According to the always handy Wikipedia, Pediophobia is the fear of children.
Before my little girl was born my friends and family often joked about my obvious disdain for other peoples children. They wondered how I'd take to motherhood. I think may were surprised that I am completely and utterly obsessed with my ruby haired little doll. I love being a mother.
Still, while I absolutely adore my precious girl I'm not in the least bit 'clucky' about other babies and I never feel the urge to babble away like an idiot to strange babies in lifts and other public places. I find a lot of children very tedious. My daughter, of course, is the most charming, entertaining, clever kid on the planet but most other children- bleurgh!
My daughter has a BFF they are so cute together, I think they really do like each other. They have hung out since their were in utero! Her mum and I were pregnant at the same time and we shared everything so her daughter is one of the rare exceptions to my 'other peoples kids yuck' rule, I love her to bits but she is the exception.
We are not in a rush to have another child until our little girl is a little older and less dependant. I am fiercely protective of her and 'our time' together. She is politely described as a very 'busy' child (high maintenance) so we decided against a close age gap for her sake more than anything. She is very alert and demands a lot of attention. Quite a few friends have responded quite negatively when I've explained our rationale for wanting a larger age gap and I have even once been described as not being very maternal.
What makes a mother non-maternal? Is it because I find screaming children in shopping centres hideous? Is it because I don't believe 'all children are beautiful' and I don't want 35 of them? Is it because I don't wish my amazing toddler was a newborn again? Is it because I am a very cynical person and I hate all the saccharine lovey dovey googoo gaa gaa you hear from a lot of mothers?
Maternal is defined as having the qualities befitting a mother. I think I have those. I'm patient with my daughter and I don't get bored being at home with her 24/7. I do not miss my 'old life' one bit. Not because I didn't enjoy it but because I enjoy this more. I am committed to raising a happy, healthy little girl and I don't believe in paying others to raise her. I miss her desperately when I'm away from her running errands and I genuinely enjoy her company. I do whatever I think is in her best interests, even if it means my own relatives think it is creepy that I am breastfeeding a toddler til she self weans.
Ok so I am now thinking that this post has become one of those uber defensive pathetic "I'm a good mother" rants. I hate those! That wasn't really where I planned to go with this post. What actually started me thinking about pediophobia was this news article here:
To discourage what is now known as "anti-social" behaviour (aka teenagers hanging out together in public places) community organisations have resorted to pink light areas. No, this isn't a female version of the blue lights they use to make it hard for junkies to find a vein when shooting up in public toilets. These pink lights are the ones beauticians use to highlight pimples. So the pink lights highlight the teenagers acne and they feel embarrassed and uncool and move on to another area. They also play classical music and daggy old tracks by Barry Manillow.
Having worked with teenagers ad nauseam in the childrens courts I can, on one hand, relate to the majority attitude amongst the oldies that teenagers are annoying, trouble making time wasters. On the other hand I really think community attitude should change. I was a handful as a teenager, I thougth I was too cool for school and tried so hard to 'fit in'. I went through all the 'phases' and I was a complete loudmouth and I turned out ok. I don't think we should be discouraging teenagers from hanging out together in groups bigger than 3. Really, that is absurd. I don't think we should be shining lights in their faces and humiliating them. It is a really difficult time, changing, discovering who you are. Adults should be more sensitive...
Maybe, just maybe if our culture valued mothers and families a little more then it wouldn't be so uncool to admire your parents and hang out with your older relatives and teenagers wouldn't feel the need to find family in gangs. I don't know, just a thought.