The horror of your children: a letter to a friend

Dear X

Apologies for the tone of this letter but, as a middle-aged woman who is absolutely delighted to be child-free, I think I’m entitled to a rant every now and again.

I’d just like to let you know that if I say I don’t like children, then please have the grace to accept that statement without belittling it, or me. I have good reasons. Don’t tell me I’ll change or I’m weird or it would have been different if I had ever had my own. I accept you having a family (and talking about it endlessly too even though I do find it a very dull subject) and don’t ask you to change – so why should you do it to me?

In addition, if you invite me for a day out so we can catch up with each other, don’t also invite your family to join us, especially if said family are bringing children, without telling me that this is what you are doing and giving me a chance to reschedule.

I really don’t like being startled by the unexpected appearance of your brood and actually think it’s quite rude of you to do this. When you come to visit me, I don’t invite my neighbours round to join in without telling you, do I? Have some courtesy and think it through first please.

Otherwise, the inevitable will happen, and (a) I will be made to feel most uncomfortable, and (b) one of the arriving children will say something incredibly rude and hurtful to me about the way I look (you know perfectly well the problems I have with my skin and how cruel children can be), which you for some reason do not defend, and the child will curiously go unpunished. It’s no wonder then that I dislike children so much – who, to be honest, could blame me?

Which in the end means that I have to leave quickly so I can have a cry without you seeing or knowing, and the day – which had up until that time been very pleasant indeed – is now irredeemably spoilt.

If you value our friendship at all, please keep your children either away from me or under control. Also, an apology would be nice, but I won’t wait up.

Thank you.