To procreate or not to procreate? That is the question. I suspect that my reasons for having children are not the kind of reasons that will give you the best start in life, so it may well be in your best interests for me to never create you in the first place. But if I do, because of the reasons I’ll divulge below, then please show this letter to your future therapist. It will help them understand why you’re so messed up.
I don’t really like children. That’s not a good start, is it? I also rather like my life as it is right now. I’m not sure I have room for you emotionally, financially or physically. I have enough trouble keeping in shape without you coming along and making me all fat. It’s as much as I can do to pay off the mortgage every month, if I had to factor in Lego funds, or whatever it is that makes children cost an estimated £200,000 before their 18th birthday, I think I’d go broke. I’d certainly have to stop buying myself so many dresses. And I like buying dresses.
Then there’s the man I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with – who I suppose would be your father. He’s a bit of a worrier. If I go down to the shops he convinces himself I haven’t answered my phone because I’ve been hit by a bus, when in fact I was just busy trying on a dress and didn’t hear the phone ring. And I’m a grown up, I pretty much successfully go down the shops most days without getting hit by a bus. But if it was his child going down the shop – a child who doesn’t look both ways before crossing those ever-dangerous roads and aimlessly wandering into the path of an oncoming car – I don’t think your father’s stress levels could take it. Nor his nails, which he’d gnaw off whenever you dared do anything other than sit in a box of feathers wrapped up in cotton wool.
Which you’d probably be allergic to, because the other problem with this prospective father of yours is that he’s allergic to everything. If you do have allergies, kids, blame your father, because your mother, that’s me, doesn’t even believe in allergies, let alone suffer from any.
So there’s my figure, which as I am not a celebrity I do not believe will ping back into shape after you’ve lived in my belly for nine months. Then there’s the money, of which we have very little and don’t want to spend on you.
“I’d certainly have to stop buying myself so many dresses. And I like buying dresses.”
I worry that I just won’t like being a mum, but once you’re here, you’re here, for the long run. I can’t give you back. I can’t tell the doctor that it turns out I don’t like the lifestyle change and could you possibly be returned so I can go back to my cosy, easy, pre-child life. It’s a one way ticket and I’m terrified of the destination.
I worry about the state of the planet and bringing someone I presume I’ll love more than anything into a world full of crime, war, rape, pillage, natural disaster and inevitable death.
On that cheery note, let’s look at the reasons why I do want to have you.
You’d probably make for some pretty funny blog fodder. ‘Matilda Bristol (working title) did the funniest thing today!’ I’ll write. People will come from far and wide to read my musings on being a disgruntled, reluctant, crap parent.
You might be the change I want to see in the world. Rather than worrying that I’m adding to the population problem, you might be the next David Attenborough or the next Aung San Suu Kyi. Hell I’d settle for the next Sean Lock. (Funniest man on TV. The world needs funny.)
All my friends are doing it and I don’t like feeling left behind. Or left out. Being left out and left behind do not suit my personality. I like to be included. Every time I see another friend look more complete and satisfied wiping baby sick off their top than they ever did down the pub with me, I wonder if there is something about motherhood I should try to like.
I do want to give something a cool name. (See Matilda Bristol, above.) But maybe I should just get a dog. Cheaper and I can just put it down when it gets poorly and expensive.
My nephews came to stay a while back. They drew me some drawings which I thought were lovely. A few weeks after they left, I was having a tidy and I threw them away. The next time they were visiting, the eight year old asked after his drawing, eagerly expecting to see it hanging just where he’d left it.
‘Er… I sold it to an art dealer for a million pounds,’ I said, the shame detectable in my voice. I presume that was the right thing to say. Not the truth. ‘I threw it away. Am I supposed to keep things like that?’
His devastated little face haunts me. He didn’t push for a proper answer and his downcast eyes told me that he knew. He knew his aunt was a cold hearted wench who didn’t keep his art work. I couldn’t handle the responsibility that every action and word I say could have such a detrimental effect on a child’s life. Considering most things I say offend all people with ears, my own children, who will either be rounded individuals or damaged goods depending on how well I parent, are screwed.
So kids, I will probably not have you. But if I do, it’ll be for all the wrong reasons. You’re welcome.