parents

"Babies have made my friends boring."

STOP.

By FRANCES FARADAY

OMG you had a baby!

That’s pretty sweet. You actually grew a human and pushed it out and now it’s a thing. Awesome job, well done you.

The thing is, I know it’s a big job. I know it’s life changing.

I know you’re tired from being elbow deep in vomit and poo and frustrated with a fussy eating regime.

I know you haven’t slept properly in a year until finally you tried controlled crying and it worked. I know you’re now enforcing a strict routine that is really working.

I know the patch of eczema on his neck is a worry but apart from that, he’s really relaxed. He’s actually smart. Mega smart. He knows colours already.

Know how I know?

You told me.

You told me at a party. I had glazed over. You didn’t notice.

So, I’m sorry to have to break it to you, but parenting has made you officially the most boring person in the world.

Is there something that happens in the child-rearing process whereby parents forget the skill of balanced conversation that spans across different topics? Where they don’t recognise a stiff smile or eyes that desperately shift across the room?

Your children have made you boring.

Parents: this is going to be hard to hear but you need to know it. Much like when someone has spinach in their teeth, I’m not being cruel by telling you, I just think on balance you’d rather know.

There are more things going on in the world than your baby.

So please. Can we find something else to talk about?

Yeah yeah, so I don’t have a baby. I don’t know what it’s like and I can’t tell you what to do or say and how dare I and I should just shut up my stupid face etc etc.

But here’s the thing that everyone is too scared to tell you. There are 255 babies born every minute. You may think yours is special, you may think your child is one-in-a-million. It’s not. It’s one in 7 billion.

Babies have been a thing since, you know, Adam and Eve. You were one. Your partner was one. Everyone in the room was one. Sure they’re special and great and magical and brilliant but when you talk to people as if yours was the first one to grace the earth they’re going to tune out.

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In mothers club? Go your hardest. You can talk about co-sleeping until you’re blue in the face. But if you’re out in a social setting and you want to try that conversation, hand me a blankie so I can powernap through it.

I’m not so much talking about parents with newborns. I mean, hats off. You’ve got a tiny pink human to take care of, you probably don’t really know what you’re doing, and the world can kind of stop for a bit while you get a handle on leaking boobs and how to negotiate a baby sling.

I’m talking more about parents that are a fair way into the parenting thing and have lost the ability to recognise when they’re being eye-wateringly, mind-numbingly, toenail pullingly boring.

Remember conversation? Remember the general rules? Where you ask a question, I ask a question, and we take it in turns to speak?

We do our part. We look at your baby, make the appropriate noises. We’ll ask a polite number of questions. It’s not an open invitation for a detailed breakdown on the factions in your mothers’ group or why Josh can’t play with Byron ‘cos his sister has nits.

No one is asking you for your views on politics, world affairs, or to have any massive insights on life. We’re just asking you, in a social setting, pull your head out of the Baby Bjorn and talk to us like you used to.

Here? Just talk to us like you used to.

One of my friends was determined not to be so baby-boring. So, despite the days melting into one, despite not showering and eating vegemite on toast for days, she would take the time every day to think about three things that weren’t baby related. Anything. Something she read, something she heard, something she liked. It kept her sane, gave her perspective and allowed her to still feel connected.

So come on parents. We know you’re doing an important job. We just don’t care about the details. Don’t let the most interesting thing at a party be the ingredients panel on the French Onion Dip.

With Christmas just ten weeks away consider this a public service announcement to all the people with babies, from all the people that don’t:

Please. Can we talk about something else.

‘Frances Faraday’ is a pseudonym for a writer/journalist who is known to us. She’d like to remain anonymous for this post… and you can probably understand why. 

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