by SARA MULCAHY
Why do we play down motherhood?
A friend of mine recently decided to try for a baby and, when we meet for lunch, she asks, ‘What’s it really like?’ On safe ground – she is (fingers crossed) about to join the club after all – I extol the virtues of motherhood as I see them. I tell her it’s like being 14 and having the biggest crush on a boy at school and finding out he feels the same way about you. I tell her you expect to love your kids, but you don’t realise you’ll be in love with them. And – I’m on a role here – how everything that has gone before seems like just the lead up to this, what we are really meant to do with our lives.
But what about the lack of sleep? She asks. It’s fine! I say. You see, people who don’t have babies imagine it’s like the alarm clock going off three times in one night and you have to get up and GO TO WORK. But it isn’t! You may have to drag your fuzzy head off the pillow but you hear that little cry and you see those tiny fingers reaching for your face … I actually liked getting up in the night, I confess. Sometimes I miss those moments we shared in the gloom, when no one else was awake.
She tells me that of all her friends with kids, I’m the only one who’s had anything positive to say. All the others laughed and told her to enjoy her life while it was still her own. I’m (quietly) shocked. But then again, I’m not.
Because just as modern etiquette demands you don’t call fat people fat, or tell Big Issue sellers you can’t afford it, it’s become almost taboo to tell people without kids how great it is to have them.