A naughty tabloid newspaper has linked two ideas of mine that were unrelated in the interview I gave.
The newspaper suggests that I regretted having given birth to my sons.
This is not true.
This is roughly what I said.
Today, if I were twenty, I would decide not to have children because I would not want the stressful and expensive life of today’s working mother. It can cost more to run a child than it costs to run a Rolls Royce. Childcare is not tax deductible as an expense of working, like a chauffeur or a secretary. But without childcare, a mother – and some fathers – cannot work.
I would not want to spend their evenings and weekends doing the system – support work that children involve. (Statistically, mothers do far more work in the home than fathers.)
I would not want to give up – for 18 years – holidays, evenings out, most new clothes, hairdos, personal interests and the satisfaction of their work and pay in order to care non-stop for someone they have not met… a baby.
I love my two sons passionately. I don’t regret the two children I had – but neither do I regret the other children that I didn’t have.
Shirley Conran, 2012