Dad, are you still chasing after: “Kulfon”, “Tinned-off”, “Four Elephants” etc? How long does it take for a guy to stop obsessing over nursery rhymes? – That was the question that Maguzia, my eldest daughter, asked me. At six in the morning, after three in the morning, the eight-month-old twins wake up. Her daughters and grandchildren. His son-in-law was already standing by the bottles, the wife was changing one, and the daughter was changing the other. With one child, the whole world revolves around him, with two – the world revolves around them, only a few times faster and continuously, in particular. When a child gets sick. I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like with triplets, etc. By the way, I heartily greet the heroic parents of the six-year-old children of Krakow, who turned three this spring.
During our studies, we used to tell a cruel joke: “Quintuplets were born in the John Paul II Hospital in Krakow. A happy mother stays in the pens, and a happy father stays in the intensive care unit. Soon, in an era of widespread shortages of everything (including milk) Babies, automatic washing machines, washing powder, tetra diapers – Pampers were a novelty in Poland and cost half a salary per pack) and a thousand percent (yes!) Inflation, my gorgeous daughter – on the one hand, I discovered what an endless dose of parenting love could be, and on the other hand , how difficult it is to raise one child apart from the support of my parents (my wife and me).It was much easier with the youngest daughter – other times (this is the first generation to go to primary school in the EU!), Global Baby Products (literally), But most of all: an invaluable experience.
All the booming strollers and little singing
Those who wish to have children, and do not yet have children, can today read a few bloated libraries of more or less educated or empathetic guides. There are bestselling books, there are magazines, portals, blogs, photos, and millions of movies. There are albums of songs, and even entire channels with children’s music, on top of which is the band “Singing Young Children”. By the way, the highly contagious “Sweet Fox” has 192 million YouTube plays!
Store shelves are filled with the latest goods. My grandchildren’s wheelchair is a hundred times more technologically advanced than the first Toyota car. Special nipples, bottles, lotions, soups, appliances (for cooking, heating, sleep monitoring, pulse, breathing), nappies, clothes, washing and bathing liquids, millions of toys – all this makes parents’ lives easier. But even if you absorb the entire ocean of available parenting knowledge and buy all this wonderful stuff – you won’t get what’s essential to this parenting until you become a parent. This, of course, is a cliched phrase (sorry!) And everyone knows it, but every day in Poland and the world there are still a series of great discoveries: how beautiful and at the same time – difficult.
In 2008, in the European Union, also in Poland, and also in Krakow, women were asked how many children they would like to have. The average declared in our area was 2.33. It will be an amazing result – in order not to underestimate our population, we need 2.1. But the real coefficient was already less than 2 at the time and had fallen to 1.4 within a dozen or so years. Its area is 1.5 in Krakow, in the famous Nowosądeckie district, which until now is famous for its fertility. In the Polish fertility bastion – Limanowa – the rate has fallen below 1.7.
Demographers warn that with this fertility rate, at the end of the century, the population of Malopolska will be halved, and Tarno (indicator 1.1) – by 80 percent. In our cities there is already less than one grandson for every one grandfather or one grandmother, and in Tarnów there is half a grandson. 30 years ago, there were more than two grandchildren for every senior! Today, only immigration can save us from mass demographic collapse. One could say: the Ukrainian women with children in our care fell from heaven – despite the fact of the matter: from the hell unleashed by the Russians.
Benefits do not bear children
500 plus is the software you need. Who has children knows. But overall benefits do not solve the problem of fertility and paternity. No place in the world. The ideas of our government, based on always inaccurate diagnoses, created within the framework of ideological theses, simply did not materialize. But it is worth putting ice on the forehead hot also by hard-line leftists, who claim that everything should be done in the opposite way to PiS: such experiments also ended in fiasco in the world. The reproduction of the two sexes is not at all favorable for fertility. Equality in the labor market and in home duties – yes. There is so-called compelling evidence. Attempts to flip the Vistula back with a stick make the fish laugh, and they are happy with it again.
Instead of ideological prejudice, we need honest – contemporary – conversations about motherhood and fatherhood in Poland. The world has changed a lot. Some countries have noted this by adjusting their parenting assistance accordingly. Should we not be surprised that the same Polish women, who have a fertility rate of 1.4 in their homeland, raise fertility rates in many of the countries to which they immigrate, and have given birth to 2, 3 or even 4 children there? Isn’t it surprising that 50 percent of the Polish partners of these Polish women in Spain and 75 percent in Scandinavia take paternity leave, and in Poland for maternity leave (because there is nothing else!) choose only 1 percent?
The final end of the era of mishaps
We clearly have a systemic problem resulting from the complete misunderstanding – or willful disregard – by decision makers of what has really happened in Polish demographics – and habits – over the past few decades. Let’s take the simple data of the Central Statistical Office: In my generation, half of the children came from an unfortunate accident, 5 percent of teens and 20 percent of women aged 20-24 were pregnant. Today it is – respectively – 0.8 percent. and 4 per cent. The average number of Polish women having their first child has increased from approximately 20 to 29 years. Therefore, they are mostly people who are aware of their options. Bombings are becoming rare, and Planned Parenthood is prevalent. But it can’t just be a plan for a lonely couple. It must also be the state’s plan that supports it. Today it is not. I know this grandfather supports his children.
Finally, my own answer to both my adorable daughters, Małgosia and Wiktoria: Once you start, nursery rhymes accompany you for the rest of your life. This is an absolutely wonderful obsession.