7 Things People Say To All Parents

Monday, 2 June 2014

By Alison Perry

1. "Enjoy every moment. They grow up so fast."

This is often said by an older person, whose kids have grown up and they're looking back on their life through rose-tinted spectacles. They have forgotten the tiredness, the frustration, the guilt. Of course, it's important to appreciate the lovely moments of being a parent but somehow, this phrase manages to niggle me - like it's telling me that my feelings of frustration aren't valid, somehow.

2. "When are you going to have another one?"

I cannot put into words how much this question angers me. I *know* people are just being nice/enquiring because they're interested/blah blah blah but it's SUCH a personal question. And there can be so many reasons why a couple haven't got another child - fertility problems, miscarriage, money. Me, personally, the reason I don't have a second child is because I suffered from PND when my daughter was young, and the thought of going through that again makes me feel physically sick. But it's a bit of a conversation killer to drop that one on someone who asks me, innit?

3. "Oh! Is your little one shy?"

No, I feel like saying. You just put your face in her face, she doesn't know you and that would freak anyone out at the best of times, let alone an 18-month-old.

4. "You're making a rod for your own back!"

This is usually said to a fairly new parent who is allowing their child to nap too much/too late/not enough/wearing fancy dress (not really) by a much 'wiser' person (aka someone with an older child who thinks they know better.) If you ask me, it's a really unsupportive thing to say to someone and on a par with 'Don't come running to me when...'

5. "Sleep when the baby's sleeping"

If I had a tenner for every time someone said this to me, when I was a new mum, I could've afforded some posh cashmere pyjamas to wear while I wasn't sleeping while the baby slept. To be fair, this is great advice, if you can manage it. Me? I was way too filled with anxiety to sleep when the baby slept. I was really good, however, at standing over her, checking she was still breathing and playing the 'Is she too hot? Is she too cold?' game.

6. "In my day, we...."

Whether it's someone telling you that they weaned their baby at four months old or breast fed until the baby was two or put the baby in a pram and sat the pram outside the back door all day (that last one is an actual real thing that mums used to do, by the way...) people love to tell parents how they used to do things. Sometimes this can be useful advice. Mostly it's just a great reminder how far we've come in parenting in the last 20 or 30 years.

7. "So, how are you enjoying being a mum/dad?"

There seems to be only one acceptable answer to this question: "Oh I'm loving it." Anything else - even if you're so tired you could weep into your soy latte - will leave them thinking you're a bad parent. But actually, if I do have another (when I stop feeling physically sick at the thought...) I think I'll be a whole lot more honest about it.

What else have you found people have said to you? Share!


  1. Arghh I'm definitely guilty of number 1! I blame my horrible teenagers because they make me yearn for those baby days all over again plus they make me realise just how quickly they go from being that sweet little bundle to that hideous hormonal monster in the blink of an eye! Ha!

  2. Great little list....now maybe we should think of one for the MOST USEFUL comments/suggestions we were given (some of those above are...but some aren't)

  3. oh i absolutely loved this post. i definitely ticked every one of these and was reverted back to moments people asked/ask these questions! nobody is ever helpful by asking any of these especially how are you finding being a mum?


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