Adoption as the First Choice

adoptionLong time no see, Dear Rinsers. Today, I’ve decided to write a post that I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to find on the web myself, namely about adoption as someone’s first choice.

Being a thirty year old woman in a committed relationship makes it difficult for you not to think about babies A LOT. This doesn’t have so much to do with your own cravings but rather with what people think that you should do. Whenever someone gets pregnant, organises a baby shower or you’re simply at an event full of children (all of which happen a lot to you when you turn 30), people ask you what about you (, guys)? Sometimes they’re just being mean because you’re single and obviously you won’t impregnate yourself or have a child with your friends with benefits and they want you to feel bad about yourself. Other times, they’re upset that you still have time to do things they don’t have time to do themselves. Because, seriously, why do you care and how is it any of your business when or if people will have children? And if there’s no other questions you can ask a woman in her 30’s perhaps it’s up to you to work on your worldliness and small talk skills?

Genes and Co

It’s difficult for me to reply also because I don’t want to have biological children and I don’t feel like discussing that with everyone. I always felt that way, hunted by the thought of children in orphanages who’ll never have a family. I also don’t know what’s so amazing about my genes to necessarily feel like they need to be passed to another generation and why are they allegedly better than what children in orphanages have on offer. I don’t understand why other people don’t see it that way either.
They naysayer will tell you that children in orphanages have alcoholism in their families. So do I and! In fact, my tendencies to unhealthy drinking are so strong that I quit it altogether over a year ago. They’ll tell you that the children can have mental illnesses but I myself have lived my life dealing with crippling depression, anxiety and OCD. Of course, I have some perks in my genes too and I could want to pass these on but I just don’t see why I should. Everyone has some perks in their gene, after all.
I don’t understand the idea of wanting to reproduce on the organic level that people don’t understand my attitude. The need for me to adopt was always as strong as the need of other people to have biological children is. I don’t know why it’s so but it just is.

It’s Not About the Childbirth

The painful part about wanting to adopt as your first choice when you’re a woman is that people judge you as a coward. Oh women, we can be so terrible to one another! Childbirth should never have become a pain resistance competition. And because it is there may only be one reason for you to want to avoid it – fear and weakness. You just don’t want to go through a childbirth, they say, how selfish and weak of you.
I don’t deny it either – I don’t want to go through a childbirth similarly like most people would not like to go through body altering, painful experience if they don’t see a good reason for it. And I don’t. There’s enough babies in the world and we have overpopulation.
If I felt like that was something I wanted and I felt was important for me I would do it, in the same way I went through the pain of moving to a country I knew no one in, serial dating and extensive work on myself to find the right partner or a year of waking up early on weekends and working late during the week to write a novel. I’m not avoiding pain all-together and it’s judgmental to assume that I do. Just like any reasonably being what I’m doing is striving to avoid pain that I don’t find justifiable.

Life is Suffering 

Another thing is that I’ve spent a lot of my life wishing I was never born. That’s something that most people with mental problems who often wish just not to be themselves can relate to. But even without these issues, however lucky you are in life, you’re going to suffer greatly.
Your child didn’t ask to be brought to this world and it’s going to suffer because of your doing. If you had never had it, it wouldn’t have suffered. You can, of course, decide to take this responsibility on because to you there’s more beauty than pain in life. You can also decide that this is not a place you’d like to bring another being to. The choice is as much yours to make when you decide to have biological children as it’s mine to make not to.

Giving Back to Community

I’m no saint I’d like to bring up a healthy baby but there’s something very strong in me that wants to make better a life of a child in seemingly unfavourable circumstances.
Such a baby just wants to be loved and cared for and yet, society approves of it only if it’s taken to a family as a second choice. “Agh, shame” I imagine people smirking at the sight of a white couple with their adoptive child of a different race, because their choice couldn’t have possibly be their first one. It must be, because they couldn’t conceive and here’s another reason for “ag shamers” to feel superior (and what a reason is that!).
I don’t see why such a child must be necessarily a second choice because kin or not kin we’re all human and I feel as much for such a child as I do for my sister or my mother or anyone else. Why to bring a new life to this world when you can enrich your life by bringing up someone who unless you give them a chance may never have a family? And why should they feel they’re your second choice if someone who gave birth to them already rejected them and marked them with trauma they’ll struggle with all their life?

I’m not saying adoption is for everyone. I’m not saying that it is or should be everyone’s first choice either. However, if someone tells you that it is, perhaps you should stop making stupid, judgmental comments because this isn’t something you personally want but ask them what’s the reason instead? Paraphrasing Mae West, if you’re shocked a lot, it just means you should be shocked more often. Also, why are you bulling people into having children? Aren’t there enough of them in the world, which is why there are children suffering in orphanages all around the world in the first place?

Live and let others live.

Give me you thoughts, Rinsers!

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When Things Change

bloom-blossom-blur-162311Some people dread change, others almost pathologically follow it and then there’s this third group there’s somewhere in between. I’ve been a representative of all three groups at some points in my life. Regardless of what your attitude to change is, things do change so embracing it is just a part of life.

Of course, there are all these unpredictable horrible changes that happen to people. A dreadful disease, a death of a family member, a loss of job or a lover. Life’s full of surprises and many of them are far from pleasant. It’s often not easy to deal with something bad that has hit us unexpectedly, especially that we foolishly consider our lives comfortably predictable and safe. My general make up is more of an expectation of the worst so my relationship with this source of change is weird. It’s not like I’m not angry or sad it’s more like underneath all these feelings there’s a strong undertone of “Oh, hello, tragedy, I’ve been expecting you.” Now, to be honest (touch wood) I’ve been so far spared many of the worst life tragedies and I have had an objectively easy life. Being highly sensitive, however, means that I sometimes take blows that would mean almost nothing or little to other people very badly.

