Parents I hate

Posted on Nov 22, 2009 | 2 comments

Two days ago, I sat in a lovely cafe with a friend. We chatted over a shared plate of chips and salads. The meal was difficult enough for me since she had her baby the same week I did, and as the months tick by I see more obviously the developmental differences between the two girls. She is such a nice person and all she said were wonderful, encouraging things about my May; that, plus a plate of chips, made for a wonderful afternoon.

Then, the inevitable. The worst part about eating in lovely cafe in the middle of the day. The other mothers.

A Frenchwoman with her gorgeous blue-eyed child approached us. Her girl was about one-year old and tottered about the cafe holding on to her mother’s fingers. The girl was drawn to May’s buggy, where May lay sleeping. She peered over the edge of the buggy, pointed at May and squealed with delight.

“Sorry,” the woman said.

“It’s not a problem,” I said. I moved the buggy a bit so that her girl could see May better.

Then, the questions began. How old? What is your baby like? What does she do? In my head, I thanked May for being asleep so I didn’t have to watch this woman calculate silently what May should be doing now, but can’t.

“One-year? And, your baby is toddling all over the place,” my friend said with a complimentary smile to the Frenchwoman.

The woman rolled her eyes with the weariness only the mother of an over-achieving baby can muster. “Oh, it is terrible,” she said, “I never get a moment’s rest. She is always up and always walking. She never leaves me alone. It is awful. I’m always exhausted. I hate it.”

And, I hate parents like this. How can you take for granted the wondrous things your child does?

If May is able to walk and wants to do it all day long, it would be the greatest gift she could give me. If she is able, may I always be exhausted and always love it.

2 Comments

  1. Good Morning, Stacie!
    I have been a mother for over ten years now (I responded once before, the American living in Germany with two children) and I’ve learned that other mothers can and will be your best friends, your lifeline and your most loyal supporters or they will be your greatest enemies and the source of much anguish and anger. Nobody is their kid’s biggest cheerleader than their new mother!
    This ‘one-upmanship’ you experienced will not, unfortunately, stop. It will change and mutate as the kids get older and these parents go on to realize that no, their kids are not the over-achievers they think they are but are actually quite average and normal. At the beginning people are quite proud and smug and like to brag and feign mental and physical exhaustion (He’s just so advanced I don’t know how to challenge him anymore!!) (Her teacher thinks she should be in a gifted program!).
    All you can do is smile at them and say something like, ‘That’s wonderful’ and move on to the mothers you can relate to and identify with and like. Leave the braggarts to realize that as their kids get older, they will do things the parents don’t approve of, they will disappoint the parents, they will bring home average grades, they will fight with their friends, siblings and teachers. In sum, they will become regular people. Just like the rest of us.
    At the beginning everything looks rosy–that early talker, walker, eater, whatever will become a normal child who is difficult to control and will have his/her own mind like everyone else. Life is really long–these people so convinced of their child’s later success because of an early word or milestone have a lot to learn. There are no guarantees, ever.
    Leave them to it and enjoy your beautiful child. She will bring you lots of love, happiness and joy.

  2. That seems to be a standard response from certain types of parents about walking – because when their kids start walking they become something that needs to be looked out for rather than just fashion accessories they can lug around. For me, that moment when they get up and walk is the best. I’ve spent many, many hours following my kids at a safe distance as they slowly ambled along the pavements, relishing their independence and exploring every nook and cranny. Marvellous.

    And yes, our Maggie isn’t going to do that. But maybe she can get out there on wheels or a hover board or something and really make me sweat!

    But other parents. Let’s face it, most of them are a pain in the arse anyway. The best thing about them is their kids.

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