No, Kirstie Allsopp, Girls Should Not Spurn University In Favour Of Babies

14/08/2014 17:02 | Updated 20 May 2015

Kirstie Allsopp

How wonderful it must be being uber privileged Kirstie Allsopp, with her aristocratic background, 'homemade' home, two bouncing boys (plus stepkids) and adoring partner. How fabulous that she is content, settled, and financially secure at 42. Even if she is, by her own assertion really too old be a mum to a five and seven-year-old – because Kirstie thinks girls should be forgetting about having an education and instead snaring a man and having babies before they are out of their twenties.

Yes, really. According to today's Telegraph this is the 'advice' Ms Allsopp says she would give her daughter (fortunately, she doesn't have one): "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."

Nothing like instilling a bit of inspiration into a girl is there? Or indeed putting women back a hundred years or so. Get you into a flat. Find you a nice boyfriend. What planet is this woman on? (Not to mention in which decade. Next this 'passionate feminist' will be extolling her imaginary daughter to greet her husband with a flower in her hair and a sit-down meal.) And what sensible girl would be the least bit interested in the 'nice boyfriend' handpicked by her own mother?

Kirstie, most of us can't go around foraging for the perfect home and knitting ourselves a relationship. Nor do we have parents in a position to 'get' us into a flat (because I assume by that you mean 'finance' it, rather than go harangue the housing association for one, don't you?).

And where does one find a 'nice boyfriend' precisely? Is there a stall at the country fair for those? Or can you run one up out of scrap fabric and a re-conditioned vintage Singer sewing machine?

Would she deliver the same message to those 'nice boys? Go out and sow your seeds, lads, before you're out of your 20s - and don't go worrying about any of that career nonsense! Or is this 'passionate feminist' spouting sexist rubbish?

I know 'nice boyfriends' were certainly not that prevalent when I was in my 20s - in fact, I recall most 'boys' were still living at home having their undies laundered by their mums and their only notion of babies was that they were screamy things you avoided on the bus. Not exactly life partner material.

And then there was me in my 20s - and dare I speak for many of the women of my acquaintance, too – and our desire to forge ahead in our careers but also have some fun in the first decade of our lives that we had the money and freedom to do so. Footloose and baby free.

Kirstie is of course voicing her opinions with the best of intent, claiming she does not want the 'next generation' of women to go through the 'heartache' that her generation has. She claims the 'natural order of things' has been changed by 'grandparents being much older' and everyone being 'squeezed in the middle', and reveals how some of her friends have endured the pain of being childless because they hadn't started reproducing early enough.

But how easy it is to speak from the pedestal of smugness, when your family is complete and secure, and you are happy with your lot. And how unfair, perhaps, this late in the day to judge others on what they have not got. I can't imagine any of Kirstie's friends who are suffering the aforementioned 'pain' are that chuffed to hear her views that they should have started making babies earlier

Apparently, rather than swanning around studying and cramming for exams and getting degrees and making their mark in their chosen professions, they should have been ironing Babygros and expressing milk 24/7. It seems to have passed Kirstie by that it's perfectly possible for women to go to university, have a career and have babies, in whatever order we want or don't want to.

One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't go to university. My parents couldn't afford to send me and they were of a generation and an upbringing which did not really see the point of girls getting an education.

But hey ho, by Kirstie's reckoning, I can resolve this by going when I'm '50'. But you know what? I have plans for that period of my life that don't match Kirstie's text book.

Because despite being 41 this year, and a single mum to an 11-year-old, I am actually still really hopeful that I'll meet a nice boy, get a nice house, and pop out a couple more babies.

As Kirstie says, not the 'natural order' of things, but simply a want based on the hand life has dealt me. Assuming that's OK with Kirstie and all those others who are already smugly and condescendingly living the dream, of course.

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