There seems to have been a recent explosion of babies amongst my friends and family. Everywhere I look, (ok, mainly Facebook) there are pictures of babies, statuses about babies, pictures of baby bumps. One couple even named me the fertility fairy, as wherever I go, a string of babies seems to follow.
If I were a man, you would have legitimate reason to start ordering paternity tests, but seeing as I am a woman and the closest I have been to pregnancy is multiple food babies, I can safely say that none of these adorable crying lumps of poo and vomit are mine.
Naturally, this has gotten me thinking. About what I want to leave behind in the world. About what I want to pass on to any child that has the misfortune of having me as a mother. I think that any
decent parent ultimately wants their children to be happy and fulfilled. The only issue is that it’s fairly common to think that the road to fulfilment comes from giving your children the opportunities you never had. Giving them the childhood you never had. Whether they want it or not.
Also known as living vicariously through your children.
This is particularly prevalent in the arts, where it has gained its own label: the Stage Mum. The sporting equivalent is probably the Football Dad. You know they type. They generally look like this:
To be honest, I do have a checklist of skills that I want my hypothetical child to have attained by the time they reach adulthood. Does a healthy level of self-esteem, a balanced attitude towards food, and autonomous thinking make the top ten? Absolutely not. Since moving overseas, I have found a whole new world of skills that I don’t have, but really wish I did. And I am damn certain any child will never find themselves lacking in these essential life skills.
B’s Top Ten Life Skills to have Attained by Maturity
1. Speak more than one language.
I will not allow any child of my to know the deep level of shame that comes from only speaking one language. And if being bilingual is good, being a polyglot must be better, right? My child/ren will speak English, French, Italian and German as a minimum, with Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin, and Indonesian as optional* extras. They will get extra love for taking on Greek, Hebrew, Dutch or Arabic. Yes, my love is conditional.
2. Be able to (re)build furniture.
Anyone can follow Ikea instructions. But it takes real intelligence to take apart the furniture, put it back together and not have a screw or bolt left inexplicably in your hand at the end.
3. Be able to pick locks.
Because no one should have to pay €50 to have their door opened because they locked their keys inside.
4. Be able to identify minor mechanical faults and perform basic repairs.
Because no one should inadvertently buy a completely broken washing machine, and then have to pay someone €40 to be told it’s broken.
5. Be able to do basic clothing alterations.
Because any child of mine is likely to be vertically challenged, and therefore will own many pairs of pants that are far too long. And no one should have to pay any amount of money to have a hem taken up.
6. Be able to cook and bake.
All too often people can do one or the other. But specialisation in the kitchen is only an option for my child/ren if they become chefs employed in one of the top three restaurants in France.
7. Be able to dance.
And no, I don’t mean full blown Black Swan style, but simply adequate boogying on the average dance floor. If you need an explanation as to why this will be an advantage to you, you either need to learn to dance or get out more.
8. Be in possession of large doses or charm.
Because used in the right way, it will get you anything, anywhere, anytime.
9. Be well read.
Because this will in all likelihood increase their intelligence, but also decrease the likelihood of poor grammar. If any child of mine ever confuses their, they’re or there, or your and you’re after the age of eleven, I will disown them.
10. Be socially adept.
My God, can you imagine the shame of having a socially awkward child? I really don’t know how my parents coped…
Upon reading this list, perhaps it would be better if I don’t procreate. I’ll get a cat or twelve instead.