It's a hard sell, parenthood.
Hard because the PR is terrible. All parents like me ever do is bang on about how difficult it is, how tired we are, how much we're upset that life's not "about me" any more (yet, it seems... here I am, complaining about me).
Having babies hurts, raising babies is relentless, kids get so much more irritating when they express their own free will, etc, etc, etc.
Watch: The pressure to be a 'Good Mum'. Post continues below.
And it's also a hard sell because there's an enormous, often silent and invisible group of people who would love nothing more than to be those exhausted, whining, vomit-splattered parents keeping it real all over the socials.
And it's insensitive to be blind to that and it's patronising not to mention it. But, as a wise woman (Glennon Doyle, I believe) says, "We can do hard things".
And after my Mamamia Outloud co-host Jessie Stephens challenged me recently to convince any woman why she should have children, given all that she would apparently give up, suffer through and lose, I put my mind to a pitch. A list. A manifesto. Here goes.
Reasons to become a parent:
We could all do with some more of it. And nothing dishes it out like a toddler screaming DON'T TOUCH ME while flailing on the floor of a supermarket aisle during a pandemic.
2. Open doors, vacated seats.
There will be a window of time, when you are visibly pregnant, when many people will be nicer to you than you deserve. Savour that moment. Because once you have a crying baby on your hip at every outing, it will vanish in a puff of vaporiser steam.
Not doing very well, am I? Okay, what about:
3. Someone to look after you when you're old.
That's a classic hit, that one. But as I edge ever closer to being "old", this one becomes less and less ridiculous.
After all, everyone sizes up their kids and decides which one's more likely to come visit every day with some gossip. We're nicer to that one.
4. Someone to do things for you.
Once your kids can move around, they can clean up. None of them ever do, but, it's out there, a possibility. A hope.
5. Discovering exactly what you're capable of.
That time a little boy pushed my kid in the park and I pushed him back? We do not speak of that moment.
6. Discovering exactly what you're capable of 2.0.
But I often speak of that time I pushed a four kilo baby out of my body, and I experienced pain that took me to some kind of terrifying transcendent portal, rendering me unable to name any feeling other than it? I survived that sh*t. How am I doing now? Still a little snippy, right?