What I’m reading

“Had I catalogued the downsides of parenthood, ‘son might turn out killer’ would never have turned up on the list. Rather, it might have looked something like this:

1. Hassle.
2. Less time just the two of us. (Try no time just the two of us.)
3. Other people. (PTA meetings. Ballet teachers. The kid’s insufferable friends and their insufferable parents.)
4. Turning into a cow. (I was slight, and preferred to stay that way. My sister-in-law had developed bulging varicose veins in her legs during pregnancy that never retreated, and the prospect of my calves branched in blue tree roots mortified me more than I could say. So I didn’t say. I am vain, or once was, and one of my vanities was to feign that I was not.)
5. Unnatural altruism: being forced to make decisions in accordance with what was best for someone else. (I’m a pig.)
6. Curtailment of my traveling. (Note curtailment. Not conclusion.)
7. Dementing boredom. (I found small children brutally dull. I did, even at the outset, admit this to myself.)
8. Worthless social life. (I had never had a decent conversation with a friend’s five-year-old in the room.)
9. Social demotion. (I was a respected entrepreneur. Once I had a toddler in tow, every man I knew–every woman, too, which is depressing–would take me less seriously.)
10. Paying the piper. (Parenthood repays a debt. But who wants to pay a debt she can escape? Apparently, the childless get away with something sneaky. Besides, what good is repaying a debt to the wrong party? Only the most warped mother could feel rewarded for her trouble by the fact that at least her daughter’s life is hideous, too.)”

– Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

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