OPKs And How We Really Feel About Them
In a recent interview Sara Cox was asked “Animals or babies?”. She responded with, “Animals, definitely. OPKs – Other People’s Kids – I’m not really interested. I like my own.” Huh? Other people’s kids? What does that have to do with it? That wasn’t part of the question, was it? Instead, it felt like something Sara just needed to get off her chest. Do I blame her? No.
Ok. I’m going to say it. I’m not great with other people’s kids either. The little ones are cute and holding them for 15 minutes is enough to get my maternal endorphins rushing through my veins, but after that I’m like, “Ok, my arms are tired and she looks a bit like she’s going to puke.”
The slightly bigger ones - the ones that can barrel around a room but don’t have the verbal skills to negotiate effectively with - I can totally do without. I know that sounds bad but honestly, I don’t much like my own when they’re at that age so, you know, it would be weird if I liked other people's, right? These ones leave nothing but a physical and emotional trail of destruction in their wake.
The ones who are bigger yet - you know, at school, able to wipe their own arse - are ok. I like them a WHOLE lot if they get on with my own kids and can keep them occupied. If it means I don’t get asked eleventy billion times if I can play ‘tea parties’ then I’m all for those kids. If they want to talk or play with me though? No. I’m out. I find having disjointed conversations with my own children intersected with spontaneous ‘flossing’ and whole lot of imagination (read: bullshit) exhausting enough.
Of course, there are certain kids I like a whole lot because I really love and adore their parents with all my soul and of course there are other children that I’m actually related to that I will always love but in general it’s very difficult to get excited by other people’s kids.
There was a thread on Mumsnet in the infamous AIBU section in which a mum asked whether she was being unreasonable in hating her friend’s kid who was three. I think the term is, “it kicked off” (shocker) with some branding her hateful and others assuring her it was perfectly normal. Let’s face it, three year old’s can be dicks. They don’t mean to be I’m sure, and it’s all part of the learning curve but it would be weird if we liked that in them. In our own children we accept it and manage it and deal with it because we are biologically and/or emotionally responsible for their growth. We recognise that it’s all part of the deal when it comes to growing and raising your own humans. If other tiny, annoying humans have parents who are biologically and/or emotionally contracted to deal with their annoying stuff then there’s no reason why you should have to and even less reason why you should enjoy doing so.
Some people feel like they need to confess that they don’t much like other people’s kids. I’ve even heard of some people feeling guilty about it. Here’s what I think: it’s really normal and we can all chill out about it. As long as the big people like each other, the rest is all gravy.