Anyway, let’s not talk about the bad stuff. Change can also be positive but even if it is, it can bring unexpected consequences. For instance, I remember when being a singleton I was the first one to criticize friends who get too comfy with their boyfriends or girlfriends and ditch their friends. Almost two years into being married I still believe that being a separate unit from your partner is crucial to your personal and couple happiness. Say “yes” to hobbies, friends and networking. Still, part of having a functional relationship is spending a lot of time together doing both fun and domestic things with your partner. Even though I used to be so eager to judge, today I must say that life just isn’t the same for a single person as for a person in a committed relationship. When you like spending time with your partner (and if you don’t why are you together?) and they’re your priority, your time for other things becomes more limited. Some things even have to go and honestly you’re quite happy to let them. Sure, it’s nice to have an extended date with your girlfriends from time to time but your preference for a weekend away will be most of the time to be with your partner and/or other members of the coupleverse.

So there’s a partner that will unavoidably change your world in some way. Then there are other things related to being an adult. For some people this means puppies and for other children. The point is, unless you’ve been in the situation yourself you don’t really understand to what extent such things change your life. Surely you’ve been telling people either directly or indirectly “Ah, but you used to be out all the time!”. Of course, when you’re on the receiving end and it’s your friend getting steady with someone or moving abroad or enrolling into a study program on the top of their full-time job you’re the one feeling the emptiness. Unavoidably, however, you’ll be at some point the one changing (and if you won’t is this really a good sign and are you developing at all?). It seems like the best thing to do is to try to get as comfortable with life changes as you can. Both yours and that of others because change is very often a sign of growth and what doesn’t grow is dead (even if just inside!). Also, there’s no point crying over spilt milk and all.

Last but not least, no one changes entirely. Big events in life usually just strengthen the features that people have already had. These moms that tell you they have no time whatsoever for exercise now that they have kids and you’ll understand that one day, in most cases didn’t use to be active before the kids either (just don’t point that out cause they’ll bite your head off!). Active parenthood is a thing and as challenging as it must be many active people fight to upkeep that lifestyle in some modified way.  The people that all of a sudden start to be crazy late after they get a promotion using their Responsible Job as an excuse, usually used to annoy the shit out of you with this characteristic before too. Those who can’t keep any arrangements after they found a new partner, become just more flakey than before. In other words, yeah life sometimes changes drastically but people are also full of shit and LOVE excuses. Am I right or am I right?

When things change and they change all the time, try to go with a flow. Sometimes change pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes your life even better than before. Other times it makes it worst. Sure, it’s annoying when you had been happy about something and this something changed but it’s just life. Moan and complain a little bit and then move on!

What Getting a Puppy Taught Me About Potentially Having Children

Laika cuteThere’s no doubt that having a child is a much bigger deal than having a puppy. I doubt I will ever join the ranks of those, who require to be wished “Happy Mother’s Day” on Mother’s Day just because they have a “fur baby”. A baby is a baby and a puppy is a puppy. I do feel it’s taking away from the actual motherhood to claim they’re the same or even closely comparable. Having said that, I have to admit that the plan of getting the puppy had something to do with me checking how I feel about taking on a much bigger responsibility in the foreseeable future. I’ve found out, not surprisingly, that I’m nowhere close to being ready for the following reasons:

1. It requires time

You’d think that puppies aren’t a big deal. You know, you give them their food, water and toys, walk them and play with them from time to time and they pretty much raise themselves. Well, no, or at least no, if you’re aspiring for your puppy not to become the hound of the Baskervilles. You have to spend time to train them not to steal your food so that you can sit down when eating a meal, not to bark at other dogs and humans, not to poo and pee whenever and wherever they feel like it, not to jump and scratch etc In other words, it takes up your free time. Of course, you can also just ignore your puppy and let it do whatever it wants, leaving it on its own in the house for the whole day…but then it’s cruel and why to get a puppy at all? Children definitely require this multiply by a zillion. At this stage of my life I’m not willing to give up any more free time than I already do for the doggo.

2. It’s all about priorities

When you have a child it becomes your priority and it’s understandable. When you get a puppy it’s okay for it not to be your priority. After almost 7 year spent in a foreign countries and millions of problems related to immigration I start to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel workwise. Regardless of what my father-in-law says about the state of my career, I am and always have been career oriented. I need to be happy where I am in life (= professionally) first in order to be a happy mother. At this point in my life having a child would cause me to resent it and that’s not something a child should live with. Thanks to the wonder of contraception we can now decide (if and) when we want to have children to give them the optimal experience of us (because let’s be honest, we’ll fuck them up a bit however hard we try).

3. I take everything seriously and 4. I like to be good at the things I do

My mom says I’ve never been much of a child and I guess it’s true. I’ve always been serious about life. As I commented before in my thoughts before turning 30 I have definitely realised that some things don’t work out and it’s almost never the end of the world. I’m certainly more chilled than I’ve ever been but… it still leaves me quite a serious person. I guess some people just ride life like surfers waves. When dealing with a topic like getting a puppy, they hear this or that from friends, listen to a vet or maybe not even that. In general are chilled and hoping for the best. Not me. I read books and articles for general advice and Google everything to double check. Do you know what kind of peanut butter is good for your puppy and what kind can potentially kill it? Do you know which fruit and vegetables are safe and which can cause potentially long term damage? How much puppy blood on a toy is okay and a sign of healthy teething? Just ask me, I know it ALL now. At the same time I’m not ready to enroll on the course baby101 because I don’t want to just finish it. I want 100% and then to get a Master’s Degree.

