Decisions have consequences

The Guardian is likely to publish an awful lot of columns along this theme over the next few years as many of its readers and writers come to terms with the inevitable atrophy of their ovaries; I don’t want children but being an aunt is the joy of my life.

The writer then proceeds to tell us how great it is to have nieces and nephews and that it is the happiest experience of her life. However, she’s still very happy with her previous decision to not be a mother.

Very happy.

Very, very happy. Honestly.

See, doesn’t this paragraph just ooze happiness:

Adrienne Rich states that motherhood is a patriarchal institution. It shames mothers into a specific set of expectations that are impossible to attain. Mothers are judged for allowing their children to use devices, co-sleeping, engaging in paid work, not engaging in paid work, being fat, being thin, breastfeeding, using formula – the list goes on. I have seen what must be sacrificed – body, career, relationships – and how this is never enough for a culture that is always wagging its finger at you. I have witnessed the bravery it takes to be a mother in a patriarchal world, and I do not wish to cast myself in that net. It is the act of mothering, Rich defines, which is the potentially empowering experience.
This paragraph is brought to you by the adjectives, “bitter” and “projection“.

Also, let’s have a moment of contemplation for the fact a functioning adult human wrote the words, “motherhood is a patriarchal institution” without any hint of irony.

Bill’s Opinion

In recent years I have noticed an increasing number of female colleagues my age who are waking up to the reality they were sold a lie and made the wrong life choice.

At some point in their past they were told or independently developed the idea that the benefits of motherhood were not material enough compared to what they might have to give up.

Now, since their eggs have died, they are able to regret this choice at their long leisure.


The attitudes to this seem to fall in to three main categories;

  • Bitter and angry. This often results in an increased career focus. If you’ve ever met a woman in the work environment whose behaviour is on a par with or worse than the most offensive alpha males, chances are they are childless,
  • “Living well is the best revenge”. Instagram account full of images of ostentatious partying and holidaying, always the oldest person in the nightclub.
  • Quiet melancholy. The stereotype of the cat woman exists for a reason.

I am genuinely sad for them.

9 Replies to “Decisions have consequences”

  1. It must be terrible having no agency at all in any situation. No matter which way you turn, and what actions you may take, the patriarchy has determined that the outcome is that you have been forced into a role, have done more work than the other, and will be miserable as a result.

    Its a mystifying outcome.

  2. Because I have genetic problems I chose not to pass them on. Instead I married a woman with children. The youngest is about to turn 40. She and her older brother still call me when they have financial problems. That makes me their real dad.

    Five grandchildren and so far two great-grandchildren. In fact all of them are great. I’m a fucking expert with nappies, first aid, diagnosing which fevers need to go to the emergency room and teaching them to dance funny.

  3. Having made her decision and decided on her role, she sounds as if she is the world’s most fun auntie:

    “I am deeply involved in my niece and nephew’s lives. I have discussions with them about race and consent”

    My guess is that she is making the best of a bad situation because no man was daft enough to impregnate her.

    1. I’ve worked in accounts most of my life. Most accounts staff are women. They way they bitch about each other makes your hair curl. So all these patriarchal oppressions that Adrienne is moaning about are actually matriarchal.

  4. William let me introduce you to another concept. Confirmation bias. Then might I ask you to look around your work place again at the number of divorced women there, especially the ones who have divorced in their fifties. Does the term mid life crisis ring a bell. Why is it considered just a male thing. How many women are trading in their husbands because they can do better, then finding they can’t. Like every time the result is known, all the evidence points to it. Confirmation bias means that you only see what you are looking for, while evidence to the contrary becomes invisible. So she knows that the Patriarchy is there and oppressing most women. May I also point out that cat ladies are not a recent happening, the higher rate of male deaths meant they have always been with us. Consider the Roman battle that saw the death of 20% of the male population. There are a lot of widows and never marrieds there.

  5. “Lara Holmes studies and writes about the relationship between feminism and comedy”. Therein lies much of the problem.

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