In the game of parenting there are two sides – parents versus kids. In this situation it is vital that you keep your game face on and work as a team to overcome the relentless onslaught brought by the other side. The last you thing you need is to turn on each other – parents need to work together! In aid of that happy harmony which will enable you to march to victory, I present a few of the key things to avoid saying or doing to your co-parent, lest you wind up locked in the playpen with the toddler (at best).
- I’m sooooo tired today
Now, I’m an equal-opportunities exhaustion kinda gal, so I’m going to try and see this from both sides, but as a breastfeeding (ie- the only one who can do night feeds) mother, I am sorta more on their side generally. Just a little disclaimer.
So yeah, never say to a mother who went through labour – one of humankind’s most exhausting physical ordeals – has been single-handedly keeping a baby alive with the produce of her body (breastfeeding is literally draining) and spends all day getting screamed at and all night getting woken for food, cuddles, calpol administration etc that you are tired. You don’t know the meaning of it.
But working fathers and mothers, well, you have to look vaguely presentable, stay on your game, commute to and from work and hell! No naps for you despite the fact you could hear the wailing too
through your snoring. huh.! Nobody at baby group will judge a parent sitting in the corner rocking wearing three-day-old clothes and food in their hair. Nobody expects them to say anything intelligent. Unlike you…
I think we can probably agree that there are no winners here, so just don’t say it. Ever. Either of you. Although working mothers who also breastfeed… I think you might have the upper hand in the game of “I’m more tired than you”. Hats off Sista.
- Sing any kind of CBeebies theme tune, ‘Let it go’ or any other irritating kiddie ear worm
It’s not funny. It’s not clever. It’ll really piss off the other parent who spends all day muttering nonsensical lyrics to themselves in a perky american accent.
Or do what The Man and I do and turn it into a kind of ninja sneak attack, see if you can slip in just enough of a phrase to ordinary everyday conversation that you can’t be accused of doing it, but manage to plant an earworm anyway!
- “But you do [insert disgusting, time consuming, fiddly or otherwise unappealing chore here] so much better, that’s why I left it for you…”
This is not a compliment. This is you evading your duties. Pull your finger out you lazy so and so and do your bit. You’ll never get good at it if you don’t practice.
These final two, admittedly, are specifically from the parent who has not been stuck at home with the children to the parent who has. Say either of these to a stay at home parent and you won’t just get slapped, you’ll get eviscerated
4 – I just need some time to myself
Seriously? You get to commute by yourself. You get to pee by yourself. If you choose to skulk away from your desk you can probably even eat by yourself. How much more time do you need? Huh? huh? HUH?!
5 – What have you done all day?
Now, there are ways and ways of saying this. Asked in an enthusiastic, interested tone, mostly directed towards the three year old then this is just showing interest in your day. Fine. What you never ever ever ever never do is cast your eye around the house and exclaim it in a tone of disbelief. You think this is bad, buddy? You shoulda seen it without all the tidying up I did. Plus, Stay at home parent, not stay at home housekeeper.
I am so tempted to round this list up to 6, as my erstwhile husband has just told the three year old that I will watch a Thomas DVD with him knowing full well that modern Thomas cartoons are my absolute pet hate, but I’ve already made the artwork and can’t be bothered to do a new one for ‘6 things not to….’ so Man – be warned. I do not appreciate your sneaky tactics and I will get my own back.