4. I struggle with anxiety (in life but also especially now in relation to the dog)

The truth is that since we got the puppy I’ve been spending a lot of time being afraid I will kill it due to my negligence or some terrible mistake. Did you know that it’s okay to give your puppy an apple but not the seeds as they contain cyanide? Yes, the same things that have been used in many terrible instances in human history to get rid of people. I also obsess about the smallest signs of something being wrong. If the dog limps for five minutes I fight with myself not to research 24h vets in the area just yet. When she gets really scared I wonder whether she can die because of it. I worry about her a lot and always think about the worst case scenario. I’m trying to rewire but it’s just like this mental trail that my mind always chooses. I’m really not ready to worry that I will somehow cause some harm to a little human, especially that avoiding all the harm is completely impossible. I either have to find a way to worry less (I’m already off booze and cigarettes, exercise regularly, cut down on caffeine and meditate so don’t recommend me any of that!) or give up and find someone who doesn’t mind giving me a lifetime supply of meds.

5. It’s a massive responsibility

Having a dog (let alone having a child) is a massive responsibility because it’s another being that depends on you. If you won’t feed it, it’ll be hungry and eventually die. Don’t show it enough love and affection and it’ll get sad and so on and so forth. All of a sudden making all your plans you have to take this being into account. Sure, you can leave a puppy alone but it’s rather upset when you disappear for too long. It doesn’t understand where you are and wonders whether you’ll ever come back. That leaves you with making plans for your longer outings: getting someone who’ll take care of it, dropping it somewhere where someone will take care of it or considering taking it with you. In any case, you always have to think about it. It’s a responsibility and a child is an even bigger one.

In short, the puppy is great (see the pic above) but I’m not ready for more. I see myself being ready maybe somewhere in 5 years or so. The fearmongers who worry about my biological clock: 1) I’m not planning to have biological children and seeing I’ve decided that around 15 I think I’m unlikely to change my mind and 2) should I decide to have biological children later in life: more and more women successfully do so, so please kindly worry about your own uterus. Oh and to those who think it’s selfish, kindly read #englishrosiee’s post about it.

 

 

 

 

Getting A Real Job – Can I Be Professional Air BnB Host When I Grow Up? Is it Possible To Be A Part Time Mother? And Other Career Related Questions…

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One thing I’ve learnt recently through my insights into the world of recruitment is that  people these days do not like working. I’m not quite sure if it’s a millennial thing or  just a Cape Town thing (I mean with Table Mountain and these beaches on our doorstep you can’t blame a person for not wanting to be confined to a desk job). That said, most of us don’t have access to a trust fund or a rich husband so we hustle and drag our asses out of bed each morning to pay our way through life and fund our doughnut habits!

Well, that’s what I thought. That was until I met ‘journalists’ that despite having not had an article published in a decade or so still refuse to work for less than R8,000 per month.  I encountered ‘poets’ who like to post lyrical Facebook status’ about how their only wish would be to have a house (blah blah blah!) in which to retire (Is it possible to retire when the only work you’ve ever engaged in is reading a bit of angry poetry? Answers on a postcard!).  Then the cherry on the cake…the ‘yogi’ who was lucky enough to be offered a job and after signing the contract asked whether her working hours could be changed to accommodate her favourite yoga classes. Let’s just say she lasted 3 days on the job before quitting in order to reassess her options in light of Cape Town’s water crisis. Seriously! Where do these entitled twats emerge from? Yes, the examples I’ve given you are at the extreme end of the spectrum but I’m trying to prove a point – basically people these days are averse to an honest day’s work.

The other thing that irks me is what people claim to be a legitimate job. I admit at times I have a tendency to be a bit of a degree/job snob (I learnt my lesson after hiring a fashion graduate with a questionable sense of style to do a ‘scholarly’ writing job!) but it’s absolute madness what some people consider work. I’ve met a fair few professional Air BnB hosts in my time and I’m sorry but renting a room in the house is nothing more than a side project. Sure, it’s a good additional form of income generation but I hate to break it to you but you aren’t exactly a property tycoon darling! Then there is my ABSOLUTE worst (and the actual subject of this post). The people I want to strangle DEAD. The ones that casually drop into conversation how they are pursuing a career as FULL-TIME MOTHER !!!!!

Ugh. What a joke. Let me break this down.

Pray tell, what then is a part-time mother? 

It’s possible to a part-time accountant, a kid’s football coach on Saturdays, or be a lady of the night to pay your way through college ….but really is it possible to be a part-time parent? Take care of the screaming baba (with the number of breaks required by law 😛 ) from 9 to 5 and then hit the bar for after-work drinks? I don’t think so somehow.

Sure,  there are some parents who can’t afford to or possibly don’t even desire to take the  required 7 years maternity leave deemed necessary by the experts on Facebook. But  returning to work doesn’t somehow make you part-time mother.

So let’s be brutally honest here, being a stay-at-home mother (which is actually what you are) means one of two things a) you don’t really care to go back to work as your baba provides you with all the intellectual stimulation you need or b) you bagged your self a rich guy who could fund you to play unicorns with the kids (well done you!).

Parenting isn’t a job

Wow, if the careers advisor at school had told me that spreading my legs and spawning a child was a legitimate career option, oh how different life could have been. Well I guess some people collect children the same way others accumulate PhDs so maybe it’s just a matter of perspective.

