As a parent of babies and young kids, you get into all sorts of conversations. With curious ‘maybe considering it’ non-parents. Older people at the checkout. Complete, random (nosy) strangers. And often, you find yourself churning out the old cliches. Ever found that? Well. Here’s what us parents really mean.
1. ‘How are you getting on? Enjoying parenthood?’ ‘Oh yes. It’s really rewarding.’ TRANSLATION: it wasn’t rewarding at 3.00 AM this morning when I had the equivalent of Damien from The Omen STARING at me and possibly willing me to die. Nor was it that rewarding when absolutely no one wanted to go to bed and I just wanted to drown myself in a bottle of gin. Come to think of it, actually? A lot of the time? It pretty much sucks. But I’m guessing you don’t want me to share that particular gem with you.
2. ‘Do you think you’ll have any more?’ ‘Oh, I don’t know. Maybe. If we can.’ TRANSLATION: Are you mad? Have you seen what we’ve reproduced so far? In fact, you’re being sarcastic, aren’t you?
3. ‘Oh, she’s a character, isn’t she?’ ‘Yes, she’s really spirited, bless her.’ TRANSLATION: ‘Curse her’ more like. She doesn’t do a sodding thing she’s told. Ever. You know it. I know it. So let’s stop being polite and just lay our cards on the table. Then I can cry, you can take pity on me and offer to babysit for half an hour so I can go and have a lie down in aisle 4.
4. Or sometimes you get, ‘Isn’t he chilled? What a sweet little boy!’ ‘Oh, he has to be in our house with everything else that’s going on!’ [cue fake chuckle]. TRANSLATION: He’s just had half a bottle of calpol. I’ve had the other half.
5. ‘Who does she look like?’ ‘Well people say she looks like me, but I think she’s a bit of a mix really.’ TRANSLATION: I don’t care. I’ve had less than 25 hours sleep in two years. I no longer know what I look like. Next question.
6. ‘It goes so quickly, doesn’t it? Make the most of it.’ ‘Haha, yes, that’s what I’ve heard.’ TRANSLATION: Are you flipping kidding me? Most days I feel like someone has squeezed an additional 15 hours into the day. But don’t you worry, I’m making the most of every, joyful (painful) second.
7. ‘Wow, you’ve got your hands full.’ ‘Yes, I certainly have!’ [cue fake chuckle again]. TRANSLATION: I know I have too many kids. And I can’t cope with any of them. But thanks for pointing it out anyway.