Jodie Marsh: “I don’t want kids – I love my life and my fur babies are enough”

Jodie Marsh Has Her Say

by Jodie Marsh |
Published on

In her latest Jodie Marsh Has Her Say column for Closer Online, Jodie Marsh explains why, after years of wanting a family, she's finally decided she doesn't want children...

Most of my life I’ve wanted children; four in fact. I love the idea of having a big family and a house full of noise and laughter. I grew up around lots of cousins and with a wonderful mum and dad who are now my best friends. Family means everything to me and I spent years dreaming of that happy fairy tale ending.

Today though, as I write this, my feelings have changed. Before I met The Wally that I thought was my 'soul mate,' I was looking into sperm donation as an option for having a child of my own. I’d been celibate for five years and wasn’t getting any younger. Then I met 'The Wally' and I suddenly didn’t need a sperm donor. I also wasn’t in any rush to have a child as I wanted to enjoy life with 'The Wally' (oh how simple and naïve I was!). I remember once a friend saying to me, a mere few weeks after the wedding: “When are you having kids then?” and I replied, “Oh God, not yet, we’re not in a rush.” He said to me: “Urrgh, you’re going to be one of those selfish couples that never have them aren’t you.” I remember feeling gobsmacked at this remark. Surely, it’s MORE selfish to have a child when you’re not ready or you’re not even sure if you want one, I thought to myself. The same friend later went on to admit that he never really wanted kids but it was just the 'done thing' (he’s in his 60’s) and that you “had” to have them back then. How smug I felt.

Jodie Marsh
Jodie is very close to her parents, and always thought she'd have a family of her own (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

Anyway, as it stands today, I really don’t know if I want kids and if I’m totally honest, I’m swaying more towards NOT wanting them. I look around me and all I see are stressed out, frazzled mums who are knackered all the time and who no longer have an identity other than 'mum.' One friend of mine very bravely admitted on a status on Facebook recently that she was fed up of just being 'mum' and that she didn’t even know who she was anymore as all she did was live for her kids. Another friend of mine gave up her career and dreams of travelling when she got pregnant and hasn’t really left the house since, other than to take her sickly child to the doctors (he’s now nine!).

If you’ve ever watched any of my documentaries then you know that I have the knack of getting people to open up to me, and boy do they open up when I ask them: “What’s it REALLY like having kids?” as I try to work out if I do want one or not. I’ve heard everything from: “I wish I’d never had them,” to “I don’t have a life,” to “it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do,” to “DON’T DO IT, IT’S HELL.” It sounds like all my friends are just nasty people, but they’re really not. They’re, as I said before; stressed, knackered and frazzled. And they’re also HONEST. They’re telling me this because they know their secret is safe with me. They know I don’t judge them and they know I will listen to them. Going on what my friends say (bar one, but I’ll come to her in a minute), no one would EVER have kids – they’d run screaming for the hills at the sight of a penis without a condom (saying that, I’d run at that sight too even though I’m on the pill – you can take your STD ridden penis and keep it, hun).

Jodie Marsh
When Jodie got married, she thought she'd have children (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

The only friend I do have who has the PERFECT kids and the PERFECT life is like superwoman. She has a husband, three kids, twelve dogs and three cats. They run two businesses and are my actual heroes. The kids are a dream, her house is gorgeous and I have always said that she is who I aspire to be like (if I ever wanted kids or a husband again – I don’t).

Speaking of houses, I love mine. It’s beautiful. It’s 500 years old and immaculate. Even with six dogs and four cats, I manage to keep on top of the cleaning and I don’t allow clutter to accumulate. I am very house proud. My home is my sanctuary, an oasis of calm and beauty and contains all the things I love. I’ve worked hard for it. It’s the place I feel most relaxed and peaceful and more so, because it’s so clean and tidy and pretty. Apart from my superwoman mate, who’s house is also immaculate; all my friends who have kids have houses that look like they’ve been under attack from a very dirty group of animals having a food fight. Seriously, their houses are in need of a deep clean and/or Kim Woodburn going in with her rubber gloves and some sort of industrial strength bleach. I’ve never seen so much grime as what’s in a house with two or more kids! And I know it’s probably down to the fact that these mums don’t have time to clean but for me, I’m just not sure I could live like that.

