I’m 23. I don’t want to have children for about 10 years, but I’m already worried. Is that weird? Probably! I know loads of my friends are really excited to have kids but every time I think about it it fills me with dread. Why? I’m worried about bringing them up in a world with all of today’s pressures bearing down on them. Stupid I know! There have always been pressures and bad things going on in the world but then it wasn’t that long ago that I was a teenager and dealt with all those things and now I feel that this has tripled in the past 5 years or so.
Social Media brings easy contact, photos and news articles but it also brings loneliness, more pressure to conform and more comparison, as hours are spent every day looking at other people’s fabulous lives and wondering why yours is not quite so amazing. Hey, how come I haven’t been on 3 holidays this year?! How does she manage to juggle three kids, a fantastic carer and a husband who looks like George Clooney all at once and still look fresh as a daisy. Answer: You never see the photos of the messy kitchen, the arguments, or the tired circles under her eyes!
Wars battle on throughout the world and meanwhile our government happily sells arms to the majority of these countries whilst wearing a poppy to grieve for the millions who died during WW1 – slightly ironic no?! I think it really hit me around Halloween time this year when the run up was filled with warnings from the police about not distressing and scaring elderly people who live alone. Surely this shouldn’t have to be a warning? It just makes sense doesn’t it. Have fun on Halloween but don’t frighten and upset vulnerable people? Or any people for that matter! Meanwhile the costumes in the supermarkets sum up society’s views on women. As Miranda from Sex and the City quite rightly summed up: ‘The only two choices for women; witch and sexy kitten’. Great. Cheers society for that wonderful and varied choice.
That’s what used to annoy me at uni actually. Whenever there was a dress up night it ALWAYS involved the girls dressing in some kind of sexy way…’Nurses and Doctors’, ‘Back to School’, ‘Baywatch’…I forget many of them but they all pretty much centred around this generic theme. And yes ok you could make your own costume and try to wear something where you didn’t freeze your ass off or get pinched/cat-called or worse by the ‘lads’, but at the end of the day that’s incredibly difficult to do when as a teenager all you want to do is conform! You have to be pretty damn confident to not go with the majority at that age and I bet there’s a minimum percentage of people who would classify as that. I know I didn’t!
So to get back to the point, what do you do when you’re bringing up kids in this modern society? How do you bring up confident, kind and intelligent children in a society that tells them to grow up too quickly, to be unsatisfied with everything they have and to accept everything that society/Rupert Murdoch tells them as binding? I wish I had the answer but I don’t and that’s what terrifies me. But I do have some hope. After all, people do it. I like to think my parents managed to turn out a couple of half-decent children, despite everything and likewise there are many fabulous people in the world despite what you hear in the media. So yes I know it is possible but that doesn’t stop me from worrying already about being a bad parent because I won’t be able to protect them from everything bad in this world, but I guess I’ll just have to cross my fingers and hope!