Parenting; The Things Which Make My Skin Itch
And I don’t mean hand, foot and mouth disease; I’m on about the things people say, ‘advice’ and all the other often very crap stuff which gets lobbed your way when you become a parent.
- ‘This too shall pass’
If there’s one thing guaranteed to make me want to put my ears in a furnace, it’s this. The straight up, bullsh*t phrase I see wheeled out on Instagram every twenty seconds. Honestly, it grates. ‘This too shall pass’ seems to be the universe’s way of passively aggressively telling you to man the heck up and be safe in the knowledge it won’t go on forever. Sure, my toddler’s screaming for apple slices while in Boots while I can barely see through my head cold and everyone’s looking at me like I’m someone who brought an angry ferret to dinner, but it’s OK. Because I just need to remember in a week from now it won’t be happening. Thanks fairytale quote, I feel so much better.
- Child-free areas
The suggestion of this doesn’t make me get snarly, it’s the assumption parents don’t want it to happen. Er, we’d LOVE to know we could travel on public transport and not have everyone else think we’re arseholes. We’d LOVE it! Planes, trains and automobiles; you can shove my son and I away from non-breeders and I will in absolutely no way feel hard done by. It means I can endlessly call attention to mundane farm animals out the window, crank up the noisy toys and placate a kicking toddler with chocolate without anyone who doesn’t actually understand casting silent judgements in their own heads. We don’t want to inflict ourselves on you either.
- Pinterest Parents
Mainly just because I know if I attempted to make a cake in the shape if a lion it’d end up looking like Mick Hucknell had been caught up in a tsunami.
- TV Shaming
I watched loads of television growing up and I know how to change a lightbulb. Unless I’ve plonked Milo down in front of Scarface or pornography, I really don’t see why we have to be ashamed of letting our children watch programmes which are MADE FOR THEM. Teamed with crafts, trips, playing outdoors, reading and everything else mums cram in to the hours we’re awake, it’s absolutely fine! Come on, it means we get a bloody toilet break or a scroll through our emails. Peppa Pig’s my saviour and I’ll readily admit it.
- ‘Spirited child’
My son is very energetic, very inquisitive and is the sole reason for me getting any exercise because I spend all waking hours running after him. Apparently the phrase ‘spirited child’ was coined so parents could essentially stop writing ‘unruly’ children off as exactly that, and instead provide them with an encouraging accolade. I think it stinks. A child with zeal and moxie and a thirst for not sitting in the same spot is very, very ordinary and the need to lump them together in the ‘spirited’ camp makes no sense to me. Sometimes I wonder what a few parents expected before they had children; I presumed I’d be knackered and Milo has helped that live up to my expectations.
- ‘Looking like a mum’
I’ve covered this before in a previous blog post and it’s still something which bites. I visited Topshop recently and the girl behind the counter told me she liked the choker I was wearing. She said, and I quote, ‘my sister has it but she’s a mum so it looks a bit crap on her’. Of course, once a baby (and the world) crashes out of us, we take a while to get our identities back. Some take longer than others and for many of us, you emerge from your mum chrysalis ‘mrysalis’ perhaps, with an entirely new fashion sense. However, I refute the belief everyone gives birth and spends the rest of their lives wearing Bon Marche slacks. As mums, we don’t wander in to Selfridges only to combust in to a pile of pubes and breast milk. ‘Looking like a mum’ is such an old concept now, we can totally leave it at door. And finally, Topshop girl would do well to remember her sister made an actual human; she could stick chokers to her stretch marks and still look shit hot.
- ‘Date Night’
I’ve definitely used this term, so I technically annoy myself. I think I get more frustrated at the fact ‘woohooooo, date night!’ is pushed on everyone and leaves you feeling like you do after watching Joys Of Teenage Sex and wondering why 17 year olds are doing things to one another you wouldn’t even want to consider. We’re much less ‘date night’ and much more ‘why don’t you come over and share this sofa with me night’
- ‘That’s really bad for them’
My other half and I know all about nutrition; we’re a very healthy household. Does Milo have the odd treat? Yes actually, because otherwise I’d never have a bribe.
- ‘Making a rod for your own back’
I’ve covered this before too. I’ll shove a rod right up my arse if it means I get a break and those parents amongst us who can battle on through excessive screaming, tantrums and all the other horrid stuff without giving in are better than me. I doff my dry shampoo covered beanie to them. I find many a stranger will offer up that you’re ‘making a rod’ whereas I’d never deem it necessary to inform someone practising the Cry It Out Method that I think they’re cruel. I believe there’s lots of different ways to bring your child up and if you find a way which works for you, then that’s bloody marvellous.
- The Social Media Discussion
While I’m always mindful not to splash Milo’s naked torso on my Instagram account or compromise our privacy, I also can’t sit there thinking everyone and anyone on the internet is terrifying. I share my life over social media and hope including my son in that doesn’t mean I’m dreadful. Once he’s older we can have the chat about whether or not he’s comfortable with it but do I think he’ll be scarred knowing a snap of him licking broccoli is out there in cyberspace? No. If that’s the only way I’ve scarred him then I’ll take it; there’s photos of his father posing naked wearing a gold medal two inches away from his penis, I’m sure baby photos aren’t going to feature highly on his list of things to have removed from Google.
- ‘Why buy nice clothes for your child? They only ruin them’
I spend money on Milo’s clothes and that should be fine. I also very often buy Milo Tesco trainers and he lived in £3.99 H&M vests for the first 7 months of his life. Fashion isn’t always expensive, but sometimes it is. At least I’m not spending money on heroin because heroin can’t be passed down to siblings.
- ‘Packed a nappy?’
I say this gently because I know very often people are just trying to help but two years down the line, asking ‘got nappies/his coat/wipes?’ as I’m yanking the world’s heaviest changing bag down the garden path makes me wonder what they think of me. Nope, my changing bag’s just brimming with cardboard and guns guys, move it along.
- ‘Make Sure To Enjoy Every Second’
Again, I say this with kindness because I understand how quickly watching your child grow up grows and I agree with the sentiment. However, I really didn’t enjoy Milo not being able to breathe through a bunged up nose at 7 weeks old and repeatedly vomiting on our duvet cover on Christmas Day. I make no apologies for that. Don’t feel guilty about the fact you can’t enjoy everything about being a mum.
- ‘Just You Wait!’
People who like to warn you how much shitter the next impending stage is really make me quite cross. They’re probably the same folk who like to inform pregnant women ‘life will never be the same again!’ or given half the chance would tell orphans Father Christmas doesn’t exist. Each and every stage comes with rubbish bits, of course, but there are so many new wonderful experiences that I wonder why some individuals need to focus on the bad. No thank you stranger, I don’t need to know my child’s behaviour is insignificant to that of what’s in store; leave me to wallow in happiness and the fact I’m managing in the here and now please.
- Stay At Home/Working Mum Debate
If you stay at home, it’s tiring. If you go to work while someone else takes care of your child, it’s tiring. If you stay at home, you worry you’re not contributing. If you go to work, you worry you’re not being a ‘proper’ mum. This debate is so silly and it’s such a shame it’s still inflicted upon us. Some people choose to go to work, some have to and would rather not, some bloody enjoy it and rightly so, some relish being at home 24/7. That’s fine! That’s wicked sticks! Let’s all talk about more important things like how Dr Ranj has such impeccable eyebrows.
(They really are impeccable)