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Life continues. It was very good to whinge about being an… - Sally's Journal
May 31st, 2005
11:17 pm

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From:the_alchemist
Date:June 1st, 2005 10:19 am (UTC)
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I think that raising a child could be intellectually stimulating. I think it would be fascinating to observe something grow from a group of cells, to a screaming, smelly baby to a human being. I'm really interested in the way things like language and intellect develop, and I can understand why people might get a lot of satisfaction from watching it (and helping to facilitate it) up close. And of course there are non-intellectual kinds of stimulation too.

And in most subjects, at least, much of the actual work towards a Ph.D. is extremely tedious and repetitive - at least with a baby you're doing lots of different things. I can quite see why some people would find dealing with other peoples' excrement several times a day would be preferable to spending eight hours a day for six months reading lists of names or whatever.

I guess that for me the difference is that a Ph.D. only lasts for three years, and you can give it up at any time, whereas with parenthood you're committed for 18 years or longer and there's no practical way out. I suspect I'm also affected by the fact that doctoral students are respected so much more than full-time mothers, though I'm not particularly proud of that.

I definitely agree with your 'also' though. It pisses me off immensely that people use 'I did it for the children' as an excuse for all kinds of things, when what they actually mean is 'I did it so that little Johnnie could go to a private school, and continue his clarinet lessons, and so that his so-called friends wouldn't laugh at him for wearing last season's trainers or travelling by bus instead of car.' It's so much better to teach your child to be able to educate himself, deal with being laughed at and find real friends who aren't mean to him.
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From:atreic
Date:June 1st, 2005 10:26 am (UTC)
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An aside, but inspired by little Johnnys clarinet lessons, one of the things I found myself thinking when trying to work out if I could raise a child on 17 pounds a week was that I wouldn't be able to afford an instrument or to send the child for music lessons. And there's some bit of my brain that thinks being able to read music is a valuable social skill - ok, not up there with reading and maths, but definitely on a level with swimming. But schools still do free swimming lessons, but not free music lessons any more. No, that's wrong, they got rid of one-to-one music lessons. Well, maybe they are a privaledge. I'm not sure any child ever learns to read without some one-to-one time spent trying to teach them though. Odd too, I would expect to be able to sit down with my child and teach it to read, and yet don't expect most people to be able to sit down with their children and teach them music. Maybe the conclusion from that is that the state should provide one to one reading lessons for quite small children?

Hmm, that was a bit of a stream of consciousness, sorry.
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From:libellum
Date:June 1st, 2005 10:54 am (UTC)
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we bought a clattery old upright piano for £45 in 1983 and my father taught me to read music and play it at the same time as he was teaching me to read and write. I had piano lessons for three years with a retired old lady from church who gave them for £3/hr. Admittedly that wasn't on £17/week, but there *are* options.
From:feanelwa
Date:June 1st, 2005 11:49 am (UTC)
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Music is so not on a level with swimming. Being able to swim can save your life; being able to play music will never save your life unless you suddenly find yourself living in La Boh&egrae;me or you're a member of Tenacious D.
From:feanelwa
Date:June 1st, 2005 11:50 am (UTC)
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Oh, damn my typo. It's obvious what I meant to happen there though.
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From:robert_jones
Date:June 1st, 2005 05:58 pm (UTC)
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Yes, but it's not very likely that swimming will save your life, and music will improve the quality of your life. There is, after all, more to life than staying alive.
From:feanelwa
Date:June 1st, 2005 06:48 pm (UTC)
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I think swimming is great fun. Life would be rubbish if I couldn't mess about in boats every so often.
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From:robert_jones
Date:June 1st, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
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It's been too long since I messed about in boats (punts not counting!). *sigh*
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