Posted: April 12, 2016 in Uncategorized
So I was speaking to a GM of a large hotel chain about his new post out in a remote area. Polite conversation brings us to the fact that he and his wife have decided not to have children. He immediately and almost apologetically begins to justify their decision to me. This got me thinking, as I always tend to do.

Isn’t it funny how our social programming dictates how we should live our lives?

Grow up, get a job, get married, have children and you will live happily ever after. I can hear all of the working, married parents laughing their a$$e$ off. I honestly think that I have an argument against each and every one of those well-meaning “pearls of wisdom”.
Growing up – is the last thing you should ever do. Getting older, as they say, is mandatory but growing up is flippen suicide. Can you think of anything worse than being in a meeting with a bunch of “grown-ups”?
Staying and thinking “young” should be your mantra. You are as old as the woman you feel that’s why I married my child bride who is eight years my junior. She’s allowed to eat at the big table now and she can stay up until 10:30! Don’t be childish but rather be childlike, for as long as you can. Play, have fun and never stop being naughty.
Getting a job – may pay the bills but working for yourself should be the only advice we give to our children.

Get married – now at this point I would like to say that I love my wife dearly and wouldn’t have it any other way – however, when Paul McCartney divorced Heather Mills the settlement was a staggering R731 000 000. Sir Paul could have had a high-class hooker on every day that he was married and still saved 75% of what he paid out. He also would never have heard any of these words: “No, headache, I don’t feel like it, not now, I don’t feel well, I’m too fat, I don’t feel connected, you’re ugly, you smell, it’s too late, it’s too early, I’ve just done my hair and make-up, but we just did it two months ago”. He would always be a hunk, a great lover and never have to cuddle for a half an hour afterwards. Just saying!

Have a few children – Again at this point I would like to state that I love my children more than anything in the world, literally, and I would not change having them for anything. However, if I knew then what I know now, I most definitely would have thought about going in another direction. Children are blessings, they really are, and they teach you more about yourself than you will ever teach them, but there are certain things they don’t put in the brochure.

Firstly, finding out that she is pregnant is a shock to the system and fear and doubt sets in. Then there are the scans and the doctors’ visits, constantly worrying whether everything is going to be safe. To explain the fear and helplessness of being at the birth would be futile. Let’s face it; it’s not really your gig, it’s all about mom and the doctors and you’re just there to pay the bills, be abused, threatened and blamed because you – and only you – are the cause of all of her pain and that if you ever come near her again, she will do physical harm to sensitive parts of your body. You take the abuse and stand around looking a bit lost, much like a constitutional court ruling in South Africa. 

The miracle of life happens and you are emotionally overwhelmed. So now it’s off home to live happily ever after.
Not so fast!!

Baby has yellow jaundice and needs to stay in a “tanning bed” with teeny glasses on for another 2 or 3 days. The bills and the stress send your blood pressure through the roof and now it’s home time. So you get all the traffic reports and leave the hospital on the quietest back roads with baby fully strapped into her new car seat with bubble wrap with mom sitting alongside in the back seat, just in case.

Following the scariest and most nerve wracking drive of your life, you get your little bundle of joy home (actually all they do at this point are the three c’s – cry, consume and cr4p) and it’s only now that you realize you are alone with this little human and you’re fully responsible for keeping it alive. And this is just the beginning, because unless you have kids of your own, I cannot explain what you are about to experience!kids3

Sleepless nights, colic, colds & flu, falls (they “accidentally” roll off beds – I took my eyes off her for a second), trips to the chemist at midnight, trips to the doctor, nappy rash, changing nappies full of a green and brown gunk (I kid you not its actually green), teething, sleeping in relays, eating in relays, being a referee between mom and mother-in-law, and then they turn one.

Once they start walking (which you foolishly encouraged) your life is never the same. You have to baby proof your entire house, moving everything above waist height, blocking all plugs, barricading the staircase, fencing in the pool and chasing after them everywhere as you begin to do everything in shifts. There are “friends’” baby parties every weekend where you are blackmailed into attending, and you purchase gifts for children you don’t even know in the hope that when it is your turn they will reciprocate.

Then there’s finding preschools and enrolling in preschools; finding a primary school and pre-booking (and paying for) said school. It’s now a life of fundraisers and teachers meetings; socializing with people you don’t know and in most cases wouldn’t want to know; know-it-all dads and some hot moms. You have to become a code breaker with deciphering paintings and noodle artwork stuck on the fridge, and doing the dad wheelbarrow race. Then just when you thought your bank doesn’t care about you, your bank manager constantly calls and emails because he’s tired of funding the consequences of your carnal experiments.

You would imagine at this point any sane person would say, “one is enough, we are closing the factory!” But who said anything about being sane? Let’s have another and still another and all of the above triplicates. That’s right – multiply all of this by 3.

kiddsApart from all the medical scares, dental bills, orthodontic appointments, schools, clothing, parties and gifts for other kids, you also have to become a deceitful liar. You have to perpetuate the expensive and time consuming urban legends that are Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. You spend hours watching Barney and the Teletubbies, and then try to explain to your daughter why you have a “tail” when she sees you in the shower.

