W.C Fields and I had one thing in common as far as I know. We both don’t like being around children. Small children, big children and teenagers really get on my nerves.
As I head towards ‘respectable’ maturity, the one statistic that has impressed me is that our population is aging. By the Year 20 whatever, people over the age of sixty are going to double in numbers.
Grey power, grey nomads, and happily aging baby boomers, are beginning to figure in the media. We are supposed to become a force “with which to reckon.” I have looked forward to the time when hotels, businesses, travel companies, clothing manufacturers, would begin to take notice of this new demographic and cater to it.
Whenever some impatient generation X-er demands that we get out of his way because it is his time now and that he wants the good jobs and luxurious homes, I have no sympathy for him at all.
There’s no question that his moment in the sun will come soon enough , but meanwhile he should go back to his Play Station and fiddle with the Joy Stick.
An interesting phenomenon which has marred our promising Golden Years is the demise of feminism and with it the demise of that implausible creature of the Eighties, “The Superwoman”.
Women have become so tired and so fed up with doing it all that they seem to be nostalgic for the domesticity of the Stepford Wives. Hence the return of the enhanced plunging neckline, padded bras and bunion-forming stiletto heels.
Let’s face it, while women’s lib achieved some welcome egalitarianism, most women have been working at mundane jobs. They are not jetsetting all over the world and living it up in glamorous locations.
Stacking shelves in a supermarket is not fulfilling.
Some of these disillusioned career ladies have been longing to return home to enjoy what the feminists had missed out on.
Modern women seem to have done an 180 degree turn and now want a home life and some children with a partner who will hang around longer than the morning cup of coffee. Not a bad idea at all, but one that was destined to impinge on my Utopian dreams of a wonderful Golden Age for boomers.
At the same time that women discovered that working at home and at a job isn’t all that rewarding, the government has expressed panic at the growth of the older generation and the diminution of the work force who would have to support them in years to come.
So it decided to bribe women to have children. It was a bit like good old Hitler giving medals to mothers who had lots of children during the Third Reich.
As our venerable Treasurer, Peter Costello, suggested, every woman should produce one child for mum, one for dad and one for the country. He offered shekels to each woman for each child–$4000 in fact.
It was an offer too good to refuse.
Fecundity has exploded with a bang, so to speak. So what was going to be a happy Golden Age for retired people is slowing turning into an unpleasant invasion of big bellies with their protruding navels waddling around all over the place in skimpy tops that reveal veins that resemble maps of our diminishing river system.
These pregnant women are everywhere with their screaming and vomiting babies and their uncontrollable toddlers bumping into you, clambering all over you at the cinema and taking up seats on public transport while older people stand.
There are certain places, such as restaurants, which should ban children altogether. When I go to a restaurant, it’s for the pleasant atmosphere and a leisurely meal peppered with quiet conversation and many jokes.
What I don’t want to see is a woman breastfeeding, chasing her child with food or the father trying to discipline little Emmah or Damian. I don’t want my chair to be bumped by some hyperactive, Ritalin-deficient monster, nor will I nod in sympathy with some mother who thinks that by smiling feebly she will convert me into an adoring fan of her offsprings.
Ever been on a flight with lunatic children and their effete parents? The brats are kicking the back of your seat, screeching, running up and down the aisles and you are even exposed to a smelly baby having its nappy changed next to you?
Just the other week, a family and their three year-old brat who refused to sit down and buckle up on take-off was removed from an AirTran Airway flight in the U.S. Three cheers for the airline!
And if there is one thing worse than young parents with uncontrollable children, it’s the middle-aged (oops I forgot to have a baby until I heard the clock tick) couples who suddenly decide that having purchased the trendy house, the luxury car, the holiday house, the jet skis, the twin pommeranians, one for each of them and the ubiquitous matching bicycle helmets, what they really want now is to reproduce.
So out comes the thermometer, the standing on your head after sex, the accusations of who’s to blame for infertility and finally, capitulation- IVF.
Hormone treament, someone else’s egg, someone else’s sperm and even someone else’s uterus all come into play and then an expensive miracle happens, pregnancy at the age when deformities and Down’s syndrome are a major risk.
These people aren’t having babies for the $4000. They just want to buy a Bugaboo stroller to add to their luxury vehicles and now they’ll have an excuse to buy a petrol-guzzing SUV as well just to cart the precious treasure around.
When such aged parents parade as if they are the first in history to ever have had a child, I have taken great pleasure in telling them how adorable their grandchild is.
Now wouldn’t you expect that after going through hormone hell and finally producing a brat, the blissful couple would be only too eager to sacrifice some time and money to bring up the child?
Well, no, cause they believe that they have a God-given right to childcare, healthcare, and all sorts of other financial benefits for having given birth.
My view is “you brought them into the world and now you should be prepared to support them.” If you can’t afford to do that cause you are either broke or professionally ambitious, then don’t have children.
I resent my taxes being used to support children whose parents aren’t dedicated enough to bring them up. And let’s face it, those other younger mothers also expect us to support their brats.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the day will come when a woman will give birth in a hospital and then drop off her baby in the government-funded hospital creche as she is discharged.
Then she wouldn’t have to waste any quality time with her offspring.
Do I sound angry about it all? Of course, I do, cause I’m fed up with the invasion. By the way, I’m writing this during the school holidays and yes, it’s not just the parents who wish school would resume.
Having had my children at a sensible age before my eggs had solidified in an archaic uterus, I sacrificed some years from my profession to be there for them, to take them to school and pick them up, to listen to them and to help them with their studies.
Mushy as this sounds I felt I owed it to them.
Even though I am a high-school teacher by profession, I did put my children first. When they went to school I returned to work.
It’s very easy to say that times have changed since the 70’s and they certainly have, but being a mother hasn’t. You bring a child into the world then you should bring it up. That’s what being a parent is.
“But nowadays one needs two incomes!” is the common outcry.
Was there ever a time when two paychecks weren’t better than one?
It’s just that people are no longer willing to save before they buy. Let’s face it, this is the “I want it right now generation and I’m going to get it even if someone else has to buy it for me.”
However, the social scientists are forever warning us and I happily agree that the population is aging and so who will supply the workforce?
According to them, we have to produce babies right now and educate and feed them at enormous costs so that later on they will become workers.
Is that the only alternative?
Surely it is cheaper to import ready-made workers whom we don’t have to feed and train for twenty years first before they become a viable asset.
That is why I am adamantly opposed to our Federal Treasurer’s scheme of increasing our population by increasing our birth rate. It would be much more cost-effective to increase immigration from countries that have values compatible with our own.
Think of the saving in education alone!
If we persist with increasing our birthrate, my predictions for the future is a society consisting of many very young people and just as many old people with a small group of employable people in the middle.
Those two very large groups will get in each other’s way and even become hostile to one another, much more than the natural generation gap could explain. As a baby-boomer, I see it happening already and it’s only going to get worse.