Monday, 19 December 2011

Childless at Christmas

Little Miss Christmas
Christmas is all things magical and reminds us of our inner child. When we have children of our own we try to create an atmosphere of joy and love and keep the mystery of Santa Claus alive. Christmas is traditionally seen as a time for families to share and enjoy the festive season. Christmas has become so commercialised that Christianity has been all but removed from it. In fact, it’s now politically incorrect to speak about Jesus and the religious message of the season.

Peek a boo  hoo!
A well known journalist of a popular tabloid recently wrote of her sadness of not having children of her own. She explained that she would be sharing Christmas with her brother’s family whom her sister-in-law had magnanimously said were a quarter hers. The pain of childlessness is acute at this time of year but those who have a yearning for children often have a romanticised idea of what having children means.

I am a mother and deeply grateful for it. I’m under no illusions of what it takes to turn a child into a fully fledged and productive adult. It is work and the hardest work in every sense – emotionally and physically. Not everyone is cut out to be a mother and anyone who embarks on it with a host of romantic notions will have the stuffing knocked out of their dreams!

Choose wisely
Having a child is not a right, it’s a privilege – one that is often abused. If you want a tidy home, holidays every year, time for relaxation,  a clean car and a short “to do” list then you probably should not have them. To say that every couple should have a family is to say that everyone should own a Mercedes Benz. It’s just wouldn’t be practical.

Children are demanding little beings from the day they enter the world. They are fully dependent on their parents and one parent will be more prepared for it than the other. Hopefully that means one compensates for the other but sadly, selfish genes rear their ugly heads, and one of the parties will not pull their weight. 
In worst case scenarios you can’t even guarantee that your partner will stay the course of the marriage or child’s development through teens and adulthood.  Fatherhood carries with it a high rate of absenteeism.
Teen troubles

The other disturbing phenomena of parenting is that no training is ever provided yet we are asked to feed, toilet train, nurse, discipline, educate and play with our offspring.  Yes, we know how to react to cute, cuddly bundles but what happens when your tattoo sporting, hair dyeing, too much make-up wearing mini-me throws a hissy fit?

I’m someone who reads up about parenting since I believe that there were a few vital ingredients missing from my own experience. I’ve done my best to plug the gaps though, inevitably, I'm guilty of making my own mistakes. Sorry kids but your parents are human and humans are mistake prone!

The error rate of parenting is high and most damaging when they are threatening to the emotional  and psychological wellbeing of the child.  You’ll find plenty of this type of parenting in the media – bad parents  are far more newsworthy. These are the people who probably should have left parenting for another incarnation. They’re just not cut out for the demands and responsibilities of this noble path. 
In fact, I wish more people would desist from procreation and falling birth rates, at least in the Western world, are testament to that.

Christmas is not about this
So can you enjoy Christmas without children? Without a doubt – I’m bleary eyed from years of trudging around “Toys R Us” and children today are rabid consumerists so the less pressure to spend, spend, spend the better Christmas can be. If Christmas is simply shopping and over indulging then I’d rather someone cancelled it so that we can set a better example. 

Christmas is a season as much as any other. Children are a joy but you don't have to have had one of your own to know it. Somewhere a child waits for love and biology alone will not fulfill that need. Finding a child to love through sponsorship or by "borrowing" your friends and family is not difficult at this time of year.

Cherish your children and remember that a child is for life not just for Christmas!



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