In my humble opinion, for something to be a considered a job, it should make you CASH MONEY. Call me a horrible capitalist biatch if you will. Let’s face facts. Sure, the green stuff may not be all the drives a person to do a job – for some their choice of a career path may be driven by a desire to follow their passion for drawing unicorns or a desire to help people. But honestly, even artists dream of making millions and surgeons aren’t saving people’s lives purely out of the goodness of their hearts. If you do something without getting paid it’s charity – volunteering if you will!

Unlike, real career choices, parenting does not pay the bills. Quite the opposite in fact – ugh having kids these days is sooooo expensive. Ok, some people do think of their children as a long-term investment. There are those that justify their desire to procreate by telling themselves that if they have lots of kids/invest in their children’s education now, they’ll look after them/financially support them in their old age. I’ll admit there is some logic to that way of thinking. But by the same token, your kid could turn out to be a felon who swindles you out of your precious pension fund. Just saying.

Is being a stay-at-home parent necessarily the best option?

Yes, I’ve met women whose ambition in life was to be a mother. The only reason they were at university was to meet the right kind of husband (read: sperm donor). Even those that were super clever and highly accomplished academically, swiftly dropped everything as soon as their dream of popping out a kid was realised. They then chose to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to motherhood.

For some people this really is the dream. Motherhood makes them complete. They call themselves a home-executive or whatever and that’s the end of that. Others soon quickly realise that as much as they love them, their kids don’t define them and they actually need to be gainfully employed (and perhaps more intellectually stimulated) to be a happy, functioning member of society (aka tax payer!).

At the end of the day. parenting is pretty much one of those things everyone messes up at some point. If you go to work you’ll be accused of neglect. Stay at home and it makes them feel smothered. You can’t win. That said,  doing a legit job, doesn’t make you less of a parent. I get that being with the kids 24/7 makes some people happy but it also makes others bored. Also from the kid’s point of view, seeing your parents going off to work isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They do eventually need to learn to survive without Mummy/Daddy around to hold their hand. Also, kids should learn the harsh reality that for most people getting out of bed and going to work to earn money is a necessity. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Seeing parents having job that gives them purpose and fulfilment might also become a source of inspiration for kids. Who knows? All I’m saying that this whole part-time parenting malarky (as some people would call it) may not be such a bad thing.

To conclude this essay, we live in an age where people don’t really want to work. I agree there are more fun things to do than go to the office. But we also have responsibilities in life. To enjoy a nice lifestyle, you often need money and sadly most people aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths and may not necessarily acquire the required rinsing skills to bag ourselves a rich hubby/wife so we suck it up and go to work. If you don’t enjoy your job, I have a secret for you….most people don’t! But just admit you don’t like working and don’t use kids as an excuse not to go out to work. If you choose to stay at home with the babies and can afford to do so without relying on handouts from the state/society/random neighbours, good for you but please stop claiming that your kids are job. They aren’t. Not by any definition. And lastly, don’t assume that people who are gainfully employed are in anyway part-time parents. They aren’t. Perhaps they might even end up creating better adjusted little humans. Who knows? The juries still out on that one.

Share your thoughts little Rinsers. Do you think parenting can be considered a job? Or is it something ‘lazy’ people use to legitimise the fact that they can’t be bothered to go to work? Do we live in a world where people don’t really want to work and would rather follow their dreams than do an honest job? Is #englishrosiee nothing more than a horrible hater of children/job snob? It’s been a while so feel free to hate me in the comments below. 

Entitlement Issues – Why The World Owes You Nothing

 

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There is no such thing as society…There are individual men and women and there are families’.

Maggie Thatcher famously made this statement in 1987 and even though I was only one (ish) at the time for some reason it resonates with me. Perhaps it’s because I’m a cold-hearted biatch just like the Iron Lady herself? Or that I live in a world where certain people feel the need to rant and rave, making a huge political statement about their personal issues on social media?  If it isn’t your local bergie DEMANDING that you cook them a hot meal (because even though they are starving a peanut butter sandwich just isn’t going to cut it), it’s a kid without a Matric certificate asking to be hooked up with a job just because they need a bit of cash money , or my personal favourite – the god-awful Baby Mafia wittering on about why the government can’t give them 7 years maternity leave (cos apparently that’s how long you need to breastfeeding – you wonder why we have to deal with so many Mama’s boys these days!), it seems to mean that everyone and their dog these days is ENTITLED.

Yes, the world is a bit of a #shithole and life isn’t fair – BooHoo!

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the world is a wonderful place. It really isn’t. To be honest it’s a bit of #shithole. In my humble opinion, people really need to start thinking twice about whether they really want to be bringing precious little people into a world where the likes to Trump and Zuma are in charge and where it seems there is some sort of perve at every corner. On top of this, life is not fair. I wish it was but it isn’t. We are not born equal. Some people are born into poverty or to parents that couldn’t care less while others are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Some of us are blessed with brains, others have beauty, a lucky few have both and sadly some people have neither. But basically, it’s all bit shitty.

Sure, the government should help level the playing field 

I have to say, I’m in agreement with good old Maggie’s thoughts when it comes to society. It’s pretty much a social construct and basically a bit of a fictitious way of organizing people and trying to get us delinquents to behave. Sure, the government has a responsibility to help level the playing field. Providing things like basic education and healthcare works in the country’s favour because a bunch thick shits and sick people aren’t much good for the economy now, are they? That said, not all governments think the same. Politicians are a bit corrupt. Like most people, they generally look after themselves and their own family/network of corrupt buddies first (what she said about individuals and families). Some countries the governments have the means/will to function better than in others but still they are under no real obligation to provide everyone with EVERYTHING they need.

