The Usual Suspects… of the Mums Forum

Parenting is probably the most judgmental field around. The idea of being a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ mum, although frowned upon, is in every new parents mind, and whether we have one newborn baby, or seven kids aged 0-20, we all have our opinions. In person, we try and limit what we brag about, moan about, and definitely how much we judge other parents. Online however? No such qualms exist. The Internet is absolutely full of mums who just cant wait to have their say, as if there aren’t literally thousands of women reading what you’re writing and invariably mouthing expletives at their screen in frustration at your idiocy.

I give you, The Usual Suspects.

Mum who doesn’t know how good she has it
This mum is like nails on a chalkboard to most parents, new or otherwise. She has a really good baby, a really easy time of it, and yet insists she is doing terribly. Yes, it’s all relative, and we all have our hard days, but worries like “No matter what I do, my daughter wont sit in her bouncy chair for longer than 45 minutes” or “My baby is 9 days old and never sleeps for longer than four hours at a time” are going to get you slapped.
Ditto with parents who complain about how difficult taking their kids on long haul flights multiple times a year is. Oh, I’m so sorry you’re going on holiday… Again.

My unhelpful answer: I hope God sends you twins next time. 

Panicky Mum
Can I give my 1yo raisins? Can I put any sunscreen on my daughter? What kind of towels are best for my baby’s skin? Should I wake my twins up, they’ve been sleeping for four hours? Can I eat chocolate while I’m breastfeeding? My baby ate 4ox and normally eats 4.5oz, what should I do?

My unhelpful answer: Do whatever you want. it doesn’t matter. And take some Prozac. 

Negligent Mum
My son has had this rash for three days. It started like this… -shows photo- and this morning I woke up and it’s like this. -shows additional photo- Has anyone experienced anything like this before?

My unhelpful answer: YES. Doctors have. I guarantee they’ve seen lots of rashes. You might even say it’s their JOB. The next one of these I see is getting a visit from social services you awful awful parent. 

By the Book Mum
This mother is generally a first time mum, although not always, and has been fooled by books and faux friends into thinking her baby is able to be programmed according to a schedule laid out kindly for her in pre-read literature. She is puzzled as to why at the six week mark, her newborn didn’t immediately start sleeping through the night. Why at six months, her son doesn’t love pureed cauliflower and lentil mush, made exactly how it was outlined on page 28.  Why after exactly two hours of playtime, her baby doesn’t seem sleepy.

“My baby is 6 weeks old, and doesn’t seem to be able to sleep through the night. He generally sleeps 4 hours, and then 3 hours, and then anywhere from 3 hours to 6 hours. I’m so tired, and if I try not feeding him, he just screams! How can I routine him?”

My unhelpful answer: Babies cry. Newborns need feeding often. Routine is not a verb. 

Fake Bragger
Disguised as a question, but really a blatant showing off fest, they normally start like this. 
“Is it normal that my 2 month old is making loads of noises already? This morning I swear she said mama! What’s that about?”
“I’m just wondering if it’s okay that my 7 month old took his first steps today… like is it safe for his ankles as he’s soooo teeny?”
“Has anyone experienced a week old baby sleeping for eight hours? My baby has done it two nights in a row now, and is putting on weight really well, and the midwife said it’s fine, but do you think I should be concerned at all?”

My unhelpful answer:  Shut up. NO ONE CARES. 

Negative poster
This one might in fact be my Mother in law. To every question, and every response, she basically answers “That’s really dangerous.” Sounds easy at first, but it’s actually a challenge finding negative answers to some posts. 

  • Baby in his own room? Nope, death by neglect.
  • Baby in my room? No way, attachment issues.
  • Which formula? You should be breastfeeding.
  • Should I stop BF now? Yes, do you have separation issues?
  • Can my kid have crisps? No, she’ll become obese.
  • Should I give her carrots? No-she’ll choke. 
  • Experience with trampolines? Broken bones. 
  • Experience with bikes? Car accidents. 
  • Experience with cuddly toys? Suffocation.

My unhelpful answer: I’m surprised you were brave enough to turn on the computer. Especially Facebook, don’t you know, someone is hacking into your account and identity thieving you RIGHT NOW.

