DEMAND AN END TO POVERTY THIS GENERAL ELECTION
TAKE ACTION
TV

Two shows about parenting that will make anyone think twice about wanting kids

The dark side of parenting has become its own genre, and these two TV shows will make anyone think twice about having kids.

A baby in a laundry basket

The Baby: a funny, gory tale about an evil infant Photo: © Sky UK Limited

Bringing up children is relentless, tedious, and occasionally, briefly, joyful – like the joy someone under police interrogation might feel when their tormentor goes to the toilet. But when you (quite understandably) moan about your situation, you have to caveat it with “of course, I wouldn’t change it for the world” while secretly imagining changing it in favour of almost anything else: a trip to Goole in the back of a lorry, a new life in Bogotá, an hour browsing the pasta shapes in an out-of-town supermarket… anything. 

If you fail to add this positive spin, however, people tend to get defensive and step in with the dreaded: “Well, nobody told you to have children in the first place.”

This, of course, isn’t true, because if you are a woman, yes, they very much did, in every advert, magazine, TV show, film, subtle hint and sideways glance from your mum. Also, no matter who you are and how much you want to be a parent, you have no idea what it’s going to be like. You don’t know if you’re going to get a mini Raoul Moat bashing the crap out of his cot bars with a fist or a heaven-sent angel with the radiant eyes of baby Jesus (and sometimes you can get both, in the space of five minutes). 

And you don’t know what kind of parent you’ll be. Will you let it all slide and love the chaos? Or will you be measuring milk by the millilitre, obsessing about weight percentiles and having panic attacks about the structural integrity of a Baby Björn?

There’s no way you can understand all the other stuff, either, like the ludicrous amount of work that’s expected of you on a daily basis, how your confidence will regularly dissolve like off-brand Weetabix in milk, and how every meal you make for the next 15 years will have peas in it. But now I suppose nobody can say that they weren’t warned, because the dark side of parenthood has become a genre in itself – to the point where I feel we need a more positive spin on it. For example, no broken night or poo in the McDonald’s ball pool is as horrifying as The Baby, a funny, gory and disturbing allegorical tale of an evil baby who thuds dramatically into the life of a woman who doesn’t want to have kids. (In fact, it was so disturbing that I had to turn it off and put on my star projector night light that plays Beautiful Dreamer.

Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard
Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard are disillusioned parents in Breeders
Photo: © Sky UK Limited

And on more familiar territory, but no less biting, is Breeders, starring Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard as a couple who seem to hate their kids in a way that made me want to call social services. Martin’s character swears and flies into violent, foul-mouthed rages as his children do completely innocuous things, while his wife jokes about suffocating them with the duvet. Written by Simon Blackwell, who co-wrote The Thick Of It, it has some great lines: (“Who is happy when they have two kids under seven? I mean, happy like when you’re in Portugal and you’ve had two glasses of red wine and a tomato.”), but I couldn’t make it past two episodes. Despite the heavyweight cast, I hated all the characters and would gladly lock them all in sweaty soft play with no coffee shop, while yelling “nobody told you to have children in the first place!!” through the letterbox. 

Anyway, if you’re about to embark on parenthood, it might be an idea to steer clear of these two shows for the time being, and maybe massage your perineum with olive oil or childproof some plug sockets instead. Because, honestly? Sometimes it can be bad, but it’s really not that bad. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TSzUK_0ICI
The Baby and Breeders are both on Sky Atlantic and Now

Lucy Sweet is a freelance journalist

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.

To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Furiosa star Tom Burke: 'It stung when someone said I didn't have a face for TV'
Tom Burke.
Letter to my younger self

Furiosa star Tom Burke: 'It stung when someone said I didn't have a face for TV'

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'
Benedict Cumberbatch in Netflix series Eric with his monster pal
TV

Benedict Cumberbatch: 'History judges us on how we treat those who are most vulnerable'

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants
Anjana Vasan
TV

Anjana Vasan on We Are Lady Parts season two, Malala and why UK must open its doors to immigrants

Benedict Cumberbatch warns history is repeating itself as streethomelessness soars
Benedict Cumberbatch in Netflix series Eric with his monster pal
Film

Benedict Cumberbatch warns history is repeating itself as streethomelessness soars

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know