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.

Here are some of my favourites….Before Arlo was born:’I’ll be a really good babysitter….And I won’t even get drunk/get the baby drunk/spike the baby’s bottle’.

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.

(Apparently, because I have had one child, I have turned into a baby developmental expert).’How long do you have to breastfeed for?’

‘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.

And I can’t wait until I’m not alone in this.(Although Sam and I often joke that when our friends are in the midst of their baby days, we will be swigging bottles of wine and laughing, our children old enough to put themselves to bed and sleep properly).I say joke, we are counting down the days.

10 comments

  1. I know the feeling, and if it weren’t for things like twitter and forums/etc I’d have found my maternity leave (and evenings where Karl is too busy snoozing to talk to me) incredibly isolating. I often think those who talk about “the village raising the child” or whatever the saying is … they have a point. I need me a village!

    (And just to be my usual pedantic self – you can drink while you’re breastfeeding, but not co-sleeping. 🙂 Don’t miss out on that glass of wine or 3 just because you’re “still” feeding!)

    1. Don’t worry, I would have cracked up completely if I was still sticking to a ‘one glass of wine’ rule! I tend not to worry so much about my alcohol consumption these days. Now the issue is more that I lhave a lot less patience when dealing with Arlo during the night if I’ve had a few drinks, so I find it’s usually not worth going overboard with drinking on a night out.

      Twitter has been fantastic for exactly that reason.

  2. I am sort of on round two of raising kids… mine were all getting big and I am starting over adopting 4 little ones. (Long story short, CPS placed them with me as I was the only family member crazy enough to WANT all four of them AT THE SAME TIME!) I notice more and more that I hear “when can you get away without the kids?” Well, to be honest, if you’re waiting for me to get rid of the kids, call me in 15 years…. LOL

  3. You recently wrote a post about When your friends catch up with having children. Please can you do a follow up on this post and tell all the stories about asking them the same types of inane questions!

    1. Haha, you know what, I think I have done OK at remembering to not ask silly questions. But I think I do probably bore people to death with my anecdotal tales about my experiences.

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