Down & Out In A London Kitchen

Esther Walker started a food blog called Recipe Rifle in 2009 when desperate and unemployed. In 2010 she married restaurant critic Giles Coren and far, far too quickly had a baby daughter, called Kitty.

How many is enough?

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
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on Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Before I had children I assumed that I would have a lot. And when I say a lot I mean a minimum of three.

I have three sisters, I am the third of four (like a fax), and I have always thought that “small” families (i.e. with only two children) must be terribly lonely and sad.

It was bad enough when my eldest sister, Harriet, left school and therefore more or less left home, leaving me with only two other sisters with whom to bicker and slob about. The thought when she left there would be no-one else left with me until I went to University was awful. In fact, I remember clearly a girl at school being in floods of tears one October day because her elder brother Robin had left home for university leaving her alone at home with her “bloody parents”.

But when I consider the hassle, pain and inconvenience of having even one more child I feel quite demented and in need of a sit-down, let alone two more. Because the trouble with children is that there’s just no easy way.

I simply don’t believe Victoria Beckham’s claim that she has no maternity help with Harper Seven, her fourth child, as she claimed this week to explain away her looking a bit ragged around the edges. I don’t expect that VB lazes around all day eating chocolate while other people bring up her children, but even perfectly normal people on perfectly normal incomes have maternity nurses – why wouldn’t she? And yet, she does look a bit ragged. Is it possible that with all that money and – surely – a bit of help, (with the laundry at least), a new baby still knocks you flat every time?

I’m getting ahead of myself, I suppose. I ruined my late twenties with feelings of dread about “having” to have a baby. Now I’m ruining my early thirties with feelings of dread about “having” to have a third – when I haven’t even started on my second. Now I’m all worried about being too worried. Time for that sit-down.

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