How pointless is that? It's like shouting 'I'm happy with my life, honest. Don't come near me with your stories of how you are happy with your life too'.
Rachel Cooke is furious that she sometimes has to suffer conversations with women who want to talk about their life and their experience of having children. She seems to be filled with dismay that some of her friends have had children and da, da, daaa... talk about it.
At least her friends are forewarned. They have no excuse for not keeping Rachel completely entertained in future.
She should just accept that some of her friends are boring. It's just that in the world before children, Rachel's friends only wanted to talk about handbags and manicures (which would bore me to pieces), now they have family (hey look - Rachel's friends are now MY friends).
I've got friends who enjoy talking about themselves and their own interests. They aren't bad people, just a little self-centred. I've endured deadly monologues when a friend has gossiped about people I don't know. I stick around because she's infinitely kind and tells great stories about work - a reflection on my own interests and not because work is innately worthy.
And don't forget, men can be boring too. Whether it's about babies, cars, wine, gadgets... Only this week I suffered a colleague's in-depth description of how his 17 month old was learning to walk. Did I shut him up? No, of course not. It would have been rude of me to begrudge him a minute or two of paternal pride. I don't think being a snob about what people choose to talk about is the best way to 'win friends and influence people'.
Most of her articles are more balanced, though her tone is frequently bitter. You can read here how she managed to knife Peaches Geldof in the back, even if she didn't manage to puncture PG's inflated ego during the interview itself.
Rachel refers to the way 'websites' (I'm not sure if she means blogs or chatrooms) condemned Rachida Dati. I dispute her take on this. I have blogged about Dati - here and here- but I don't think I was unreasonably critical and I posted about it because I wasn't finding any sensible coverage of the story in the press. The nastier stuff was found in newspapers like The Daily Mail where apparently Dati 'and her kind' are responsible for shattering "the bedrock of a stable and contented society". Mothers are an impressive group of people, but I don't think we can do all that on our ownsome.
I'm increasingly finding that print and broadcast coverage of parenting is subject to a filter of banal stereotypes;
- earnest breastfeeding earth mothers (selfish)
- superwomen career mothers with nannies (selfish)
- ambitious mothers living vicariously through their children (selfish)
- skinny minnies - surgically or otherwise - with ultra-fashionable kiddies (selfish)
Rachel's piece was followed by a defensive, why I'll never have children piece by Polly Vernon. I like it more when Polly demonstrates the upside of a childfree life. Usually Polly writes about cocktail bars, international travel and her ability to wear skinny fit jeans. Previous to this article, I've imagined that if life had gone in a different direction, I might have lived a slightly less glam version of her life. Swap the skinny fit for straight leg and the NY cocktail bars for Canterbury and you might not have been able to tell us apart.
Amusingly, Polly dismisses some parents as mumsnet-botherers. Over the past couple of months, mumsnet has been The Guardian's first port of call for every voxpop on motherhood. I suspect this is another dig at the blogosphere. It's not a direct hit though, since mumsnet is more about chatrooms instead of creative blogging.
I wonder if she really even wanted to write the article in the first place. Her life should be hunkdory enough for her to shrug off the occassional comment about children.
I'm starting to wonder why I read the paper after all. Which is annoying, because I've just subscribed to its voucher system...
IN OTHER NEWS: my other blog has 1 follower. Which is so encouraging.