03 June 2014 by

I’m Nearly 27 And Childless: How Kirstie Allsopp’s Comments Made Me Feel Crap

I’m Nearly 27 And Childless: How Kirstie Allsopp’s Comments Made Me Feel Crap

Kirstie Allsopp would advise young women to ditch university and have babies instead [Getty]

In a recent interview Kirstie Allsopp told The Daily Telegraph that had she had a daughter she would have told her, “Darling, do you know what? Don’t go to university. Start work straight after school, stay at home, save up your deposit – I’ll help you, let’s get you into a flat. And then we can find you a nice boyfriend and you can have a baby by the time you’re 27.” It seemed like a throwaway comment, given because Kirstie wants to encourage women not to wait as long as she did to have kids (she had her two sons at 35 and 37) but for me, and many other young women my age, it was pretty damaging. 

For, with just six months to go until my 27th birthday, reading the article bought on an all too familiar panic. The same panic felt by many women of my generation that we’re never doing the right thing. If you focus on relationships and having fun you’re missing your opportunity to become the next Susan Wojciki (the female CEO of Youtube, just FYI); if you focus on your career there’s a high chance you may become a barren cat lady in later life.

Basically, you can’t win. It’s a dilemma facing my generation on a daily basis having grown up believing we could have everything only to realise that the economic situation in Britain (thanks recession) has made that pretty difficult.

I’m Nearly 27 And Childless: How Kirstie Allsopp’s Comments Made Me Feel Crap

Olivia felt panicked after reading Kirstie's comments [Instagram]

Having recently decided to go freelance and being single, ie, I haven’t found myself a ‘nice boyfriend’ yet, my focus is currently very much on my career and I’m fine with that. Or I was fine with that, until I read Kirstie’s comments and started to wonder if I’d made the right choice.  Should I actually be spending less time writing articles and more time searching the streets (or the internet, it’s 2014) for a potential partner?  Should I stop spending my money on Prosecco and start really focusing on getting myself a flat? Was that degree I did a complete waste of time? Most of all I couldn’t help but think, WHAT IF IT’S ALL TOO LATE? Many of my friends think the same.

See for me, Kirstie’s comments were as damaging as when Sheryl Sandberg told us all to “Lean In” because they put a huge amount of pressure on me, and other women, to do something. And it doesn’t matter if that something is being a CEO or being a mother: when someone tells you what you should be doing in life you can’t help but feel a burning sense of ‘achievement shaming’ if haven’t quite got there yet.

And what Kirstie doesn’t seem to realise is that just like getting to the top in your dream career, babies and getting on the property ladder don’t just happen by a certain age – unless you’re rich enough to buy your way there. In a world where women are constantly torn between career and family, family and career, maybe the focus should be a little more on supporting women whatever they choose to do, rather than defining one path for all?

PS. Kirstie, if you’re reading this, seeing as you don’t have a daughter, if you wanted to give me the money for her flat, I wouldn’t say no. You could think of it as an early 27th birthday present.


