When people used to ask me about having kids, I’d always reply,
“I’ll think about when I get to thirty.”
Thirty came and went, and I was still no nearer feeling adult enough to take the plunge.
Thirty-five came and went, and I started thinking I’d better get on with it.
But I was thirty-nine before the right combination of circumstances –man, job, house – coalesced, and baby number one was born.
I didn’t wait around to have another, and by forty-one we were a two child family.
And now, when people ask me if I ever wished I’d had them earlier, the only reason I would say “yes” is for the sake of the grandchildren.
Will I ever have any?
My mother, who had me at twenty, spent my childhood telling me to “have children until you’re older, when you’ve had a bit of a life”.
I shall be doing the opposite with my two.
“What? Fourteen and no kids? Better chuck those condoms out or your eggs will be rotting inside you.”
“Come on now, sixteen and no string of babies, each by a different mother? Call yourself a man?”
Oh yes, my kids will be brainwashed all right. No university for them, just endless nappies for darling daughter, and copious child maintenance payments extracted from dutiful son’s bank account by whatever’s taken the place of whatever’s about to take the place of the CSA.
That way, with one clever stroke of dysfunctional upbringing, I score a double whammy.
I get some grandchildren, while also neatly sidestepping university fees – which by then will probably cost tens of thousands of pounds, but every student will be guaranteed a First for the trouble of turning up to Freshers’ Week.
Now that is what I call forward planning.