Our resident ranter Michelle Harris talks about the people who get on her parenting wick
I have never claimed to be zen. Well, ok, I have claimed it, but I was lying. You don’t get a column called Angry Bird by wafting about in a kaftan blathering on about peace and love, let’s be honest. Pre-kids, I got the red mist every now and again about unhelpful work colleagues, bad drivers, poor service, and, more embarrassingly, once, about the fact that Waitrose was out of my favourite Gu chocolate cheesecakes. Bar the odd expletive-ridden, over-emphatic, often-alcohol-fuelled monologue, I thought I was doing OK. It was endearing, really, I kidded myself. And then the small people came out of me. And suddenly I inhabited a much ragier world; a world with morons around every corner, where even simple tasks became a lot more difficult due to the actions of inconsiderate, rude, stupid people. God I hate people. Here’s why:
Get out of my space!
I refer of course to the great parent/child parking space debacle. I understand that legally such spaces do not have to be provided or enforced. I get that. But frankly, if you want to rock up childless in your flash un-crisp-littered motor and park in one of those spaces just because it’s closest to the supermarket entrance, then you are a tosspiece and I loathe you with a white-hot, fiery, passionate hatred usually only reserved for racists, sexists, traffic wardens and the naturally photogenic. I’d have no issue walking further to the door if it meant I had a chance of getting my children out of car and into store without contorting them and my own knackered body like some dodgy Britain’s Got Talent wannabe just for the sake of a tub of Aptamil, some organic veggies (Damn you Karmel!) and a bottle of Pinot. If you do not have kids, you don’t need the space. If your kids are not with you, you don’t need the space. If your kids are teenagers, you don’t need the space. And if you take the space, then we want to key your car and drop-kick your face. It’s simple. Do not effing park there.
I am with my kids a lot. Like, a lot. I know when they last ate, slept, and hell, dumped. So please, if one of them is crying when we’re out and about, do NOT say “Someone’s hungry/tired” with a wry smile like you are the parenting oracle I’ve been waiting for all my life. Sometimes, no one is tired. Sometimes, they just bloody well ate. And sometimes, they are crying because a) they got told no, b) they are a threenager with dramatic tendencies and I won’t buy my gazillionth piece of Frozen-related plastic tat and therefore the world is ending, or c) they are a small baby and that’s what babies do. Sorry if it offends your poor little eardrums. #sorrynotsorry We were all sad little babies once.
I don’t want to hate on other parents, but some of you deserve it, frankly. Kids get ill, I get that. I’m down with the casual snot-sharing. But if they have a fever, the pox, or the runs, keep them at your house, OK? Don’t sit them next to me and mine at Baby Bounce and act surprised when we all get vom-nami-ed. Don’t bring them to soft play because you cannot take your own company anymore and leave an oozing chicken-pox-pus stripe down the slide. Don’t bring your child on a play date when he’s knee-to-neck shitting so that you can bend my ear about childminder ‘ishoos’. Stay home. Be bored. Worry in your own home. A puke-problem shared is a puke-problem quadrupled, and we don’t dig that.
Boxing me in
Boxing me in
I am a human being, a wife, a mother, and many other things. But unless you plopped out screaming from my nether regions, call me ‘mummy’ at your peril. Women defining other women in terms of the word ‘mummy’, does my flipping head in. “Yummy Mummy” is the most twee, puke-making, condescending phrase I have had the misfortune to hear since ‘MILF’. It says: “Bravo on being sexy. Well done on wishing not to look like Liam Gallagher’s long lost mono-brow in a leisure-suit. We applaud you for still giving a damn and going out in public. Good-oh for not crawling into a ball and crying, all that foundation totally makes up for the fact that you are so busy being what you think other people want to see that you haven’t slept in a week but still religiously 30-day-shred in case your husband leaves you.” What if I’m just me? What if sometimes I am a tired dribble-ridden monstrosity but other times I put makeup on to check if I still can? And what if pretty is more than maybe it’s Maybelline? Yummy is a kiddie word for jelly, and sweeties, and fairy cakes. Not adult women who are sometimes too tired to think beyond the basics. Our babies think we are beautiful. Therefore we are. Job done.
Don’t call me: Baby
Cold callers do my nut in anyway but once you have kids these inarticulate losers take on a whole new level of annoyingness. It’s as though they know that the baby is finally sleeping and my arse is hovering above a comfy chair and I am milliseconds away from a quiet coffee, and think, now is the time to call about PPI, or that car accident I didn’t have that wasn’t my fault, thus waking the child and disturbing the quiet moment, with the by-product that the coffee goes undrunk as the wheels on the bus go round and round for the umpteenth time that morning. I hate them. They give me the rage. I did once get some small enjoyment from putting my eldest on the phone to sing the Peppa Pig theme tune, but it was short lived. Mostly I just want to reach in the phone and wallop them with a rolled up copy of the script they’re reading from.
Parenting is a blood-pressure-risingly angry lifestyle choice. It’s a dangerous cocktail of protective urges, hormones and sleep deprivation. We’re teetering on the edge of sanity, so be bloody nice to us. Let us park, leave your germs at home, think before you speak, give us a smile, don’t judge. We are very flipping tired, it’s tough work keeping small humans alive. We are only one nicked parent/child space away from a violent outburst. Consider that a warning.