Comments

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Leila Kautto (Tue Jun 03 14:30:53 BST 2014): Yeah it's scary being 31 and no boyfriend and no babies. But was never the type to dream for white wedding or kids with someone who didn't sweep me off my feet. And they don't tend to do that, unless they're the type that you don't want in the first place ;-) I see women with kids and their cheating partners and not really interested in tying myself down to have to talk to one asshole for the rest of my life via kids. Of course, if the right one came about, different story. So far being pretty and having a flat stomach outweighs the boring reality to waking up to feed screamers. I'll leave that to the motherly type.
Helen Curtis (Tue Jun 03 14:44:00 BST 2014): I'm 37 I didn't get married or meet the one till three yrs ago I have a 1yr old I'm 38 in September... Dear lord Kirsty thank god my parents let me do what I wanted in my 20s!
Heather Louise Milner (Tue Jun 03 17:26:32 BST 2014): As a 27 year old I totally get where you are coming from but Kirsty is professing this opinion from experience. She would have done it differently - that's all she is saying. She is not shaming anyone or telling anyone how to live their life, but given her time again she would be things differently and we can't critise her for doing that - it is a valid stand point. We can do things which ever way we want and actually I think there is a gear change for women wanting to have families younger than Kirsty's generation did, who were all about striving ahead with their careers and they had to choose. We do have the option to have both a family and a career as men take on more responsibilty at home and the male/female home dynamic is evened out.
Mike Mockler (Tue Jun 03 20:45:43 BST 2014): Can't speak on this from the point of view of a woman, but you would tend to this advice like the sort this article was written against can only come from either exaggeration, or the point that you always want the things you CAN'T have. There is nothing wrong with being a young mother if that is what you wanted, there is nothing wrong in being childless for life if that is your choice. People in general need to realize their lives will be miserable if they live it for anything other than themselves and their own wants, as long as this doesn't impact other people's happiness. I ain't even a yank but "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" are words to live by.
Lucy Kenny (Tue Jun 03 20:55:35 BST 2014): I had my daughter very young, i was scorned for being a "teen mum" society told me i was too young and too silly to bring up a child responsibly. She is 14 now and I'm in my early 30s, I think to myself, what if i had another now? all i see on the net is that if your 30 your too old!! what!! you can never win. sod em. have your children when its right for you. Its nobody else's business.
Carl Richard Aylott (Tue Jun 03 21:03:52 BST 2014): Absolutely! Better still, have children at a time when Kirstie Allsop disapproves!! The more I hear of the pious judgemental bigoted little trout the more determined I am to do exactly the opposite of what she advises!!!
Lucy Kenny (Tue Jun 03 21:16:55 BST 2014): Carl Richard Aylott and why on earth would she advise her child not to go to university? what if her child doesn't want to put her efforts into the property market at age 18? just like her mum? how about she allows her kid to make its own choices? I kinda liked kirstie allsopp's twee vintagey thing she has, she's crafty and oldy worldy and i like that! but back in the day, people had their families young! and they typically had bigger families! so is she gonna pop out a tribe of brats now? no because for some reason thats not what society wants us to do now. ??
Harley-Rose Claydon (Tue Jun 03 22:16:22 BST 2014): It's her opinion through experience and obviously a slight regret. Freedom of speech. Less judgement on ourselves and each other please!
Pop Chic Boutique (Tue Jun 03 22:17:36 BST 2014): I'm a 39 year old baron cat lady . My friends all seemed to get this internal memo in there mid 20's to find a man get married all that jazz. I really didnt care about all that . I did feel a little out of the loop . When they were talking about there weddings and having babies. Though I'm blessed to have people in my life that don't care if I have cats or kids. My biggest fear is that I would be staring out the window doing dishes with kids and toe wondering " What if I had ? " Then feeling resentful for being tied down. Enjoy your 20's seriously enjoy them!! Don't listen to other people listen to your gut its always right xx All the best and stop freaking
Jamie McCarthy (Tue Jun 03 23:10:25 BST 2014): It's a very British thing to have an overbearing 'auntie' media to tell you what you should be doing at all stages of your life. You fucking 'milennials' they shout. You need to work harder like we sorta did! Jobs are easy! And why are you not married, you're 30, are you queer? :D Kirstie Allsop and Paul Dacre are first to the wall when I take power.
Cecilia Miles (Wed Jun 04 07:39:14 BST 2014): I'm approaching my 43rd birthday. I married my husband 8 years ago and sadly we can't have kids. It just didn't happen, Mr Right any earlier or children and I always thought it would. I get annoyed with Mums who just think having kids is so easy and you are defined as a woman by being a Mum
Vicky Martienssen Slater (Wed Jun 04 10:02:38 BST 2014): regardless of age, people rarely think theyre doing the right thing. dont let others opinions make you feel crap...or you will never be happy.
Emily Gerrish (Wed Jun 04 13:26:51 BST 2014): I am 35 and had four miscarriages, I met my partner when I was 30 and if I had known what was going to happen would I have done anything differently, NO! I don't think what Kirsty said was wrong, life is about choice and being in the right place at the right time. Children are precious at whatever age you have them. I will say I wish I had skipped University though!
Tanya Lait-huzzard (Wed Jun 04 20:47:12 BST 2014): It's her personal opinion, she's entitled. You make your own mind up. I had my daughter at 20, worked full time as a student nurse, we did then, got married at 26 and went to university at 38. Do what you thinks right for you. Listen to the people you know not some opinionated random. That's the issue, why are you listening ?
Tanya Fenwick (Thu Jun 05 21:46:45 BST 2014): Since when did women with an ounce of common sense starting listening to the horsesh** estate agents come out with, let alone celebrity estate agents? Shop around for the best value case of prosecco you can afford, invite all your twentysomething mates over and have a celebration of all the good and silly stuff that makes you happy! Kirsty Allsopp? Do me a favour!
Lucy McGee (Sat Jun 07 22:42:02 BST 2014): This is ridiculous! Is you are so concerned by comments that someone you have never met has made then what you are doing is not for you! If something is your dream never let go and if you let go easily from the words of a minor celeb, it's not what you really want!