Is having five children really a middle-class status symbol?

The birth of singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s fifth child has prompted media attention on a trend for larger families among famous parents. At this rate, the world may be populated exclusively by the offspring of celebrities

Name: The five kids club.

Age: Varied.

Appearance: Mixed-ability indoor football side.

What is it, some sort of after-school tutoring programme? No, it’s a club.

Where is it located? It doesn’t have a central location as such.

I see. What are the facilities like? How much is an annual membership? OK, it’s not an actual club – it’s more of a snide Daily Mail designation.

For what or whom? For celebrities who have five children.

Is this really a thing? If the headline “Ellis-Bextor joins the ‘5 kids club’” makes it a thing, then yes, it’s a thing.

You mean Sophie Ellis-Bextor? That’s right: the pop star has just given birth to her fifth boy, Mickey, prompting the paper to proclaim that “a large brood seems to be the latest middle-class status symbol”.

Status symbol? What happened to coconut oil? I could just about afford coconut oil. If you have to be able to afford it, you can’t ask.

How much does it cost to have five kids? About £150,000 a child according to some estimates, although there will obviously be economies of scale.

Who else is in the “five kids club”? Paul McCartney was a member before the club had a name. Jamie and Jools Oliver will only be members for a few months more, as they are expecting their sixth child. However, Gordon and Tana Ramsay will keep the numbers up: they have announced they have a fifth child on the way.

What about Angelina Jolie? Or the mum of all those Kardashians? With six children apiece, they’re both disqualified.

Does this mean it’s now socially acceptable to have five kids? It’s a very personal choice; most parents just stop when they realise they have got one too many.

But isn’t it bad for the environment or the economy, or something? Obviously, it would be tricky if everybody decided to have five children, but the overall birthrate in the UK is much lower.

I know, it’s 2.4 children. It’s lower than that these days: women who turned 45 in 2016 had, on average, 1.9 children.

At this rate, we’ll soon be an island populated exclusively by the offspring of celebrities. Some days, it can feel like that already.

Do say: “I would never belong to a club that would allow my children to be members.”

Don’t say: “I don’t have any kids myself, but I used to be in S Club Juniors. Can I still use the pool?”

The GuardianTramp

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