No Internal Dialogue…

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

This is a “thought bubble”. It is an illustration depicting thought. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know where you are with your children.  Yesterday, I went to the hairdresser and had my hair coloured and cut.  My new appearance generated a favourable response from the mothers at school, from my friends and from my husband (once I had pointed out that I had done something to my hair – I couldn’t expect him to notice without prompting).  My youngest child just stared at my head as if I had suddenly grown an extra ear or nose, no comment made but I felt the disapproval.  My middle child didn’t notice any change at all, he was much more concerned with some never-ending explanation of why he had got one thing wrong in his maths test.  My eldest child was more observant and didn’t hold back.  “Don’t like it” he said, “preferred it as it was”. I suppose I should be grateful that he a) noticed and b) didn’t use one of his incomprehensible descriptors like “sick” (although would have quite liked “epic” as I have noticed everything is “epic” for him except me).

It got me thinking about filters.  Children are largely devoid of filters.  Thinking before speaking is a skill which is mostly definitely learned and not inherent. One of the delights of being a stay-at-home mother (let’s face it there have be to some bonuses to a grossly under-appreciated job) is never quite knowing what your child is going to say next and just how inappropriate it can be at the most inopportune moment.   This ranges from the excruciatingly embarrassing – “Mummy, why has that woman got a moustache?”whilst standing approximately three feet away and pointing directly,to the downright bizarre such as when my son asked me in a crowded supermarket whether babies were born out of a mother’s mouth…I didn’t really know where to go with that one except to comment that he was on the right lines with orifices but wrong location!

Generally speaking, however, we can laugh off whatever our children say – admittedly when my daughter asks me whether I want a glass of wine with my breakfast in front of a whole hotel dining room it can be hard (have to resort to the ‘I’m a mother = functioning alcoholic’ line). For adults without filters, there is less excuse but it seems to be a remarkably common condition – I call it “no internal dialogue”. We all know people like that and somehow when an adult tells you how it is – especially with regard to personal appearance – it is not quite as endearing as a five year old child.

Not that long ago, I turned up to meet someone for the first time wearing my gym kit – (for regular readers, I had actually been exercising as opposed to just wearing…) – this person on introduction to me said “who’s been eating all the chocolates then?” (frankly, gob-smackingly awful on its own and BTW before you picture me as morbidly obese, I think my friends would agree that this was not really a fair description).  He followed up this little gem, when realising that perhaps he had said something at best inappropriate at worst downright rude, with the immortal line, “I’m so sorry, I thought you were pregnant” (which I most definitely am not). As you can imagine the meeting was nothing short of excruciating after that – although I have to admit to enjoying watching him squirm.

So let’s enjoy all the wonderful, bizarre, sometimes inappropriate things our children come out with and for those of you without any “internal dialogue”, engage brain before mouth.

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Parentoholic…?

This image shows a white wine glass (WMF Easy)...

This image shows a white wine glass (WMF Easy) with white wine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I settle down to the weekend newspapers, feet up for the first time this week, glass of wine in hand…the headline on The Times Weekend section catches my eye – “Are you a Parentoholic?”. At this point, I have one of my more “dim” moments – perhaps as I approach 40, a “senior moment” – and I think to myself that this must be an article about some odd medical/clinical condition which means you are addicted to parenting.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my children completely, but I am not some earth mothering, Gina Fording, frankly nauseating example of perfect parenting – far from it!

I open up the paper and it immediately becomes apparent that no, this is not an article about extreme parenting but yet another thinly-veiled attack on middle class, verging on alcoholic, parents, which is the hot issue of the moment for the media.  My eyes settle on one of those cosy little “if you have mainly As…” quizzes which I loved so much when I was about 13 in the likes of “Just 17” or “Mizz” which I would use to determine whether the spotty nerd next door was actually my true love based on my personality type.  However, this quiz was of an altogether much more sinister type – it was a lose/lose quiz which started from the assumption that you were an alcoholic parent and it was just a matter of to what degree.

Look, I’m not trying to make light of what many consider to be a serious issue but I will say one thing.  After a 14 hour day (yes, 14 hour) which starts with one or other child screaming in my ear and ends in much the same vein with a smorgasbord of school runs, cooking, laundry, cleaning, bathing and Peppa Pig viewing thrown in the middle, I do believe it is my prerogative to have a glass of wine at the end of my working day.  For me this glass of wine does not represent a decline into alcoholism but more the fact that I am an adult and this precious two hours at the end of the day are in fact my adult time.

Anyway, I am sure this rant is yet more evidence of my approaching 40 angst, but I am going to go now as my husband has just poured me a lovely, large glass of white Burgundy…