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to get annoyed with my friend for failing to understand there is a difference between having a child and babysitting/working with children?

(105 Posts)
BauerTime Fri 22-Aug-14 12:09:26

I'm getting increasingly frustrated with my dear friend, who is lovely and selfless and doesn't have a bad bone in her body, but seems to think that she knows all about the complexity of raising a child and the way it changes your life and capabilities, because she has nieces and nephews who she minds now and again, and works in a school. I have no doubt that she is fully capable of looking after kids, she is in fact a complete natural with them. She works with children with SEN and other disabilities and is also great at her job.

However, what is really grating on me is that she comments on others parenting, gives unsolicited advice on how to raise a child, has a complete lack of empathy for the things that come with parenting such as lower household standards/different priorities etc. I have been trying to gently point out when she goes off on one, that its not always as simple or clear cut as she thinks it is but she just refuses to see it.

This past year she has been studying, plus had a long term house guest who is messy and inconsiderate, it all got a bit on top of her and considered getting a cleaner as she never had enough hours in the day. She got v stressed at one point. I suggested that it was good practice for when she has kids in a jokey way but she completely shot me down saying that having a child would be much easier as she would have full control, would have a routine/plan, would do xyz in a day etc. She cannot see that having a small child over night, only doing fun things, having a bag fully packed of everything you need and managing to get through it and drop them back home 24 hours later is not what its like to live it every day.

I know that you have no idea if the full on-ness of having a small child until you have one but surely you can see that its not the same as a sleepover or a day at work, leaving it all behind at 5pm??????

3stripesandout Fri 22-Aug-14 12:12:08

Mwahahahaha, don't worry she'll learn.

ExDh and his girlfriend (a teacher) love to give me advice about how I could raise/organise the DC better. I cannot wait until they have a child hmm

gamerchick Fri 22-Aug-14 12:12:22

You just can't tell somebody how it is when you have kids.. They never believe you grin

3stripesandout Fri 22-Aug-14 12:14:43

An example was DH in expectantly turning up wanting DDs swimsuit. She had chucked it somewhere and it took about 10 minutes to find it (under the bed).

DH and girlfriend very perplexed at how I could possibly lose a swimming costume and that I just needed to be more organised. I have 3DC, DD is 9 and should know where her costume is!!

ArsenicyOldFace Fri 22-Aug-14 12:16:02

YANBU smile

dancestomyowntune Fri 22-Aug-14 12:16:34

when i was a baby my parents were always being told to ask a cousin.for advice because she was a qualified nanny and the sun shone out of her backside... her two dds (slightly younger than myself) had all manner of behavioural problems and issues! my dad was not impressed! grin

people dont like to think they are wrong. she'll learn!

Iconfuseus Fri 22-Aug-14 12:16:37

YANBU but as she is a good friend I would keep your thoughts to yourself.

When DS was little I bought a few child care books. Somehow nearly every one I bought started with the words, 'Although I'm not a parent I've worked in childcare/have a degree in child development etc etc etc so I know all about it'.

If they weren't on my Kindle I'd have lobbed them across the room

MrsPnut Fri 22-Aug-14 12:18:13

Did you not know, the only perfect parents are those that haven't had children yet?
They are full of "I won't let my child eat anything other than organic home milled spelt" before and yet the reality is shoving chocolate buttons into your child in order to have an extra 5 minutes peace. grin

WooWooOwl Fri 22-Aug-14 12:19:42

There are of course things that your friend will never know until she has her own children, but to be fair, not everyone's standards of household cleanliness slip when they have children.

I know quite a few people who still had immaculate houses when they had small children,sometimes with the help of cleaners and sometimes not, but it's not inevitable that a persons house will become messier when they have children.

You might have a point about other things she says though.

WorraLiberty Fri 22-Aug-14 12:20:53

It's a pointless argument so you may as well nod and smile grin

I knew someone like this and despite everyone thinking "Ha! She'll learn when the baby comes along", she actually didn't because the baby (now 22yrs old!) seemed to slot perfectly into her life and routine.

That just made her smugger than a smug person living in smugsville.

SaucyJack Fri 22-Aug-14 12:21:34

Haha! I used to work with kids with severe disabilities, and I'm sure I thought exactly the same at the time. Then I had three of my own.....

If she can't fit in housework around looking after children when she gets to send the kids home to their parents at 3pm, fucks only knows how she thinks she's going to do it all when she has children with her all day, every day. But you won't be able to persuade her otherwise. Just sit back and wait to laugh smugly offer her a shoulder to cry on.