Now don’t get me started on schools! But, if you are lucky enough to get your children into a good school you will find and finally meet “the mafia”. Institutions owned mostly by churches (the let’s indoctrinate them while they’re young theory) and run by people who have never really left school. They do however know that they are the only decent game in town, and because decent schooling is a high priority, a scarce commodity, they charge what they want and dictate policies and procedures that suit only them. So you spend your days boxing, arguing, writing emails, paying bills and occasionally rather biting your tongue.

You have to coach your kids through disappointment, hurt, anger, and loss of friendships, breakups, and hormones that are ever-changing, ever-growing and ever challenging. It’s about holidays, clothes, gadgets, fetching and carrying, and freezing your plumbs off next to a soccer field at 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Functions, parties, plays and recitals, and also staying up for late-night collections. You basically become an Uber without the money at the end of the trip. If you love your children it’s about worry, fear and arguing, about being a referee between mom and teenage daughters, or mom and the teenage boy.

Its subject choices, worrying about their future, doing homework, paying for extra lessons and after school activities. It’s a battle of wills – knowing when to let it go and when to reel it in. It’s being the bad guy when they are naughty, the fun guy when they are sad and always being the brave super dad when they all run into the house screaming “snake, snake” as if I’m frikken Bear Grylls all of the sudden.

Then there’s the first date, the matric dance, prelims and finals, driving lessons and then off to varsity.
You do all of this out of love and the expectation that one-day they will look into your eyes and say, “I love you dad!”

But you only have them (if you’re lucky) until about 15 or 16 and then they don’t want to be around you, or know you, because they have their own lives to live. And if you have done it right, you would have raised strong, independent, productive, caring people who want nothing to do with you because they have their own lives to live. They want to grow up, get a job, get married and have a few kids.

I am not saying don’t have children. On the contrary, if you are blessed and can have them, have them. But go in it with your eyes wide open and know that having children is not about you and it is not about what you will get or achieve. Having children is a selfless, giving endeavor. It’s a life sentence. If you do it well you may get parole after 21 or 22 years. If you fail as a parent they will still be bumming money off you at 45 and living above the garage.

Research has shown that people who do not have children are on average happier than people who have them. Oh and they are richer as well! I believe having children is a calling and not for the faint of heart. Having children should require a license and at least 2 years of study and a 2-year apprenticeship at an orphanage.

Do you realize that children are the most misunderstood, commodities mass-produced by unskilled and unthinking labour? It is a massive responsibility and a roller coaster ride you cannot explain. In the end you will only remember the good things and maybe if you are very, very lucky you will live old enough to see your grandchildren meet out your revenge.


  1. Spot on as always, Gavin. I’ve ended up at a spiritual retreat for 6 months. You should see some of the eye rolling and judgement I get because that is not what a 52 year old is supposed to do. Kids. Love them, but they bring you down to earth with a bump. Having a “young” viewpoint is essential – there are already too many grownups messing things up. Thanks again for the article. Keep em coming.


  2. Helen Harley says:

    wow!! brilliant – thank you! Loved this,


  3. Henk Keuris says:

    Hi Gav, The day you realise your parents were right, your kids tell you you are wrong!!!!.


  4. Awie Schutte says:

    Interesting letter as always. Just perhaps some added insight (I hope):

    So I know about this couple who never had children and are stinking rich. They had a very happy life together, but now they are at an old age. No one is looking them up on a frequent basis (as family ordinarily would/should do), in fact they have a nursery and have asked those younger people who are looking them up and who do have kids, to rather not bring the kids to the nursery with them when visiting, as it seems to remind them of their “lost opportunity”. So what is worse: Struggling through life with your kids, through all it’s laughter, pain and sometimes disappointments; or is it better to get old and not having had children at all? In the last instance – as with this couple – you could end up with loneliness and potentially regret, as there is not a next generation of family to continue “keeping you young”. I guess it is a matter of choice in the end, but each scenario have it’s risks hey! Can’t wait for your letter when you are “old” .

    Best to you

    Awie Schutte


  5. Nubia Wymers says:

    Brilliant reading. I am one of the women who has decided not have children in this lifetime for various reasons. I enjoy my life very much. However, I take my hat off to all parents who have been through all the different stages described in your mail. I agree that it is certainly not a journey for the faint at heart!


  6. Daniel Stapelberg says:

    So True.

    Kids!! Kids!! What a Joy.


  7. Hannelie O'Brien says:

    Mmmmmm and you didn’t get ( all of that ) with the first baby???? And then you had another???? Mmmmmm


    Hannelie O’Brien


  8. Elize says:

    Wow what I great story. I am one of the lucky ones who do not have a child and I dont know what I am missing. If I am supposed to miss it?


  9. Ishara says:

    Wow this is so true….it is a risky choice either way- having kids or not. they sure are a blessing with a price of course….


