by Kylie Krackenbacken
I had a conversation with a male colleague the other day and he asked about my tiny human. I responded something like: teething, illness, blah blah, hand foot and mouth, whingey, doing my head in, whatever, and he said: ‘THAT’S NOT VERY MATERNAL OF YOU!’
It took a minute to sink in – my tiny lady brain really had some difficulty taking in a male, childless colleague telling me what is outside the normal spectrum of motherly behaviour.
I had no idea that now I’m someone’s mum I have to show deep appreciation for every facet of parenting, even the shitty bits like my kid trying to push out a thousand teeth while having a chest infection combined with a fun trip to emergency because he doesn’t like to do things by halves!
It got me thinking about the incredibly nosy questions I’ve been asked about parenting and the uninvited comments I receive from randoms on the street ALL THE FREAKING TIME.
Many of the responses I’ve given have drawn shocked reactions from people – apparently they’re allowed to ask you incredibly personal questions but responding honestly or making a joke about motherhood or your kid is entirely unacceptable.
Here’s a few of my most recent special moments.
The colleague who asked me if I regretted having a kid
Yes, of course! Not the one I have – he’s adorable – but sure, I’d love to drink cocktails until I pass out and then have a lie in. This response earned me a shocked intake of breath and a horrified look.
Seriously, what a weird, redundant question. If you’re going to be outraged by the answer, why ask me the question?
The acquaintance who asked how my partner and I were coping with the ‘change of life?’
Great! We are thinking of breaking up so we can both have every second weekend off! (That was after an awkward pause as I wondered if she was asking if we were going through man and lady menopause.)
My friendly acquaintance didn’t seem to really understand my response. I’ll admit it was somewhat tasteless, but no one has ever accused me of being classy…
“Darling, it’s far too cold for him to have bare feet!”
This from an old lady in Arctic Melbourne conditions (it had been sunny when we left home 5 minutes before).
To which I replied he should stop taking his socks off then. The lady looked saddened by my dire lack of parenting skills. But really, he had already taken them off three times, so I figured he could have bare feet if he felt that strongly about it.
“He’s so beautiful!”
Hey, thanks random, I think so too. I really should have stopped there but I laughed and said that I had thought he was the most beautiful newborn alive but when I look back on the photos now he looked like a dropped pie.
I then got an outraged “How can you say that, all babies are beautiful!”
Sigh. Yes, of course all babies are beautiful but can’t we ever joke about them, the adorable little home wreckers?!
“Aren’t you a bit old to have had a baby? Did you have difficulty getting pregnant?”
Possibly I’m a bit past my prime, but it’s a bit too late to put the bun back in the oven now.
I told her my tiny human was a 2-shag baby, so no issues there. I got a ‘too much information’ face but seriously, I don’t know you, why is it OK for you to ask me about my ability to create new life out of an egg and some spaff?
“When are you having another one?”
Seriously, STOP asking this question, random strangers! One random lady I laughed at and said NEVER, the one I have is plenty! She told me that was incredibly selfish of me and asked how I could do that to him? I snorted and told her that she’s right, my one kid will have a terrible life with all of that love and attention he gets from us.
Lighten up folks: Whinging about kids is OKAY
People, whinging about your kid and parenting isn’t a capital offence. It’s really just like whinging about life before you had a kid but now you’ve got something else to whine about.
(I should say, my tiny boy human is naturally adorable and delightful but that’s not really my point.)
As for that male colleague who thought I wasn’t maternal, he got a lovely smack down from a female colleague: ‘Of course she’s maternal, this is just Kylie’s version of maternal, dickhead!’ (OK, possibly the dickhead bit was implied and not actually said, but it was definitely there!)
Anyway, the kid’s still alive, healthy and happy, so I’m calling that a parenting win!
Been called out by random strangers for whinging about this parenting life recently?