BauerTime Fri 22-Aug-14 12:29:25

I think the thing that has wound me up most is that the house guest was apparently harder work than a baby. Yes i understand her gripes, but she didn't have to feed, clean, clothe, put to bed, ferry around the houseguest. She may have had to pick up her things and shove in her room before she got on with her housework, and done a little bit more washing up, but the stress caused by the guest wanting to bake a cake immediately after her cleaning the kitchen was so bad that i just wanted her to understand that all cleaning is rendered pointless when there is a child around but you still have to do it, every bloody day, and multiple times per day.

I know that some babies seem to just slot in, but i dont think that is completely true.

WorraLiberty Fri 22-Aug-14 12:33:50

What do you mean you don't think it's completely true?

I've got 3 kids and honestly, if I'd only had my middle child, I would be of the impression that all babies just slot in really easily.

And as a PP said, not everyone struggles with the extra cleaning/housework.

I get why she's annoying you, but I think it would be healthier for you both if you just dropped the topic whenever you're together.

It's a pretty pointless argument.

shareacokewithnoone Fri 22-Aug-14 12:34:15

I can sort of see both sides on this.

My parents died young and I was young too - I've been left sole carer to a brother with quite complex needs, I work in two jobs, I have very little support.

Yet mums always have it harder.

I know it's not a competition but it sometimes winds me up too.

It can also get very lonely being left out of every chat about babies or toddlers and young children because "you wouldn't understand".

Thurlow Fri 22-Aug-14 12:37:05


I'm sure it prepares you for some aspects. And of course everyone struggles with different bits of parenthood - some people don't have an issue with housework, some people don't have an issue with deprived sleep. But overall... nope. Nothing prepares you for having a baby. I imagine not even having previous babies prepares you for another baby.

BauerTime Fri 22-Aug-14 12:44:59

worra i dont mean that i think anyone is lying if they say that a baby doesn't make their life ^harder^, but it must always change it. You have more to do and when they are young it is a relentless cycle of food/bottles/nappies/bedtime routines and it does mean that if you are used to say, doing all of your housework on a Saturday morning between 9 and 12 that you have to accommodate more work and maybe different patterns etc

strawberryangel Fri 22-Aug-14 12:50:56

I agree with worra- my first baby was text book, and damn was I smug!

Then 2 more came along <sob> and I don't think I've brushed my hair since!

WorraLiberty Fri 22-Aug-14 12:51:04

Yes I know what you mean, but your friend says she'd have a routine/plan for that.

Now as we all know, with many babies routines/plans go straight out the window grin

But with some babies it doesn't necessarily, although of course there will be more laundry etc.

That's why this is a pointless argument. Personally, I agree with you but I can see an element of truth in what she's saying too, depending on the baby itself.

WorraLiberty Fri 22-Aug-14 12:52:33

strawberry I'm so glad my first baby was a nightmare and the second was 'text book'. If it had been the other way around, my God I would have been in for a shock! shock grin

BauerTime Fri 22-Aug-14 12:53:53

Sorry posted too soon. But a lack of acknowledgement that things will change and require more effort and you will have to give up certain things is surely a bit naive?

Yes i dont generally get drawn into debates about it with her, but sometimes i just have to bite. Im sure she says these things to me because from the outside it might look like DS has just slotted in to our lives. For example im never late and she has mentioned how x is always late and blames the kids. I know that x isn't as organised as me and is probably why she finds getting out of the door that much more of a struggle than me, but its not that its less work for me to get out of the door, i just deal with it differently. She cannot see that or sympathise with it, even though she is often late for no reason at all (i.e. got distracted by hoovering or surfing internet)

AlleyCat11 Fri 22-Aug-14 12:54:07

I can't understand this type of thinking at all. Most of my mates have kids. In no way, shape or form do I claim to understand any of it. Let alone advise them... To my mind parenting is alien territory to childless folk. Even Gina Ford.

Thurlow Fri 22-Aug-14 12:57:06

I think a lack of acknowledgement that things will change and require more effort and you will have to give up certain things is surely a bit naive? is a fair point. That's the one biggie really. Even if you have the calmest baby the world has ever seen, with causes very little washing, and sleeps well and eats well and happily watches you get on with the housework, your life is still going to change.

insancerre Fri 22-Aug-14 12:58:12

You know the decorator has a house that is due a makeover
The plumber always has a leaky tap
The builder always has a house in need of repair
The gardener has the most weeds
And teachers and nursery nurses always have the woest behaved kids

HavanaSlife Fri 22-Aug-14 12:58:38

If the house guest wanting to bake cakes after she's cleaned the kitchen stresses her out she well love having teens grin

HavanaSlife Fri 22-Aug-14 13:01:12

True insancerre, I waited 6 months for the joiner (dp) to hang a door and 3 months and counting for the electrician (ds1) to fix a plug socket grin

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