Friday, October 05, 2007


Children are not an unadulterated delight, true. They're people and they have good days and bad days. If you're not ready to stick it out for at least eighteen years, better off not starting a family. Find this out too late? Too bad - suck it up and do the best you can.

Or you can write a book and whine about it. Then you'll be famous and garner lots of sympathy and give your kids a concrete reason to hate you. Like Corinne Maier did.
"We went to a family dinner in the suburbs of Paris. It took us a lot of time to go there with the children, and we went because the children wanted to go. We didn't want to go, my partner and I, and it was a bit boring, but we took them anyway," she says with a Gallic nonchalance, strolling across an empty floor in the enormous, art-filled house in one of the better corners of Brussels where she lives in a kind of exile from France with her partner, Yves, 45, their daughter Laure, 13, and son, Cecil, 10.

"And on the way back, the two of us thought that it would be nice to see an exhibition on Belgian surrealists. Once inside the museum, the children began to be awful." Laure said that the exhibition was "bullshit." Cecil began to scream, so Yves took him outside. "And I started yelling at him for this: 'Why aren't you more strong with him?' And we began to argue. We didn't see anything. And at that point, I thought, 'I really regret it, I regret having children.' "
Take a 10 and 13 year old to an art gallery filled with Belgian surrealism and you deserve what you get.
She is painfully honest, as perhaps only a psychiatrist can be, about her own delusions of motherhood. She had been an only child and had hoped that having children would end her feelings of loneliness. She realized too late, she says, that it simply created new forms of loneliness.

"I thought it would be easier. I didn't realize how tough it would be - the organization required, the time you have to spend with them for maybe 20 years. It was the idea of feeling trapped, trapped in something that you are unable to end, it will last you 15 or 20 years and you cannot escape. It is not like a job, which you can change. Or a country."
Jee-zus on a pogo stick, lady. You can't run from who you are. Recall the words of the immortal Buckaroo Banzai " . . . no matter where you go, there you are."

There is an awkward question that looms over this, though: If she feels so strongly that motherhood is a mistake, is she willing to tell her children that they themselves were mistakes?

It seems obvious that a psychiatrist, who seems to be a successful mother, would instantly deny that. Instead, she thinks about this question for a long time, as if it had never occurred to her before.

"Well, I don't know, in fact," she says. And then brightens: "I think maybe in the future, if at some point, my daughter tells me that she will vote for Sarkozy, I will think very deep inside me that yes, I made a big mistake with her."

Prepare to be disapointed, babe.
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