women

Jo Usmar locates her mothering instinct… in a coop in her garden

I have a confession: I don’t ‘get’ children. Now, before you send Mumsnet round to present their case with a flip chart of pics of adorable kids, hear me out. I like children I think they’re funny when they’re trying to walk or talk and end up just mumbling and falling over. I also think they’re cute when they’re so chubby they have no necks, and little rings around their ankles and wrists. But that’s about as far as it goes. As soon as they can walk and talk, I have absolutely no idea what I’m meant to do with them. You might as well stick me in a room with a bunch of quantum physicists. I’d feel the same: paranoid, embarrassed and totally convinced they all think I’m an idiot.

Description: I’d feel the same: paranoid, embarrassed and totally convinced they all think I’m an idiot.

I’d feel the same: paranoid, embarrassed and totally convinced they all think I’m an idiot.

I’ve managed to hide this terror successfully for many years. I always make sure I’m not alone with a child who might expect me to actually do something to entertain it. This has been made infinitely easier by the fact that my boyfriend Ben is amazing with kids. He knows exactly what they’ll find funny and what they might want to do. He’s never patronizing or too adult. He’d never suggest to a two-year-old that they sit in a corner and read a book on their own, as I did recently. (It was a picture book. I didn’t know they’d start eating it.)

People we know are starting to have kids and it’s becoming harder and harder to avoid that, ‘Would you look after Rosie/Jack for a minute?’ moment. The other day I was left alone with a four-year-old and Ben returned to the room to find us both just starting awkwardly at the ceiling in silence. ‘You hate kids, don’t you?’ he ventured. ‘No!’ I cried. ‘I like them. ‘We just… have nothing to say to each other.’

One day (in the far-distant future) I would actually like children, so I was starting to worry… And then we got chickens.

No, we don’t live on a farm and we’re not wife-swapping hippies. We live in a flat in north London and are lucky enough to have a little garden so we stuck chickens in it. It’s like The Good Life, just without other animals or dungarees. They live in a coop with colour-coordinated food and water bowls (I’m not ashamed of this) and they lay eggs every day. I’m obsessed with them. I actually enjoy cleaning them out and chasing them off fences. And I can turn any conversation around to the chickens: ‘You just redecorated your bedroom? I just changed the kind of straw I use in the chickens’ house.’ I’ve become one of those people who never stop talking about their off spring. I even show people photos. In fact, I’ve included one in this column. Aren’t they adorable?

Description: so I was starting to worry… And then we got chickens

so I was starting to worry… And then we got chickens

They’ve made me feel a little better. If I can talk to chickens, maybe one day I’ll know what to say to a child. At the moment, though, I don’t think, ‘Please stop pooing in your water bowl’ will cut it. Although depending on the kid, it might…

Top search
women
- 6 Ways To Have a Natural Miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Losing Weight In A Week With Honey
- Can You Eat Crab Meat During Pregnancy?
- Grape Is Pregnant Women’s Friend
- 4 Kinds Of Fruit That Can Increase Risk Of Miscarriage
Other
- Top 5 Delivery Diets
- The Fine Print : Drunken Noodles in Cashew-Shiitake Broth
- Sweet Tooth (Part 2) - Chocolate orange marquis, Red velvet, Mango cheesecake
- Sweet Tooth (Part 1) - Poppy lemon cake, Coffee chocolate mousse, White chocolate and mascarpone cake
- Life & Happiness : The Guide To Wine
- Convenient Cuisine (Part 3) - Sweet corn Pancake with Strawberry Sauce, Mixed Fruit Trifle with Raspberry Jelly
- Convenient Cuisine (Part 2) - Spicy Tuna Burgers with Lemon Mayonnaise, Chicken Fajitas with Baked Bean Spread and Sour Cream
- Convenient Cuisine (Part 1) - Aromatic Tomato Pilaf Rice, Javanese-Style Chicken Curry, Mediterranean Sardine Salad with Feta & Olives
- Summer Berry Genoise
- Simply Irresistible
 
women
Top keywords
women
Miscarriage Pregnant Pregnancy Pregnancy day by day Pregnancy week by week Losing Weight Stress Placenta Makeup Collection
Women
Top 5
women
- Cinnamon: A natural treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
- 5 Tips for Safe Exercise During Pregnancy
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 2)
- Four Natural Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Get Pregnant (part 1)
- Is Your Mental Health Causing You to Gain Weight (part 2) - Bipolar Disorder Associated with Weight Gain