Oh and that thing we call society? It works as far as it serves our own needs. Think about it. Honestly, how many people would you lay your life down for? I could probably count them on one hand, if that. And her is some food for thought for the Baby Mafia, who are ever so keen to have the childless members of society foot the bill for them to stay at home and cuddle bubba all day.  Think about those miracle stories about mothers who somehow manage to lift burning cars in order to save their babies. These chicks aren’t necessarily the types benching 200 in the gym now, are they? No. It seems they only manage to find these hidden BIG MAN muscle strength when it comes to their own kids, but it’s hardly like they run around saving randoms all day. Go figure.

Regardless, some people will still screw up and look for excuses (and other make a success of themselves against all odds)

Even if the government/society/the Bank of Mum and Dad gave a person every opportunity there are those that would still manage to mess things up royally. Shit happens to the best of us. But there comes a point when you need to stop blaming the rest of the world. Yes, blaming racist Maths teacher that held you back a year when you were 12 for the fact that you don’t have a Matric certificate at the age of 35 isn’t really going to solve anything. Night school will though, but let’s rather just take the easy way out and play the race card. On the flip side, you’ll find that there are people who are dealt a rubbish hand but manage to handle all the knock backs with grace and come out more successful and fabulous in the end. I guess it’s what you want to make of a situation.

Life is also about making good decisions and taking accountability

The most basic decision has the potential to impact our lives in the most profound of ways. Think of that movie, Sliding Doors. The choice about whether or not you stay at a party for an extra drink could be the difference between you meeting the love of your life or going home to cold bed. Similarly, the career path we choose, where we choose to live, the connections we choose to make all effect where we end up. So take accountability.

If you happen to have a rare set of skills because of what you chose to study or you marketed yourself well, you might find you are hired by a company that provides great benefits because to them you are irreplaceable. If on the other hand, you are one of those that  followed your dreams (or just do sweet F.A with your life) and got yourself some bog-standard arts degree like millions of others, don’t expect anyone to keep your job open for 7 years or whatever. It’s supply and demand. Economics 101. Deal with it.

So it’s up to us to make the best of the hand we’ve been dealt

So to tie up this rant on entitlement. Basically, nobody owes us anything. Not government, not charity, not the neighbour down the road and not even the selfish parents who bought you into this world! Life is pretty much like those lucky packets you get when you are child – you never know what you are gonna get but sure they’ll be a some trash involved! While it may suck to be born girl in man’s world or be an ethnic minority in a place which is not truly color blind, you may be blessed (well, pre Brexit days) with a British passport and half decent family that don’t want to kick you out of the house the moment you turn 18. We all have to make the most of the resources we have at our disposal. As for the Baby Mafia rants – well yeah it sucks that William and Kate get to pop out heirs to the throne without having to worry about maternity/paternity leave but that’s not the reality of the rest of us plebs. People need to evaluate their situation before they choose to spread their legs rather than complaining about the government/employer/family/friends/random charitable folk aren’t supporting you to play house for a few years longer. None of us are entitled to anything. So if you want something enough, you make it happen and if not you spend you life bitching, moaning and complaining on social media.

What are your thoughts about our entitlements ? Do we have the right to demand things from the government/our family/friends/randoms, etc? Or should we really just fend for ourselves if we want to get something sorted? Go wild in the comments below.

Is The Decision To Procreate Just Selfish?

 

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Women in their 30s are constantly being reminded about that ticking biological clock. It’s almost as if you haven’t popped something out by a certain point in your life you are less of a woman. It bugs me that we’ve all been a bit brainwashed into congrats’ing people for having kids. Really, is spreading your legs (or getting acquainted with a turkey baster) really such a great achievement? By all means, congratulate women on fighting oppression and making it to the top of their profession, high five them when they run marathon (there are far fewer people that cross the finish line than those that manage to get knocked up. Just saying!) but don’t glorify an activity that for many is just like breathing.

Anyway, I’m sure there are lots of baby mamas out there who are wanting to smash me up and say I will never understand anything till I have given the gift of life (let me go pewk in my mouth). Anyway,  since everyone has me down as a hater of little people (there some truth to it – there are maybe a handful I can tolerate and sure I will love my own hypothetical children if they should appear but generally I am way more broody about puppies), I’m gonna take things up a level by talking about how the decision to procreate is ultimately selfish decision.

Let me start by not taking any credit for this genius idea. I was actually inspired by this article which was sent to me by a dear friend of mine. You should read it to get a more highbrow account of the issue. I don’t consider myself qualified to go into the deep philosophical arguments here so let me just dumb things down a bit and draw on some of my real life observations.  So, let’s break things down a bit and look at some of the motivations for discarding contraception and letting the flow of life operate as god intended.

To ensure the survival of the human race and generally make the world a better place

So, some of the haters of my post about Me-ternity Leave said the reason why governments/companies in certain countries offer such great perks for those that choose to procreate because their are worried about population decline. Well, I have news for you, there is this wonderful thing called immigration. Let’s just even things out a little and import in a bit of labor from the third world. Surely, it’s not rocket science.

People may justify their decision to bring life into the world by claiming that they are doing a service to humanity by producing a little human that will go on to do great things and make a substantial contribution to society . Maybe it will be the one to discover a cure for cancer? But perhaps it’ll become a paedo or a drug dealer? There are no guarantees. It’s honestly doesn’t matter if you are the best parent in the world children don’t grow up inside a bubble . Even if your child doesn’t become a felon, it’ll still do more damage in terms of its carbon foot print than it is likely to do anything amazingly good.