The Seller
Not interested in giving or receiving advice, this lady truly subscribes to the idiom of one woman’s rubbish is another’s treasure. Except it generally isn’t. “For sale, 24 bottles and teats.” “10 cloth nappies, nearly new.”  What?! How can you think anyone wants those? More annoying still, “for sale, various toddler toys, all need a good clean but in good condition.” So clean them! Surely that would make it a more desirable sale?

My general rule: If a charity shop wont take it, we probably don’t want to spend a tenner and drive to Frogmore for it either. 

Noticed any other Usual Suspects to add to my list?

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Daaaad? What does ‘Rewind’ mean?

Lately, I feel like I’m getting old.

Obviously not old, in the real sense of time. I have all my own teeth and hair, can still just about run for a bus, and can make spontaneous plans without having a nervous breakdown over the change in routine. But I am feeling slightly left behind. New technology is starting to confuse me, I find myself complaining about bands which truly are “just noise”, and I’m not ashamed to say that when I get an invite for an event past 9pm, my first emotion is fear that I may not be home by 11 to make my midnight sleep curfew.

So with this newfound ancient-ness, I am having a nostalgic look into my fleeting youth, and thinking about what R will never experience in the same way that I did.

1. Cars. Clearly he will experience some kind of car, but I really dont think it can be compared to my recollection of motor vehicles. Remember these?

  • Wondering whether you were really hot enough to make it worthwhile winding down the window? (a phrase our kids will douibtless never even say)
  • Debating the cost/benefit of opening the window on a motorway? (if you do, no one will be able to hear each other any more and you’l get bits of god-knows-what in your eyes, but if you dont, you may die of heatstroke)
  • Only being able to have music until you were out of the London area? [Ps-how rubbish is radio??] Then being subjected to someone’s ‘mixed tape’ that they assure you is amazing. It isn’t.

The mode of transport of today, with CD players, USB ports for iPods, windows which open at the press of a button, silent air conditoning, spacious seating, tinted windows and the like, are pretty much the equivalent of comparing the cars of my childhood with a horse and buggy.

2. Computers. Here are just a few of the computer-related things that he will never experience.

  • The sound of your computer actually dialling the internet.. How did we put up with that for so long?
  • When illegal downloading was a huge hassle and it was actually worth the money not to have to spend a week waiting for a movie to download.
  • Word Processors. Were they basically just a huge machine that only had Word on? This is actually the Amstrad that I had in my house. I was so cool.
  • When you were on the computer, you were at home, on the computer. In the computer room. Or at the computer desk. Certainly not in the garden. Or in Starbucks.
  • Watching movies on your computer? What-like on a CD ROM type thing? That’s incredible.

Other things my son will never know about.
– Blockbuster video (including videos in general)

– Walkmen and Discmen and the short lived Mini-disc players. (What an epic fail that was.) Remember having to choose what music you wanted to listen to that day first thing in the morning?

– Mobile phones with Aerials, and Keypads. I remember promising my mum, that if she bought me the Nokia 3210, I would never ever need another mobile phone in my life, because I simply couldnt imagine a more modern cell phone. Here it is.

– Setting the video to recorrd a show. Calling home to make sure your parents remembered to record a show. Being excited to watch the video, only to find out they’d missed the end or taped over it. Then having absolutely NO way to see it, no catch up, no I Player, no +1 channel.

– Terrible photos that cant be deleted. Going to get your film developed and looking through the photos. This one I’m kind of sad for him about, as it was just the most fun to see photos you’d pretty much forgotten taking, and to be excited over the ones that came out well. Digital photography definitely saves a lot of embarassment and money though.

I’m really okay about all of these things being gone, and I think for the most part he is better off for all the new technology of this generation. What scares me a bit is that he will have his own list of technology which no longer exists when he has his own children, things that we dont even know about yet. By then I may be one of those grandparents, that (with all the effort and good intentions in the world) cant turn predictive text off their phone, keeps emailing their entire address book simultaneously, and calls your new smartphone a “blueberry.”

In short, I may be like these two. http://youtu.be/FcN08Tg3PWw