'I'd reconsider': David Bowie's son speaks out about 'exhausting' reality of parenting

"I'd reconsider," says dad Duncan Jones about being a father.
"I'd reconsider," says dad Duncan Jones about being a father. Photo: Instagram

Filmmaker Duncan Jones, son of the late David Bowie, has sparked a heated debate after sharing the "exhausting and frustrating" truth of parenting in a series of tweets.

"I have two kids, two-and-a-half and nine months," the 46-year-old wrote. "I'll tell you something I never see anyone admit ... they are exhausting, frustrating and life-destabilizing."

Adding that they are "rarely fun", Jones, who is married to actress Rodene Ronquillo, admitted, "sure smiles are great, hugs are lovely. But it's hard and not obviously a good choice in life."

In a further tweet, Jones added that while people feel compelled to say, " I wouldn't change it for the world," he doesn't necessarily feel the same way.

"Of course I'd reconsider," he said. "It's exhausting, it's banal."

Noting that "What it is, is that it is, and they are mine," Jones concluded: " Hopefully they turn out okay."

Many were quick to slam the father's words:

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Others, however, responded with compassion to a cleary exhausted dad who's deep in the trenches, noting that it does get better.

Jones, of course, isn't the first celebrity to speak up about the trials and tribulations of parenting. Where his comments differ, however, is in his honest remarks about parenthood regret - something that's been called "the last taboo."

And yet, it's a taboo that's slowly breaking.  Over the past few years mums and dads have taken to online forums and Facebook groups such as the community "I Regret Having Children", which currently boasts over 14,000 members, to share their own stories and seek support from like-minded strangers.

But while Jones' feelings may change as his children get older, research has shown that's not always the case - at least when it comes to mothers. Motherhood regret over the lifespan was a subject Israeli sociologist Orna Donath explored in research published in 2016. 

As part of her study, Donath interviewed 23 women aged from mid twenties to mid seventies – all of whom regretted their choice to have children. What she found was that while most of the mothers stressed that they love their children, they hate the "maternal experience". 

"It's complicated because I regret becoming a mother, but I don't regret them, who they are, their personality. I love these people," one interviewee said. 

But while Donath's research focused on mums, a 2018 study, published in the Journal of Family Issues analysed Reddit threats on the topic of parenting regret in mums and dads. The team identified two categories of regret. Most commonly, parents regretted circumstances associated with having children, rather than their kids per se. But the second category consisted of people who, like Jones, would reconsider. 

The researchers concluded: "Conversations in online forums like Reddit legitimise regret as a unique emotion of parenthood, which defy the social and emotional norms of motherhood and fatherhood roles."

While some people may not like what Jones has to say about parenting, it's clear he's not alone in his feelings. 

And for that reason, his comments are important.