YOU’re broody and it’s just the right time in life

I honestly believe that most of us (except maybe IVF babies but that’s pretty much a new fangled thing) were ‘mistakes’. In some instances, people man-up and take care of their kids and in other cases they dump them outside a church (or liquor store).  But sure, there are obviously cases that differ, where two people (or one with the help of a sperm donor) consciously make a decision to bring create life.  Apparently once you are married/in your 30s apparently some magical switch gets flicked and you feel the need to create a mini-me, so I am told. I think I missed the memo but fair enough if you are one of the ‘normal’ people who feel the need to give into your broodiness go forth. Just don’t be under any illusion that giving into your natural urges makes you a better person/more of women. You do it for yourself, not for anyone else.

YOU want to leave a legacy

What is the purpose of life if we are all going to end up as dust (or glitter in the case of fabulous unicorn people!)? We want to know that we are not simply spending our whole lives working simply to make ends meet. Everyone would like to be remembered, I guess. The truth is most of us won’t be immortalized for doing something spectacular. Most of us aren’t going to save a small African village or become a rock star. One way of leaving a bit of yourself behind is by carrying on the family line.  Again, not necessarily doing anyone but yourSELF any favours here.

What about adopting orphans?

So I pre-empted this one and used the word PROCREATE in the title of the post rather than ‘have’ because I believe e there is one exception to my sweeping statement about baby people being intrinsically selfish – those are the people that choose to adopt. Unlike, people who choose to put pressure on the earth’s natural resources by popping out kids all over the place, there are truly selfless people out there that go out of their way to do a service to humanity by taking on a kid they themselves did not manufacture  and is therefore actually not their problem at all.

That said, not everyone is cut out for adoption. I wouldn’t do it. There really is no reason you need to take on a problem somebody else created. You won’t necessarily get a clean slate with an adopted child. And if some day I do need to tolerate a child of my own, the narcissist in me wants a real little mini-me (i.e. a cute little chubby kid who quietly sits in the corner and reads books all day). I don’t think it’s a crime to want a biological child that shares your genes, but just admit you are doing it for selfish reasons.

*

So, You see what I’m getting at here. I’m not telling people to stop having children. There really is no reason why the baby making types would listen anyway. Plus, it’s their life to do with what they wish. It’s OK to want to be a parent and give into your natural urges. It’s even understandable that you’d still want a biological child despite the fact that there are lots of orphans in the world that need a home. I’m sure having children brings lots of joy (and stress) into people’s lives (just remember dogs are less likely to break your heart). However, people who opt to procreate aren’t doing the world any favours and they certainly don’t occupy the moral high ground here. The reasons for procreating are selfish but it’s not criminal because so are the motivations for a lot of the things we do.

I believe that there needs to be a shift in society’s attitude towards the people that choose not to have kids. Those that opt to avoid parenthood should not be branded as selfish narcissists who put their own lives of fabulous holidays and Jimmy Choo shoes ahead of some social and biological duty to reproduce. Because in actual fact, these are the people who are mature enough to buck social trends and choose the path that is actually better for themselves, their non-existant children and the world’s population as a whole.

Alrighty, dear Rinsers. Do you think people who have children just need to come to terms with the fact that their decision is selfish? Why does the world always hate on those that choose contraception over a screaming rugrats infiltrating their lives? Can you think of any go unselfish reasons for bringing a child into a world bossed by the likes of Donald Trump? Unleash your hate in the comments below. Please and thank you.   

 

 

 

Review : Maggie’s Plan – Artificial Insemination, Blended Families and Control Freaks!

mags

This movie was marketed a some sort of romantic comedy. It was niether romantic nor funny (well except Julianne Moore’s terrible attempt at a Danish accent!). I wouldn’t really recommend going to see it unless you are one of those people who has seen everything under the sun. Actually no, even then don’t. Instead watch something with subtitles or something foreign without subtitles. Watch some porn if you have to. Go for a walk off a cliff. Yes, it was that bad and a waste of 2 hours of my life.

The plot is a far-fetched tale which centres around this control freak called Maggie who has decided to get pregnant by with the local pickle entrepreneur (maybe this is a bit funny too) via artificial insemination. As fate has it, at around the same time as she is busy trying to knock herself up she falls madly in love (I wasn’t convinced) with this married man who subsequently leaves his wife + kids to have a family with the Other Woman (NB not clear who Maggie’s baby daddy is). Anyway, after a few years playing house with the married man and trying to manage a blended family (the half Danish kids are constantly slagging her off in Danish) Maggie has this light bulb moment when she realises that actually her husband (yeah, the one she stole!) actually fits better with his ex-wife than he does with her. Then miraculously these two women join forces to hatch some elaborate plan to bring the original couple together. You can guess the rest.

So, despite being a pretty rubbish movie I think for the purposes of this blog it did raise some interesting questions. Firstly, it did provide some insight into the realities of modern family life. Although many of us, myself included, still chase after this traditional idea of happily ever after – hot husband, that’ll help create a couple of perfect children, move to the ‘burbs, etc, etc. But the fact is that this isn’t the reality for most people. Lots of relationships these days are plagued with divorce, infidelity and other such non-fairytale like things. Boundaries are changing and that idea of what a family should look like is rapidly changing.

I’m running into to more and more women that hit 35 ish and realize that they can’t waste the rest of their child-bearing years waiting for a man to impregnate the fun/traditional way and they essentially head to the sperm bank and do it for themselves. Because women, well at least in more developed countries, are more financially independent they no longer need support of a man/another party to help them raise a child. They other advantage, I guess many people see with the modern way of doing things is that instead of getting knocked up by just anyone/someone you love but maybe isn’t genetically that gifted, you get to vet your potentially baby Daddy. Basically this way give your child the best chance of being born with blond hair and blue eyes or with a mind for mathematics  (as was the draw card in Maggie’s case).

