On Monday I was having a Jenny Jones/YouTube coffee break and came across a puce-with-rage 15 year old, emphatic she was ready to have a baby.
She was prepared you see, because she'd already bought it clothes. Ah yes. She also said she had a lot of love to give to a child. She told us this in between swearing alternately at the audience and her mother.
At the time I was just thinking, 'why would anyone wear pink spandex booty shorts'? (I know we don't snark but she looked like the Moomins prostitute cousin). Then I realised that actually, how would anyone know if they'd be a good parent? How would I know if I'd be a good parent? I have no idea.
Most people seem to think they'd be great at it. The young woman I previously mentioned is a case in point. Maybe she would be, or maybe she'd be horrible at it. I bet Pol Pot's mother thought she would do an awesome job, and look how that turned out.
So now, I have newfound respect for all the people with kids, especially the mothers that I know - it can't be easy. First you basically have to heave something the size of a large melon from your body, and then you have to raise it - and in some cases raise it on your own. And kids can be horrible.
Who else remembers their teenage angst phase - when you had to promise your parents you weren't drinking or doing drugs after you insisted on constantly wearing sunglasses around the house all day every day, and the news that there's 'there's no orange juice left' resulted in a 15 minute crying jag? Imagine having to put up with that constant level of assholery on a daily basis. WITHOUT committing GBH.
Or busting your ass for 10 hours a day in a job you hate just so little Tarquin can hurl his Spiderman fortress down the stairs because his friend Matthieu has a bigger one.
And that's AFTER all the nappy changing.
The benefits must outweigh the negatives, but only if you're that sort of person, I guess. I always assumed someone who used to go out six nights a week isn't exactly going to revel in the prospect of watching a four year old make macaroni bracelets.
For example, say you're 29 and you have a kid. And 3 years later you say 'oh I can't stick this, I want my old life back' and start leaving him with anyone you are even vaguely acquainted. Obviously, that would make you a shit parent.
Or what if you start being resentful towards your child and end up telling a five-year-old his paintings are formless, talentless blobs ('God, pick up a copy of Art In America why don't you?!')?
Some mothers do end up resenting their children, but how could you know in advance if you might feel like that? I don't think the difference is anything to do with planning for a child versus finding out you are pregnant by accident, because I know children who were unplanned with mothers who would wrestle a rabid tiger in a vat of syringes without hesitation to protect them.
Basically, I just don't know - what do you guys think? How do you know if you'd be a good parent? Do you think you'd be one? So many questions!