I should start this with a disclaimer: all the parents I know are doing an outstanding job. It isn’t easy, and the below are signs I sometimes start to see in myself. If it wasn’t for the Voice of Reason (a.k.a. my husband) I am sure I would be exhibiting these on a daily basis. This is, primarily, my reason for writing – to remind myself to get a grip and to avoid an attack of O.P.D (Obsessive Parent Disorder)!
- Your Facebook profile picture is your child/children. Note to sub-conscious self: you are still your own person.
- At the end of a conversation the other person knows more about your child’s bowels/eating habits/sleeping patterns than they do about their own. This isn’t a good thing.
- When another child merely gets close to your offspring you immediately rush to their aid. Don’t. Sorry to say this but at some point they will get poked in the eye, or have a bogey put in their hair by someone else. This is how they learn that a lot of other people just are a bit rank. FACT.
- You care more about your child’s ‘experience’ than you have respect for somebody else’s property. Example: hooray, your toddler has learned to jump. But on my new sofa with their muddy shoes on? Fail.
- You cannot hold a conversation that doesn’t include any references to your child. I hate to be the one to break it to you but other people, particularly those who don’t have children, will never care as much about your little darling’s hilarious new ability to say ‘shut up’ than you do. Perhaps take their advice on this one.
- You complain in a restaurant because the children’s food comes out too hot. When you cook at home – surely it’s hot at some point in this process? Having plates of food stagnating around in a commercial kitchen to become the perfect lukewarm temperature just isn’t practical. The waiting staff have all got a job to do (to bring you your food) so perhaps you should do yours (to look after your kids and let it to cool before they stuff it in).
- You expect people in cars to revolve around you. Of course, there are exceptions to this one – idiots speeding down residential roads is clearly dangerous to everyone. But I draw the line at asking motorists to hold up the main flow of traffic because you chose to stop on a double yellow line to get little Precious out for a pee-pee.
- And, just because you have a ‘baby on board’ sign does not excuse sloppy cornering and pulling out when it’s not your right of way. I appreciate that little Jonny has only just drifted off in the back but a) I’d like to keep my wing mirrors please and b) post-natal breaking is still necessary!
- You let your kids break stuff and you don’t offer to pay for it. I probably wouldn’t take you up on your offer to replace my garage window after that football incident but it is always nice to offer. The same applies in supermarkets. Even if it’s Aldi. Surely if your children run riot and smash a shelf of wine you should just fork out the £6.99. It’s common courtesy.
- You let your child eat my food. Yes, I have a plate of delicious looking pudding but it’s MINE. I don’t usually share food with my own child, let alone somebody else’s. And don’t look at my plate like that, expectantly – I have licked a hotdog before, to mark my food territory, and I’m not afraid to do it again.
By Anna Trevelyan