I honestly don’t know how I feel about the whole artificial insemination issue. Part of me doesn’t feel there is a need to bring in more humans into this big bad world and I sincerely doubt I’d actually CHOOSE to go it alone but one should never say never I guess. The thought of choosing super sperm is also a bit much for my fragile mind to handle. I mean we all know that kids often turn out to be the opposite of their parents and most of us were probably told that the stork delivered the wrong child (OK, maybe that was just me). But what happens when you’ve PAID to have a child that is crazy clever and it turns out they just want to be a sex blogger or sit on the beach all day and do yoga? Does that mean they will be loved less?  Just seems like another symptom of this age of consumerism we live in to me.We’ll probably start seeing law suits when people don’t get they child they paid for. I guess it’s a method that would seem appealing to the control freaks of

Anyways, the whole issue is a bit of a minefield and I expect I’ll get a few objections to me views but you know we all enjoy a good debate. So Rinsers….Have you seen this movie? What are your thoughts? And on the wider issue of traditional family units being a thing of the past? Are you all for women doing it for themselves or do you think its a little bit too sci-fi? Thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

Active Parenthood

pram-running

If you’re a childless person who has considered the thought of having children at some point in your life, you may be as terrified as I am. No wonder, given that many parents have nothing good to say about the experience apart from terrifying stories of complete loss of self, interests, friends and life in general. When you tell such a parent about your visit to the cinema or theater, a run or a workshop (in fact you can insert any activity that’s somewhat positive) you often hear “Ah, enjoy your life when you can because once you have kids…”. Whenever I hear something like that, I feel like I want to perform a sterilisation procedure on myself then and there. However, looking at other parents, one starts to wonder whether it has to be that bad, or are children as good an excuse as anything for one’s weaknesses? After all, plenty of mothers and fathers are social and physically active, even though it’s certainly more challenging than during one’s childless life.

First of all, I don’t feel I can lecture anyone. I have no children of my own and those who claim I have no idea about how it is are right. I’m sure that children require many compromises and sacrifices and your life will never be the same again after you’ve had one. Late night partying must disappear from the list of your entertainments but to be honest, I know very few established couples in their late twenties and early thirties who do it anyway. Other age appropriate activities don’t seem out of reach for parents. I’m pleased to see more and more couples as well as mothers and fathers on their own, taking their children out almost wherever they go. Especially house parties are baby friendly with lots of aunts and uncles, happy to take care of the little ones (and even happier to give them back). Coffee dates and dinners with girlfriends also seem to be increasingly popular among mothers. What’s more, it appears that the babies who are out a lot and who are  used to varying environments and people tend to be quite pleasant. One starts to wonder whether it may be nurture and not nature that produces children of the sort of little Satans we’ve lived under for a year now and who at the age of five and seven approximately, throw a few tantrums daily.

Secondly, I see more and more physically active parents. Park Runs, for instance, are full of moms and dads running and walking with prams. Some activities will require leaving the child behind, but parents should try to support each other in their motivation to remain active. Recently I saw a mom of a six month old child in my Facebook feed who completed a 53 kilometers long cycle while the father was taking care of the child. I was not only impressed but also ashamed. I don’t have a newborn to care for and I don’t exercise that much! To see people on hikes with their children when they’re still carryable is also not a rare sight. The older the children, the more options a parent gets, including gyms offering childcare while a parent or parents exercise.

Last but not least, there are passions and interests that parents have and that they ideally shouldn’t be abandoned when the child is born. The list of possible preferences is so long that I cannot provide solutions. For all the naysayers I would just like to mention a few inspirational stories. Stephen King finished his first novel while working full time and soon after he had his first baby. J.K. Rowling had more than one child when she started to draft Harry Potter on serviettes (!). A famous Polish traveller, Tony Halik was travelling with his wife who was pregnant and after she gave birth to their newborn baby. Last but not least, Stephen Hawkings’s first wife was working on her PhD as a mother of three children and… well, the wife of Stephen Hawkings, who as we know couldn’t help much because of his condition. I’ll never stop believing that when there’s a will, there’s a way. Parents should be reasonable but changing their lives entirely for the sake of their children will just make them miserable. A happy parent means a happy child and I say that as a formerly unhappy child of an unhappy parent. You still deserve to pursue your dreams and enjoy your life when you have offsprings and you shouldn’t listen to those who are telling you otherwise. Parenthood should enhance your life and not destroy it. Otherwise why have children at all?

Cheers to all the active mothers out there! I’m sure it’s often not easy but I hope to one day join their ranks rather than those of the self-proclaimed martyrs.

Time for your opinion Dear Rinsers! Do you admire active parenthood or do you think that once you become a parent you should be housebound? Did you manage to be a happy mom or dad or do your regret ever having children (you can be honest, you’re anonymous)?

Bridget Jones’s Baby – Worth the Wait?

bj

I’ve always been a fan of the Bridget Jones franchise. Although, I am not quite sure why. I was only 15 when the first movie came out in 2001. Maybe I just had a feeling then that a decade and half later I would probably identify with this ditsy chick who was always unlucky in love (the joys of being an ugly duckling I think).

Anyway, despite having not read either of the first two books I loved the movies but, as is usually the case, the sequel was somewhat disappointing. Don’t get me wrong Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason still features in my very minimal DVD collection (maybe the ex who bought me the DVD did it to curse me to a life of eternal spinsterhood!). In all honesty, the second movie wasn’t terrible (how can it be with Mr Darcy to perve on?) – there were still a lot of good LOLs but it was a bit repetitive when it came to the jokes.

