Parenting, like much of life, would not be possible without a liberal dose of half-truths and insincere flattery. Nobody really wants to admit to all and sundry that they’re deranged from sleep deprivation, completely clueless, convinced their baby is the most beautiful creature to ever grace the face of the planet or certain that the snotty kid at soft play is going to end up in prison.
So, we lie. Lie and fib and gloss over the truth. To reassure those who’ve yet to have kids, to stop ourselves getting ostracized from those who have and to validate our own life choices.
‘The birth? It was… OK.’
You know the bit in Return Of The Jedi when the Emperor is zapping Luke Skywalker with agonizing evil finger lightening? It was like that, but for 14 hours.
‘She’s not usually like this – she’s just tired/hungry/wet/windy/cross.’
There are 30 minutes each day when she’s not tired/hungry/wet/windy/cross, and she’s really, really cute. You should see her! So cute.
‘… it’s all worth it though, isn’t it.’
It is, isn’t it? Please tell me it’s all worth it. Sometimes, at 4am, I surf the easyJet website and fantasise about a new life in Dalaman, and I’m not even sure where that is.
‘It’s probably just wind.’
He’s definitely smiling. My kid is a genius. A gorgeous, gorgeous genius.
‘She really likes you!’
I have no idea if she likes you, sorry, I don’t know why I said that. We’re not even sure if she likes us yet. I’m so tired. Did you bring Toblerone?
‘That’s a great suggestion! We’ll try it.’
Yeah… I’m not doing that.
‘He didn’t really like music group.’
I really didn’t like sitting on the floor.
‘I don’t think she got much out of soft play.’
Oh my god, what fresh hell is soft play, anyway?
The toys were sad and greasy, a kid with livid green ectoplasm cascading out of both nostrils wiped its face on my baby then pushed her over and I somehow spent £15. I think I’m going to be sick – just as soon as I’ve burned everything we were wearing.
‘He’s not usually like this – he’s just tired/struggling to articulate/wanting to do more than he can. Toddlers!’
Wow… he’s just… wow. I have no idea what to do with this kid. Is it safe for him to go that red? Could you help me? Please? Because I genuinely think he might be possessed and I’m scared to take him home.
‘Ha ha! Don’t worry! They all do it. Kids will be kids!’
Your child is obviously going to be a serial killer.
‘Parenting is hard work, but it’s so rewarding.’
I’d totally have a live-in nanny if I could afford it.
‘I suppose I do miss work sometimes.’
I haven’t had a Pret chocolate and hazelnut croissant for TWO YEARS.
‘It’s tough being back at work, but it’s nice getting back to being me again.’
Except now, instead of going out for team drinks, I race home for pick up, sling the baby in the bath, cook dinner, fall asleep on the sofa, then get up at 6am to do it all over again. Yay!
‘You must give me the recipe for that organic butternut squash and spinach frittata’
My child’s had fish fingers for tea twice this week and it’s Tuesday.
‘Gosh, he’s walking/talking/potty training already? That’s impressive!’
Sh*t, is my child supposed to be doing that? I really should read one of those parenting books I ordered at 4am after looking up cheap flights to Dalaman.
‘Sorry about all the baby posts on Facebook.’
No I’m not!
‘We felt that it was important to move closer to family so the children could have that connection with their grandparents.’
…who genuinely don’t seem to mind babysitting for free. Score!
‘We really must see more of you guys.’
But only if you’re willing to trek out the ‘burbs and sit in our house watching a small person trying to stuff your mobile into a shape sorter, because our last expedition into town involved ear-splitting screaming, missed naps, a poo explosion and entire Piccolo Margherita being flung halfway across Pizza Express.
‘Centre Parcs is a terrific family holiday!’
I want to go to Barbados.
‘It’s just such a faff getting away on holiday with kids.’
Oh god, we are SO broke. I want to go to Barbados. I’d even go to Centre Parcs. I hear it’s a terrific family holiday.