A columnist recently wrote about the “parent club” and how those who haven’t had children can’t understand what being part of this jolly “club” is like. She even wrote that she feels sorry for everyone on the outside. It’s such an odd way of looking at the world. We can all decide to belong to these little “clubs” defined by gender, age, experience, sexuality, wealth, life-style choices… But why would we? To make ourselves feel superior to anyone on the other side of the doors?
She appeared to be oblivious to the fact that her experience of parenting has been bordered by other factors — her disposable income, her partner, where she lives and the other identikit parents she chooses to socialise with. I wonder if a single Ugandan woman with ten children would qualify to be part of her particular club, or if it’s really only for other married English women with a certain income? Once you acknowledge all the other invisible boundaries, the factor of having a child seems to be one of the least important membership criteria.
Having said that, there is a barricade drawn up between some breeders/non-breeders. A recent facebook post from a friend (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/01/09/advance-tedious-parenting-magazine_n_4568855.html?utm_hp_ref=tw) made me wonder how irritated people are by my mentions of Mini on social networking sites. Do they get equally irritated by people’s relentless love of fluffy cats or holiday snaps, or is it only evidence of having a child that is instantly smug or the sign of a martyr complex? I know other mothers who refuse to post about their experience as a parent as they don’t want to appear boring, domestic and child-obsessed. Are we too embarrassed to still claim the personal as political?
I say embrace your tediousness! It’s not about membership to a club. And if, like me, you’ve bored the legs off your friends by talking about politics, music, films and religion for 20 years, I’m sure they won’t mind an additional 18yr bore-athon about your kids.
(This post is dedicated to all those people who said my blog made them laugh. I apologise for recent posts and promise I will become more light-hearted again as spring approaches!)