After a decade long Bridget Jones hiatus, I rediscovered my love for the silly woman when I read Bridget Jones : All About The Boy a couple of years ago. The book was a nice easy read, nothing to taxing for my fragile mind and the new characters were fairly likeable. And after reading I felt ready to embrace the Bridget Jones threequel. But when it came time to see the latest instalment in the movie saga I was a little apprehensive. While I knew it would be at least be mildly entertaining I was still a little sceptical having learnt  that it wouldn’t actually be based on the third book.

On Saturday #zlotybaby and I took ourselves on a date to watch the much anticipated Bridget Jones Baby. Without giving away too much, I will say I was pleasantly surprised and might even go as far as to say that it was better than the original. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll probably know that in this movie Bridget is a 40-something (remember its been 12 years since she did her stint in Thai prison) cougar or, SPILF (cross between a spinster and a MILF) as she calls herself, who has somehow landed herself a high-powered job and got undergone quite a cosmetic transformation. Thankfully, she is still the same scatty and loveable character that everyone pities/finds endearing and now she is about to become a geriatric mother.  And the million dollar question around which the storyline centres on is : Who is BJ’s Baby Daddy? Some internet dating guru she hooks up with at a music festival or her old flame that somehow boomeranged back into her life?

Maybe I am just easily pleased but I thought Bridget Jones’s Baby was an excellent comeback and definitely worth waiting over a decade for.  Sure it received some criticism for not discussing abortion and birth control, but I’m a firm believer in there being a time and place for everything.  It was certainly unrealistic in parts (e.g. the lovers of family would be up in arms if people got fired for  making ‘pregnancy brain’ mistakes) but movies like this would soon lose their appeal if they had to be true to reality on everything and sensitively discuss all those BIG issues. So for what its worth, if you are in the mood for something fluffy and lighthearted that will make you laugh like a lunatic go and watch Bridget Jones Baby – just be ready to embrace all the slapstick moments (as well as the un-PC Hitler jokes). And you never know, this may just be the movie that you need to restore your faith in humanity and happily ever after in the miserable age of Tinder!

And I really hope we don’t have to wait another decade for the 4th one !

So  Rinsers – Have you  seen Bridget Jones’s Baby? Did you think it was a good LOL or just a mediocre chick flick? Thoughts in the comments below.

 

Should There Be Limits On Who Becomes A Parent?

elders with a baby.jpg

My ‘Me-ternity Leave’ post managed to get me branded as the ultimate hater of family. Today, I’m going to dig myself even deeper by questioning is there should be limits on who becomes a parent? You just have to visit the UK and you’ll surely encounter a ridiculously young chav mother with a baby in one hand and ciggy in the other to question whether just because one is able to procreate that necessarily means they are capable of being a half decent parent?

OKCupid certainly thinks this is an important issue as one of the questions it uses to match users is : Do you think stupid people should be allowed to have children?  Well, this questions is itself just that STUPID because it is subjective and dependent on how we define the term stupid – Is it someone with a low IQ? A kid who failed to finish high school? Or can someone with a PhD even be classed as stupid if they air ignorant/racist views?  While it may be a useful exercise for OKCupid users (maybe I’ll get matched with another hater of family and we’ll live happily ever after) but in the grand scheme of things it is pretty pointless because it’s not as if most of our opinions are going to change things.

While our opinions have little control over who has kids, there is something that does and that’s nature. I’m no scientist so I have very limited knowledge on why some people are able to spread their legs and get pregnant while others have to jump through hoops to have a child. Thankfully (for some a least), the forces of nature are no match for the human intelligence and advancements in medical science have meant that those who aren’t able to have kids the traditional route still have hope. From IVF to sperm donation and surrogates there are plenty of other ways for people (especially those with money) to continue increasing the world’s population.

While I do support such advances and am fully aware that thanks to them many reproductively challenged people have been able to have the one thing they’ve always ever wanted, I do think such methods also allow for an element of control (although at present it seems that if one has enough money they’ll get access to these services) and as such need to be used responsibly.

One of the things that got me thinking about limits on who should be parents was the case of the 70-something couple in India that had a baby via IVF. None of us have any idea of when we are going to die and the fear of the grim reaper certainly shouldn’t put us off having a child. But I would have thought that would be a greater concern for a 70-something than for the average 30-something mother? I really hope this old couple live long enough to see all the important milestones in their child’s life (especially after waiting so long for him!) but you do have to wonder whether such cases show IVF being used irresponsibly?

In this case, we can’t solely blame the doctors involved. The couple from a part of India where their inability to have a baby meant they were stigamatised and they were believed to be cursed so even if they had been open to the options of adopting or fostering a child when they were younger would not have seen an end to their problems. But still, is it really a legitimate reason to have a child at such an age? If they are alive when he graduates university the chances of health being questionable is at least very high. I’m not saying age should be only limiting factor…how about a person’s capability to bring up a child? Should criminals or peadophiles be allowed to procreate? What about poor people (I’m not sure but I doubt at present they’d have access to things like IVF)?

At the end of the day, I don’t think that having the ability to impregnate a women or simply being able to push out a kid makes you a (good) parent. The best parents are those who have either made the considered decision to have a baby or, in the case of accidental pregnancy, decided  to grow up and put someone else’s needs before their own.  It’s not simply about following the crowd, avoiding the stigma or satisfying some temporary broody phase. A child is a long-term commitment (just like a puppy – sorry I couldn’t help myself!) and people should make the decision to have or not to have a child responsibly.

Ok darling Rinsers, go wild. Do you think there should be limits on who should be a parent? Should elders be allowed to have babies via IVF? Is it any different from those with serious medical conditions procreating? What about those who can barely afford stand on their own two feet financially? Should they have kids knowing full well that they’ll have to turn to outside parties for support?