My friend and I discovered we had another thing in common yesterday. We both believe that having children satisfies our selfish need to interrupt the monotony of life and continue the momentum of the treadmill that is survival. In Western society, survival means affording a weekly shop and keeping up the rent and mortgage payments (it would also be nice to be able to afford a trip away every now and again, eating out, some clothes and some nice things at Christmas). She, like me, experiences happiness with a tinge of anxiety at every uplifting moment in life. Why? Because we fear the inevitable dip following a good moment – I feel good now but surely this will not last, something shit will happen to counteract all the good stuff.
We all hope that the bad things are not catastrophic (such as losing a loved one) then life alters its course from survival to an empty existence. We all pity those who have been forced to live their lives this way because of circumstances either in or out of their control. We keep our fingers crossed we do not join the group that merely exist.
When I was younger, I thought it was unfair to perpetuate the trials of life by having children. I also didn’t believe in marriage (what does God do when you make plans?……). As far as we know there is no alternative to life, other than death. So, since we don’t know an awful lot about the after-life, you might as well give life a try and you hope your children will grasp at the opportunity and, on the whole, enjoy it. After all, as parents we are responsible for introducing them to the world in the first place so we need to make sure they enjoy their stay.
My friend and I have another thing in common. It is time of the month and hormones are raging – can you tell? After our in-depth philosopical discussion (when we talked while the children cycled down a old railway track somewhere in the South Downs) we turned round and admired the the rolling hills and blue sky. I turned to my friend and said ‘It’s shit but the view isn’t bad is it?’ We stopped and we stared.
A Mum I know cleans 20 rooms a day in a care home for the elderly on the minimum wage – just about enough to feed her and her 2 boys and pay some bills. There isn’t enough staff for theelderly residents so the care staff do the bare minimum – getting them in and out of the chair for the day-time and in and out of their bed for the night-time. My friend says there is no care involved as she witnesses this while cleaning and it sickens her. She is so tired on her return from work that she has to muster up what little energy she has left to clean her own house. It doesn’t sound like much of a life to me but she has 2 gorgeous and well-behaved sons and she smiles.
I am blogging every day for Unicef. If you are able to support Unicef’s work with vulnerable children around the world, please visit my site to make a donation.
Thanks for reading.