I’m too young to be a mum
MEGGIE FAIRCLOUGH fears the prospect of having college kids.
Why would you trust me to be a college parent?
“I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to be your mother. It’s not you; it’s me. You were an accident.”
I never thought I would say these words but it is, I fear, what I’ll have to to do – with the dread prospect of being allotted college children coming up.
The maternal instinct isn’t something that comes naturally to me.
The prospect of children frightens me. There’s no way I can cope with nappies or anything requiring hand sanitisers. I am – essentially – an evolutionary dead end, and I have serious doubts that my gene pool will be passed onto the next generation.
This is why I am worried about having college kids. Real children is one thing. Teenage freshers in the awkward interlude between adolescence and adulthood – in the middle of a troubling move from school to the big, bad world of real life – are another.
I have become a victim of my college’s student parenting system, with motherhood being forced upon me without my want.
I suppose, technically, I could withdraw from the system – but there’s an awful expectation that one is supposed to give up one’s time and energies to welcome this new life into the Cambridge bubble. It’s an expectation I don’t want to have to live up to.
It’s also an expectation I didn’t sign up to. When I got into Cambridge, there was no fine print telling me that it came with the responsibility of becoming a parent. I was expecting it to be one joyous reverie of fun and cava interlaced with periods of back-breaking work and essay crises. That’s manageable. Children? No.
I’ve nearly completed first year and know first hand just how much I can be incompetent. There’s no way I’m going to be able to sort out their problems and emotional traumas when I can’t work out my own life let alone be a maternal figure to a young, innocent fresher.
Students at Cambridge are forced into parenthood, many of whom are unprepared and simply not ready for the commitment. It is hard enough to work to your own hectic timetable and organise your own life.
I don’t want to be a mother who doesn’t have enough time for their child, fobs them off to babysitters or dumps them in front of the telly. Cambridge is replete with stories of the deadbeat college dad who vanishes inexplicably from the face of the earth – save for awkward encounters through the shelves of the college library or in Cindies.
I want to be a great college mum. I want to take my child to Lola’s, show him around Grantchester and spew profundities on how to survive exam term and get a good grades as they gaze up to me with credulous, adorable baby fresher eyes.
Alas, I am not up to the mark. I can’t make this commitment – being a good parent in such a challenging academic environment is too much for anyone, let alone a small lass from the Shires.
This isn’t to say there’s not an upside: practice for the real world, free family drinks from college, all the usual gossip about college incest.
How often can you say you’ve slept with your father or snogged your brother without getting done for incest, ending up in jail or being the subject of accusations of having some perverse Oedipus complex?
An upside and a downside.
But I’m wary of it. Don’t make me a parent before my time.