar/reality TV Z-lister celeb idolising generation you want to sell to?

Well media, how about trying it?

15 thoughts on “Hey Media! Why do you hate kids so much?

  1. Good piece, and you're right it's the media's job to attract attention by focusing on the extremes and that's usually the negative extremes. That's why I enjoy reading blogs and hearing so much diversity and reality and the fine mix of 'aaarrgh' and positivity that's at the heart of parenting.

  2. I have 3 kids under two and I constantly get comments from random strangers like "oh! you poor thing" and "better you than me". I don't get it. It always seems to be the 70+ oldies that stop me and remind me of how blessed I am to have three beautiful girls. I cant imagine how anyone can wake up to their kids and think of them as an inconvecience.

  3. I agree – lovely to hear someone speaking up for the positives of children and family life. No-one said it was easy, but it's sure worth it!

  4. When I got the call that I was pragnant the last time to say I wsa pragnant, I squeeled and the lab lady said is that good or bad. i said how could it not be good, it is the best. she said thank you, she then went on to tell me the least favorite part of her job is calling people to tell them that they are praganant because no one is happy. That broke my heart. there is nothing better than bonding with a sweat child, snuggling with them, teaching them to read, to make a bed, to help one another. I get tired. i get really tired. my husband goes away for a year at a time and to me that is life. I chose my blessings and can not ever imagine not being grateful for each one of them. i always get the ooh you have your hands full, ooh i would not want to be home all day with my kids

  5. I totally agree with you, I have read numerous articles on this too. Two months ago when I found out I was pregnant with my 7th child I had to go through 7 doctors. We moved here right before I got pregnant with my twins and the doctor kept bugging me about getting my tubes tied and hubby said right before he was about to close me up he said to hubby " I could tie her tubes and she would never know". My hubby was in shock he said that and said "Really, is that any of your business" and "No". My last Dr. was great but she moved to another state. So I went through 7 interviews with Dr.s in the area before I went to the next state (DR. and hospital is 45 miles away) Just to find one that was not an advocate for sterilization. In fact he was so excited he was hoping I was having another set of twins!!!! We get all the nasty comments when we all go out together
    1. You know what causes that right?
    2. There's our tax dollars at work?
    3. Why would I do this to myself?
    4. Do I know the risks of having a retarded baby at my age?
    5. Have we ever heard of condoms?
    6. A couple of times I have even heard… You are the reason why some of us choose not to have any kids because you are overpopulating the world!!!
    When did people become so rude. My hubby and I have never been on any public assistance, We take care of our children. We have no family that helps us, Which is fine by us. Our children have never gone to a daycare or even had a babysitter other then an older sibling helping out. We homeschool, so not even the schools are burdened with our overpopulating. I am getting increasingly more upset with people's comments to me, or should I say angry. I feel like making a T-Shirt that says, YES, I am 39 and pregnant with #7 get over it. This is not something that is going to change with Eugenics always raising it's ugly head in our society. I atleast with this Dr. don't have to be uncomfortable at all with and that is nice, He does not believe in birth control or abortion. When I said no I don't want the tests that show problems like down syndrome because it does mean we will terminate the pregnancy, He said great!! It is sad that I had to go 50 miles away to another state to find one, But that is the way is it goes. Happy with my 6 children and can't wait for #7, Michelle frugalredneck.blogspot.com

  6. I agree and get these types of comments all the time too. I even heard it on a cartoon my kids were watching the other day… something about only needing one child…how appauling? the thing is I do think the majority of people buy this concept and think its true. I have rarely met people IRL with more than 2 kids…my own family as in inlaws and own parents/siblings….do NOT support me at all having my 6th baby. Its very isolating. I just wish there were more people out there in support of larger families.

  7. How about a half page spread, that's all I ask, on mothers that enjoy motherhood?

    Unfortunately, stories on mothers who enjoy being mothers are usually written from the "crazy earth mother who breastfeeds her five year old, only eats raw vegetables and walks naked around the house" angle.

  8. So much truth in this post! Why are children so undervalued? 🙁 It breaks my heart.

    But then, I also think about how the people who dislike kids are doing the rest of us a favor by removing themselves and their ideas from the gene pool.

    A naughty, but satisfying, thought! ;-D

  9. A great post!
    I too have seen some of those articles describing how "rough" parenting can be. And many more talking about how to get back "your" life while still a parent.
    I may be one of the crazy ones who actually WANTED kids and still WANT my kids and do not see them as a burden. Yes it is tough, very tough at times but that is part of being a parent. With my 3 kids, money is tight and life is always crazy but I wouldn't change it for anything.
    I would love to see the media start showing the positive things in life and parenting, not just the negative.

  10. I just read both articles and I totally agree with you. I taught special ed students before my own kids were born, and the first article made me furious. A baby is a blessing, disabled or not.

  11. Amen! I get so tired of articles talking about the trials of having children. Sure it's tough, but it's also wonderful! Why not be more positive and uplifting? I think there are way too many people who are flat out too self-centered. I saw a T-shirt once that said, "We aren't trying to overpopulate the earth, just outnumber the idiots." Aw… truth!

  12. Ahh! What a breath of fresh air to read this article and all the comments in support of it. I think there are more people out there in support of large families than we realize. No, the media doesn't support it, but I have found many blogs that support large families. Thank you for this blog! And Mama Rachel–ha ha I loved your thought, and Stacey–I want that T-shirt!

  13. My 1st child is disabled and now I am having my 3rd and my water broke at 15 weeks. Most of my doctors kept telling me to terminate. They thought the baby was not going to survive and they said even if it did it would have lung problems and possible some physical deformities and so on. Well I am a few days shy of 24 weeks and the baby is still doing great! I do have an awesome OBGYN that I ONLY SEE now and I am being put on hospital bed rest. My husband and I were extremely shocked that the specialist just sat there and said nothing as we told him we WERE NOT terminating the pregnancy. If there was a heartbeat and its growing then it is staying in my belly. I also have a stepdaughter so this will be my 4th kid. I get dirty looks and so on because I just turned 25 a few weeks ago and I have 3 kids running around me and they see my belly. I LOVE being a mom. I do want more kids…depending on how this pregnancy continues to go. But I am not blaming my unborn child for me being on bedrest and it making my husband have to be a kind of single parent. This was a choice we made and we always said no matter what happened we will never terminate a living baby! I am still looked at like I am crazy because my 1st child was not "perfect" and I continued to procreate. Some of my and my husbands family members are quite rude as well about it. But it was our choice. Ugh.

    But Stacey I so want that T-shirt!!

  14. "Nowhere have they taken responsibility for their own actions." This to me, is the reason for not only this issue but many in today's society. Its a sad state of affairs, indeed. That's a huge character attribute that I try to teach my children almost daily.

    I largely blame parents of that generation that completely spoiled their children.

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