Down & Out In A London Kitchen

Esther Walker started a food blog called Recipe Rifle in 2009 when desperate and unemployed. In 2010 she married restaurant critic Giles Coren and far, far too quickly had a baby daughter, called Kitty.

Parenthood makes fools of us all in time

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
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on Tuesday, 14 February 2012

When I was in my teens and twenties and having a miserable time for whatever reason, I would say to myself: “I had better enjoy myself while I can, because when I’m old or when I’ve got children I will look back on this time and be envious of myself. Similarly, I bet I will hate girls younger and prettier than me.”

And in fact, neither thing is true; I don’t want to be younger again because being a zitty teenager was hell and being a zitty twenty-something lurching from one disastrous relationship to another was worse.

And I really don’t envy girls younger and prettier than me. I really, seriously don’t.

Occasionally on Facebook I experience a flash of despair and irritation when I see childless peers of mine excited about some exotic holiday, or sharing photos from a wild party. But in the end, as far as I’m concerned they’re living on borrowed time, they are partying on death row, because at some point they will have to deal with the Baby Question, too.

And there’s never a right time, there’s never an easy option; parenthood makes fools of us all, in time – whether or not we have children. But at least, I tell myself, I’ve made that decision, I’ve taken the leap and I’ve even got through my first year of motherhood with everyone still alive and only a modest number of sessions with a nut doctor.

No, the women I admire these days, who I crave to be, are mothers who have held themselves together physically and mentally, with children who can all wipe their own bottoms. That, to me, says glamour.

So party on, girls, flick that long glossy hair while you can, before you have to hack it off to stop the baby yanking on it. Stay up all night for fun rather than because someone, somewhere is vomiting. “Everyone,” says my friend Beth, who had her first child at 38, “ends up in the nappy aisle eventually.” And when those girls do I will laugh myself sick, while making them tea with eight sugars and demonstrating swaddling on a teddy.

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