Recently, for various reasons, the ‘Woe is me, none of my friends have children’ crisis mope has been heightened. It has got me thinking about some of the funny things that have been said to us over the past couple of years.
It’s not that I think people who don’t have children can’t understand what life is like for parents ( it’s not exactly that hard to imagine). And after fifteen months of Arlo most of our friends now completely ‘get’ our new routine as parents to a young child.
But there are certain questions and comments that have simultaneously managed make me laugh and also feel a little alienated.
And this has got to only be the tip of the iceberg of how teenage parents must feel.
I should start a #whennoneofyourfriendshavechildren hashtag.
Everyone I know said a variation on this theme. Good joke. Don’t give up your day jobs.
‘Why don’t you call the baby Batman/Vodka/Nintendo/insert ridiculous name here’.
Yep. I’ll put it on the list.
‘Oh my god, I can’t believe you have a child. What’s it like being a mum/dad?’
Sam and I both got this question A LOT in the early days, we started a competition of who could give the most ridiculously insincere answer. Not to be mean, it’s just a question that is impossible to answer, especially in a small talk kind of way.
Pretty much from the day he was born:
‘So, you can drink again now, right?’
‘We need to get you drunk ASAP!’
No, I can’t drink, I’m breastfeeding. No, I can’t get drunk, I have a baby waking numerous times per night for whom I need to be sensible and responsible.
(Wow, that even sounds boring to me).
When Arlo was a tiny baby, I had to explain A LOT that I couldn’t leave him to come out as he wouldn’t take a bottle. That, and I just plain didn’t want to leave him. This side of things is much better now. He takes a bottle easily, bed time goes fine without me around, and I like having an evening out now, I can’t wait to get away from him and pretend I don’t have a child.
(JOKE, Arlo. It’s a joke).
On the subject of babysitters and going out in the evening:
‘Yeah but at that age (1+) once they’re asleep they’re asleep for the night, aren’t they?’
I bloody wish.
PS, do you know ANY parents??
On the subject of Sam and I going out together:
‘It’s so rubbish that you can’t go out together anymore. It’s really important you know. ‘
It’s a shame we never get to see you two together now. Why don’t you pay a babysitter?’
When I forget something or don’t know what’s going on:
‘Aw, it’s because your a mum now.’
In fact, I think my nickname for a little bit was ‘mum friend’ before I shut that one down sharpish.
‘When do babies crawl? When do babies talk? When do babies walk?’
I have no clue.
‘When does breastfeeding end?’
‘How long do you have left of breastfeeding?’
Actually there is no definitive end point, you breastfeed for as long as you want
(if I had a pound for every time I have said this…)
Thing is, I completely understand the curiosity, I don’t really mind being asked all this stuff, I had no clue about this stuff before Arlo, and I would probably be asking exactly the same things if it weren’t me who was the first to have a baby.
But it IS me.