  10. Beverley-Ann Fink says:

    Just loved your article ,couldn’t have said it better myself but at the end of the day couldn’t imagine life without my 2 who have long left the nest but never cease to amaze me in how often they want to come home to recharge their batteries. My husbands signature song is “18 till I die” I totally agree with him


  11. Michelle Jansen van Vuuren says:

    My baby is 10 months old now and I have been staring at your post for 10 mins …. wondering …. and should be freaking out any second now. Hahahaha

    But good job! Still the biggest blessing ever!


  12. martin says:

    Well written Gav…i always enjoy your emails


  13. Leslie says:

    Many thanks Gavin……so loved the document below. Thank you for putting a smile on my face, as always.



  14. Franko Pessenbacher says:

    Tks Gavin, for the time and effort put in your newsletter and sharing it with me!!


  15. Priscilla Greyling says:

    Hi Gavin

    Thanks. I love this…. ‘you have got to be kidding me’… put’s things in perspective. Am SO going to send this to my children (22 and 20)



  16. Terence Williams says:

    Brilliant Gavin



  17. Nadine says:

    Hi Gavin

    Thank you, you really made my day, this is super funny and so very true! 🙂 Wish you could bring out a daily article!



  18. Karen King says:

    Frikken Awesome Gavin!


  19. Janis McManus says:

    I laughed myself silly at this month’s newsletter.

    I have four sons.

    Kind regards


  20. Nomfundiso Booi says:

    I definitely shared this one with my 25 and 22 year old off springs….. cannot wait to hear their responses.

    Humorous responses is what I aim for (no wide-eyed realizations) they are at the age of anticipating OR prolonging having them kids LOL

    Thanks Gav 


  21. Andre Groves says:

    Dear Gavin

    Great read man. At least I got married at 41 years of age, I built small reserves for the future, but soon realised that it is not enough.
    I love my kids too.




  22. Louise says:

    I absolutely loved this article – thank you.


  23. Mike B says:

    Hi Gav, your article made me laugh, cry and break out into sweat again as i relived those emotional years (I’m 55 now). It is amazing what lengths we go to as parents for our kids. We also go above and beyond the sanity to protect them.
    In their Teen years I had a basic rule leading up to the midnight (sometimes 4 am collections!!!): “Txt me every hour (on the hour) so I know you are still safe”.
    Illogical to a teen but it gave me a sense of security. First time I tested it was the worst (introducing new rules always is a pain).
    Funny thing is, when 1 & 1/2 hours went by after 12; I donned my Navy Blue Polo Greek Police shirt (the one with Greek writing on the back and Yellow embroidered “POLICE” on the breast; I picked it up at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens – another story) and stalked my deviant daughter through all the night-clubs.
    I became very good at looking Bouncers in the eye and menacingly stating, “My daughter is inside, I have come to fetch her!!!”; Many “Gaan maar deur Oom”‘s later I found her at an Aqua Foam Party. She didn’t want to get her cell wet and had left it in a friends’ car (another no-no rule broken – Notify me when you go to a different venue; also when you arrive there).

    I know it sounds extreme, but one cannot be too careful in the times we live in. I even took up karaoke and found pubs within 4 minutes drive from her festivities (I am on speed-dial in her phone). This paid off as in spite of her practicing “safety rules” like having a Buddy-buddy system, only accepting drinks that are closed, don’t leave your drink unattended, etc; she still fell foul twice to doping and activated the “Please fetch me” msg; I got to her within 4 minutes (well before the stuff took full effect).

    Where did this paranoia come from? Probably in the early years of her older brother,who before his 4th Birthday survived 3 attempted kidnappings for his blonde hair, baby blues and an engaging smile:
    1. Muti-murders in Natal, early 90’s; as a baby, a Zulu Lady tried to sneak him out of the supermarket while my wife was looking at magazines but saw out of the corner of her eye, the pram disappearing around the corner of the aisle nearest to the exit; the sprint and confrontation ended up with the lady escaping out of the shop minus my son. Later found out a Sangoma was offering R10k for a young white male child; This was verified when a friend went through a similar attempt on his 1 year old son a week later but his Maid (Au Pair/Char/etc) fought the 2 zulu guys off with the aid of her tea companions who came out of his house when they heard her scream. The guys had demanded her to hand over the boy or get hurt. The bevy of Maids screamed blue murder and hit them with anything they could pick up and throw until the guys ran away.
    2. Arabs at an airport in Cyprus tried to kidnap my boy but realized they weren’t dealing with a foreigner (my wife is Cypriot and confronted them in Greek) so they also took off running. In those days Cyprus had the reputation of being the center of a white sex slave trade for the middle-east but they did not touch locals.
    3. A pedophile trying to walk my son out of the Library where my wife had put him down in the reading section for the 3-4 year-old. He also took off running when confronted.

    I never had to worry about him once he became a Teen and those parties ensued (I still did the pick-up an drop-off routines but no worries). Boys are so much more easier to handle than girls.

    Today my daughter is a mother (and so the cycle of life continues.. as a grandfather).

    Moral of the story, Don’t mess with the kids of a Greek Mama…or her mengelmoes husband.


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