Jodie Marsh
Would Jodie's kitchen really be so spick and span if she had children? (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

I’m obsessively clean and tidy – you have to be living with 10 animals. If I see even one cushion out of place, I can’t complete my next task without rearranging it. I’m not just Monica from Friends, I’m worse; I’m that annoying friend that watches you while you eat and is picking up crumbs from under you as you go. I remember once nearly having a heart attack when a friend brought his three old over and allowed her to mash a giant cookie into my sofa as she attempted to eat it. He didn’t even stop this carnage, he just carried on smiling at me and chatting as she ground the cookie into the plush grey fabric. I smiled back at him and he had no idea of the inner melt down I was having. Another time a friend brought her baby over and fed her on the floor of my 'posh' lounge, on the CREAM CARPET. After she’d been fed and her fingers were sticky and brown, my friend allowed her to crawl all over the cream carpet and then pull herself up onto my cream sofa, using, yep, you guessed it; her sticky brown fingers. I still have nightmares over it.

I realise I’m sounding like a clean-freak, but that’s because I am! I’m anal about my house being clean and looking lovely because it makes me feel happy. There’s nothing nicer than sitting back after a hard day at work and feeling like you love where you live. So you see, aside from any other element of having a child or two, I’m already stuck on the sticky brown fingers and food mashed into the floor.

Jodie Marsh
Dog poo is one thing, but changing nappies is quite another! (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

Then there’s the nappy thing. I happily pick up dog poo all day long and don’t bat an eyelid at it, and since putting all my dogs on a raw diet, their poo is rock hard and doesn’t even smell, but change a newborn nappy in front of me and I will be gagging and running out of the room. I know they say that when it’s your own baby you won’t care but I’m not so sure. The last time I got a glimpse of the green slime in a baby’s nappy, I wasn’t quick enough to cover my nose and I ran from the room retching. The smell stayed up my nose for about 2 hours (but maybe that’s just cos I’ve got a big nose). It is seriously vile! And it’s wet! And messy!

Speaking of the dogs (and cats), they’re fabulous! They don’t cling to my legs and scream “mum” every five minutes; they don’t throw tantrums and embarrass me in public. They don’t demand my attention all day every day but they DO give me more love than anything in my life and they DO make me laugh every single day. When I’m tired or fed up or stressed, which is very rare these days anyway, the dogs and cats are immediately on hand for a cuddle. I don’t have to pretend everything is ok and carry on trying to be the world’s best mum, or worse, show my true feelings and then feel guilty that I’m a bad mum allowing my misery to affect my kids. The animals just love me unconditionally. I give them a lovely life and they appreciate it. They can amuse themselves for hours on end (the dogs with footballs in the garden and the cats with toys and birds) and they are ALWAYS affectionate and cute. I don’t have the fear of them growing up and going out into the big bad world, or the fear of them driving one day or hanging around with undesirables. My dogs and cats are like babies who will never grow up but who don’t need their arse wiped and who don’t drain me mentally and financially. In fact, I can’t think of a single down side to having animals (other than they don’t live as long as you’d like). They’re nothing but great company, hilariously funny and soft and cuddly. They’re the dream!

Jodie Marsh
Being mum to her fur babies is enough for Jodie (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

Kids, on the other hand seem nothing but stress! I LOVE spending the day with my nieces and my friends’ kids, but I also love going home to peace and quiet and fur baby cuddles. While my nieces and friends’ kids are hilarious and a joy to be around, I do always feel tired at the end of a day with them and am happy to go and sit without speaking for a few hours. Plus, of course I’m only seeing the good bits. To me, these children are angels! I’m seeing them on their best behaviour and we’re having fun because I’m “Auntie Jodie” or “mummy’s friend Jodie” who they all love. I can spoil them and play with them and take them to cool places, which I love doing – once a month!

Because that’s the truth of it; I like having a life! I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. I eat out in nice restaurants at least three times a week and get dressed up. I go to concerts and shows and my latest obsession, the Panic Room. I can take weekend breaks to Norfolk, where I take all the dogs. I can eat what I want, when I want, without someone watching me or without worrying that I’m setting a bad example by eating hula hoops or cereal for dinner. I go to the gym when I want, I go shopping when I want, I visit friends when I want, I get my hair and nails done when I want. I literally love my life and all my mummy friends are jealous of my life; not in a bad way, just in the way that I can do all these lovely things when they very often can’t.

