“Sometimes you have to do things you don’t feel like doing,” I say to my son at least once a day but apparantly I am steering him wrong. Because it seems in we live in a new feeling-led society where grinning and bearing has been marginalised into the outdated world of the right-wing religious maniac, and the goal of the modern person is to self-seek themselves into a state of eternal happiness. Big fat example was this week as a website was launched for stepmothers who don’t like their stepchildren. The bottom line is that these poor women are madly in love with daddy, but they just don’t love his offspring so it’s hard for them you know? Having to be nice to his children even though they don’t love them? Thousands if self-pitying women have already signed up to sympathize with each other over their hardship. They don’t like their men showing affection to their children, they are jealous of their shared experiences, hurt by mentions of the “ex” as mummy. The woman behind this initiative fell in love with a guy at work – who then left his wife and she has therefore inherited his two children on the ocassional weekend. The kids have been adjusting and haven’t been very nice to her in the process. Imagine! These kind of ‘love’ stories just make my blood boil. The people involved always think of themselves as centre stage in some great “follow your heart love story” but in fact they have got nothing to do with love at all – and everything to do with “feelings”. Here’s an idea lady - if you don’t like kids then don’t fall in love with a guy who has them! People fall in love with people they shouldn’t all the time, but some of us have the strength not to follow through on something just because we ‘feel’ like it.
I know great stepmothers who just get on with it. I don’t know if they really love their stepkids but they have the intelligence to say they do. Taking on someone else’s kids is a big deal and if you have a ditched wife to contend with too you should be so bloody busy trying to fix the damage you have done, that you won’t have TIME to think about how you are feeling. I have friends who don’t want kids – their own or anybody elses - because they say they are are too “selfish”. Great - that’s ok. What’s not okay is saying “I wish my step-kids had never been born, but that doesn’t make me a bad person”. Sorry ladies – yes it does. What’s appalling is this pseudo-psychology culture where expressing any kind of feeling is okay. This thinking-out-loud self-analysis that gives ultimate importance to personal emotions and minimises the needs of those around us. It’s all about being loved, about what we can get out of our relationships and how other people can make us feel fulfilled and happy all of the time. Because, of course we’re worth it. Are we though? What about the importance of giving love? The unconditional, grown-up process of loving that involves self-sacrifice and discipline. Like acting like you love a child, over and over and over again, until eventually – maybe after years and years, the feelings kick in. Because that’s the price you pay for falling in love with someone who already has children. Or at least, it should be.