I’ve blogged before about the media’s ever increasing negativity regarding children. Or to be more specific, couples having children of their own.
Becoming a parent, starting a family, or adding to your family. Even the day to day logistics of running a household which includes children. Nothing is safe from the scrutiny of a reporter’s fingers frantically tap, tapping away on their keyboard eager to tell you to “STOP! IT’S ALL A GRAVE MISTAKE”.
This isn’t a new development. Articles are regularly circulated through newspapers and magazines regarding how much each child will cost you and how that money could be better spent. Don’t forget how a woman’s body will be ruined by pregnancy and then any remaining motherly curves which are likely to remain afterwards will most certainly lead onto the demise of her previously blissfully happy relationship with her husband. Of course, the writers may be right. You may well have a husband or partner who states they won’t entertain the thought of children purely because your figure will be ruined. If this is the case, you’d better go easy on the grapes and salad. Wouldn’t want him to find you repulsive if you gain a pound, after all.
Your spiritual happiness will leave your soul once your placenta has been delivered. With it will go the new father’s optimism or zeal for life too. You’ll both become dishevelled wrecks, unable to converse with each other or anyone else – at least not with any level of coherence and as for intelligence, well, what’s that? Plus you don’t need intelligence once you have children. You’ll never use your brains again.
Just this last week alone has presented us with several anti-child articles. Only today the Daily Mail has an article explaining how Natasha Kaplinsky has had enough of motherhood. To paraphrase her words in the interview, she tells how she has been at home with her children since Christmas and is bored of it. Of them? Bless her cotton socks. Have your trophy children lost their lustre, Natasha? To you, your (I use the term loosely) “celeb” colleagues and those who are not rich, nor famous yet look up to folks like you, I’d like to ask, “Did you think parenthood was a three month contract?”.
A second article today kindly tells us what happiness is. Apparently, as the headline roars, “Happiness is… not having a fourth child”. I’ll be sure to let Harry, my own fourth child, know that he has made my life a living hell, full of misery and loathing, shall I? I suggest those of you with four or more children do the same. And if you’re currently below that number make sure you stop right there.
Yesterday we had an article both in the Daily Mail and ParentDish telling us how motherhood was better in the seventies and eighties, with mothers now struggling as they have less time to themselves. Ah yes, the old “me-time” line.
If that hasn’t yet convinced you don’t forget last week’s article which informs us of a scientific study claiming that mothers and fathers who say they enjoy parenthood are lying. Yes, the joy of parenthood is a fantasy according to psychologists. It’s expensive and time consuming. It contains the figure of the total cost of raising a single child within the report. £120,000 per child, apparently. And because it costs so much we lie that spending this extortionate amount on our children is worth it. We can’t possibly think that’s true though. Certainly, for that money we’d much rather have a porsche on the driveway, wouldn’t we?
Look closer at these articles.
We’re bombarded by the latest fashions, gadgets and not to be missed exclusive events. All are must haves. Spending money on “stuff” is good. Using money to raise children who will hopefully and in most cases become productive adults and members of society is bad. A room full of designer shoes and handbags is more valuable than a life?
An expensive wardrobe full of too many outfits, weekly manicures and exotic holidays is something we should admire someone having and all strive for?
Too big houses, too flash cars and too much of everything. That’s what we should invest in.
How much would that come to over a lifetime? More than the over exaggerated, super inflated, and no doubt fabricated yet off putting costs of raising a child?
The “me-time” myth is trotted out over and over again, resulting in an growing “L’Oreal” generation of parents. Both mothers and fathers who excuse their extravagances and wants with the explanation of “I’m worth it. I’m a good mum/dad. I need some time to myself. It makes me a better parent.”
Why shouldn’t they think that? After all, if it’s good enough for Natasha Kaplinsky, Posh ‘n’ Becks and any other celebrity parent from A-list down to Z, it’s good enough for this Joe Public generation of current or perhaps-one-day parents. A healthy dose of superficiality and self-absorption. Always nice qualities to encourage don’t you think?
The truth is, spending time away from your children doesn’t make you a good parent. Being with your children does. And not slating them in the media helps too. It was hurtful enough listening to my own mother bemoaning the school holidays and how she couldn’t wait to get rid of me. That was to her friends or our family. How would I have felt if she’d splashed it all over the daily papers?
The flames of selfishness are being fanned daily, intensifying narcissistic tendancies throughout our society, our country and our world.
When is parenthood finally going to be encouraged as the worthwhile vocation it actually is, or can be with the right frame of mind and view? When are we going to stop being bombarded with articles telling us how bad, financially and emotionally draining and altogether abhorrent it is to be a parent. Will the next generation be told how it isn’t a bad thing to look further than themselves, their own needs and their own wants?
Do we brace ourselves for an increasing influx of negativity until either everyone is brainwashed into the media’s way of thinking, or will we finally have enough and stand up to it? Are articles like that just not what people want to read or is there a lack of freelancers who are unprepared to report something against the grain of popularity for fear of their article not making the papers?
What do you think?