It’s Flashback Friday. Every Friday we bring back a golden oldie article from yesteryear. A chance for you to check it and see if it is still relevant today!
The other day I ended up sitting for a while with a petite 27 year old girl on her leather sofa. I was slowly feeling more and more troubled.
The living room was in her reasonably modern four bedroomed terraced house which itself was very highly maintained throughout with full central heating, double glazing, fitted kitchen, nice bathroom, etc., etc.
A massive 56 inch TV sat burbling away at one end of the room with one of the music channels coming via her Sky+ box.
During my time with this attractive and fit looking lass I realised that she wasn’t stupid. She was extremely articulate, witty and bright. In fact she was everything you wouldn’t see on the Jeremy Kyle show.
Her place, indeed, her life was very comfortable. I warmed to her. As a person, a personality, she was a good person.
Yet deep inside I felt annoyed that I was paying for everything around her.
Nope, she wasn’t one of my string of ex-wives, nor was she a girl I’d installed into a comfortable lifestyle in order to be able to make booty-calls as and when I required.
She lived as the only adult in the house, looking after her five children. Yep, five children.
Having first got pregnant at 16, and then basically continued to pump them out on a regular basis ever since (the last being only 3 months old), she had left school with no qualifications, dropping out before even bothering to take her GCSEs. Despite her obvious intelligence, she could hardly read or write.
Her children joined her and sat quietly at her request. She was in control. She was a good mother. The children looked well and clean, quite lovely in fact. There was nothing I could point at and revel in as an indicator of neglect, cruelty, or contributing to a bad up-bringing.
I am also paying for the upkeep of these children.
I pay for everything they eat, wear and play with.
Their mother has never worked. She is paid out of my taxes. I work to support her lifestyle choice. Her house is paid for. Indeed, her ‘Benefits’ are paid directly to the Housing Association so she is not even aware of the concept of ‘paying rent’ let alone how much it might be. She is paid for having children and looking after them.
She lives a good life, and her life of choice appears to be to reproduce and add more mouths to my tax burden. This troubled me.
Here’s the thing. There will be others who will work hard, maybe both people in a relationship both working long hours, and they will consider how they might, just might, be able to afford to have one child. They will juggle work and their income and expect nothing from me and other tax payers. Indeed, they might say that if they had all the money in the world they would love to have five children. But, they will say they can’t afford it, so one or maybe two will be all they are careful to bring into the world. Forever.
In a way, the couple who are being considerate and conscientious are the ones who should be in the position to have the five children they long for. Yet they are not. It is the person who has done nothing but recklessly push babies out like a conveyor belt robot who gets to enjoy living a life of relative luxury as a ‘parent’ without the stress of having to work and pay bills. How can this be right?
Taking this forward, we now get to the bit that troubled me even more. Try as I could I could find nothing that I could change to stop this ridiculous situation from existing and no doubt occurring again and again.
I considered taking the children away from their mother, but this would be wrong. She is an excellent mother. I considered taking the house away and forcing them to live in a communal home, but this would disadvantage the children. Yep, there’s truly nothing I could do that wouldn’t badly affect the children. My only option is to carry on paying for the 27 year old’s lifestyle of choice.
So, maybe I need to look at preventing this from happening again. What should be done to the next 16 year old who gets pregnant? Take the baby, and all subsequent babies, away if she has no means of supporting it? Cruel on the baby?
Should we sterilise the girl? Should we not give them nice houses and pay for their children? I mean, how should we effectively and efficiently break the cycle and stop this?
Well, after much troubled thinking, I concluded that there is nothing we can do. From now onwards, should a girl decide that she wants to dedicate herself to having five or more children, then I will just have to keep on paying for her lifestyle choice, for the house, for the toys, for the food, for the clothing, and for absolutely everything that the more conscientious can barely afford to pay for out of their own money.
This is not the way it should be. My problem is that I can’t suss out how it should be.