Jodie Marsh
Jodie loves being able to get dressed up and go out whenever (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

I’ve had friends say to me: “I wish I could go out to eat like you do all the time” – well, the reason they can’t is that they have three kids and it’s just not feasible, reasonable or affordable. But that is the life they chose. And so far I’ve chosen to not have kids and therefore I CAN go out all the time and enjoy myself. And whether it’s going to a Simply Red concert or a Michelin starred restaurant, I am wild with excitement at least three times a week for something I’ve got planned. I don’t know any mums who are jumping for joy that often. All I ever hear is how tired they are and how little Jimmy is ill again (conjunctivitis again and now he can’t even go to nursery – that blissful two hours a day that mum gets to do something for herself, gone in the blink of a gunky eye).

I realise this could come across as sounding quite selfish but I really don’t think it is. I think it’s sane and well thought out. I’m sure there are lots of amazing factors to being a mum and I’m sure that having a child IS the most incredible and best thing you can ever do. But I’m also sure that my life as I know it would be over and I don’t want that. The fact that all my friends are regularly telling me how jealous they are of me for NOT having kids speaks volumes. The fact that I’m the only person of my age that I know of who can go to the gym whenever I fancy and spend all day Sunday in bed if I fancy (I don’t do that but I could if I wanted to), and the fact that all my mum friends CRAVE that life and weep for it’s demise tells me that perhaps I DO have it right?! Also, what I know for 100% fact is that I don’t ever envy my mum friends, yet they DO envy me when they see what I’ve been getting up to. If I take a holiday to Barbados say, I lie on the beach, undisturbed, with a kindle all day and dine in fabulous restaurants of a night. If they take a holiday, no matter where they go, it’s all organised around it being child-friendly and unless there’s an on –site babysitter or they do a ‘McCann’ (leave their children alone), then they can’t sample the best of what the country has to offer anyway. It’s all-inclusive and all-intense! And with even more danger to worry about (swimming pools, the sea, strangers), they wouldn’t get a minute’s peace on what is supposed to be a break. Call it selfish, I call it prioritising! And I’m prioritising ME.

Jodie Marsh
Jodie looked into sperm donors and even made a documetary about it (Credit: Jodie Marsh/ Instagram) ©Jodie Marsh/ Instagram

Everyone tells me I’d be a great mum. They see how much love I give to my animals and how great I am with other people’s kids. And they’re right; I do feel like I’d be a good mum, a really good mum, and I do really love kids. But unless I’m suddenly horrendously broody then I’m happy just being a mum to my fur babies. If I did want a child any time soon then I’d have to go back to the drawing board and start looking at sperm banks again since it didn’t work out with The Wally and I kicked him out. And here’s the thing: mums tell you that being a mum is the hardest thing in the world, but SINGLE mums tell you women who still have a loving partner don’t even know they’re born! None of my single mum friends chose to be a single mum, yet I would be doing exactly that: I’d be choosing to do it alone! And what sort of lunatic does that, I ask you?! Although part of me relishes the idea of bringing up a child exactly as I want to, without the interference of not just 'The Wally' but 'Any Wally,' the saner part of me thinks: “blimey, what, have a thing that depends on me and me alone, 24 hours a day, without a break? And this thing can’t even learn to use a cat litter tray on it’s own? Oh no, not for me that!” Also, while I think all the kids I know are highly amusing in small doses, after four hours of singing the same song or watching Peppa Pig on repeat, I do start to lose interest and start to crave silence and/or adult conversation (one that’s not interrupted every 30 seconds, I mean).

And when I’m having a moment with a friend’s child and they’re being really funny and I say: “Oh your little Carla is so sweet,” it’s met with a withering stare or a roll of the eye and the comment. “Yes, in front of you she is, you want to have seen her this morning when she was throwing a tantrum about what she wanted to wear.” You see, most mums I know don’t even appreciate the cuteness in their own kids. I think it’s kind of like the Grandparent thing – you know, how grandparents end up loving their grandkids more than their own child because they get all the joy but none of the stress – well, that’s me, only I’m not a grandma, just an ageing glamour model with loads of best friends with kids.

When that man said to me: “You’re going to be one of those selfish couples that don’t have kids,” I think he really should have said, “You’re going to be one of those sane people who don’t have kids and can have an amazing life and really nails it.” Because let’s face it, us girls aren’t here for the sole purpose of just having children (at least not in my mind we’re not). And therefore if I don’t want kids then that’s not a bad thing, that’s me being in control of my life, knowing what I do and don’t want and taking active steps towards my dreams. And right now I’m dreaming of being on a beach in the Maldives with my kindle and a fresh coconut with a straw in it...

Do you feel pressured to have children even though you're not sure you want them? Do you feel your life is full without kids? Or do you think Jodie will be missing out if she doesn't become a mum? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter


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