1. “It won’t last!” in response to anything you say about enjoying being a parent.
Why it’s annoying: Existing parents like to scare new ones with war stories to make themselves feel better. A bit of encouragement would make you sound like a better person, and less of an ass-hat.
What you should say: “Enjoy every second.”
2. “You don’t even look that terrible!”
Why it’s annoying: Yes I have lost out on some sleep. But don’t look so surprised that I am able to walk, talk and function like a normal person.
What you should say: “You look great!”
3. “Was it planned?”
Why it’s annoying: Aside from the fact that it’s none of your business, it’s not a good idea to go around telling people you made a human by accident, even if you did.
What you should say: “Were you trying to get pregnant for a while?” - or don’t say anything, because this is really personal.
4. “He/she doesn’t look anything like you!”
Why it’s annoying: We didn’t steal him from anywhere – one of us spent nine months carrying him around. The least you could do is pretend he looks like one of us.
What you should say:: “He/she’s so cute!”
5. “Have you thought about school options?”
Why it’s annoying: No we have not thought about fucking school options. We’ve only just managed to give birth, we haven’t got a nursery yet – let’s not determine the child’s social class and future life chances just yet.
What you should say: “Childcare is so expensive these days isn’t it?”
6. “What is he eating?”
Why it’s annoying: What do you think? It’s a newborn infant. Clue: not caviar.
What you should say: “Is he eating OK?”
7. “Get used to never having sex ever again!”
Why it’s annoying: I guess there are no families in the UK with more than one child.
What you should say: “It’s hard work but it can really bring you closer together.”
8. “Did you want a boy / girl?”
Why it’s annoying: There’s not much we can do about it now is there? Except maybe give the child a lifelong sense of insecurity by asking questions like that.
What you should say: Again, just say they look cute.
9. “When are you having the next one?”
Why it’s annoying: Give us a break.
What you should say: Maybe “do you think you’ll have any more?” is a reasonable question, but wait until you’ve left the maternity ward.
10. “Are you getting a nanny?”
Why it’s annoying: Yes, absolutely, we’re getting a nanny because we’re both fabulously wealthy and from the 19th century.
What you should say: “What are you going to do about childcare? It’s SO expensive isn’t it?”
11. “We’re going to take drugs at an all night rave with Beyonce and David Bowie. What are you doing this weekend? Anything fun?”
Why it’s annoying: WE HAVE CHILDREN. WE WILL BE LOOKING AFTER CHILDREN.
What you should say: “Are you doing anything nice with the baby this weekend?”
12. “OMG your baby is MASSIVE!” or “OMG your baby is TINY!”
Why it’s annoying: This is a bit like saying the parent is fat or too thin. It’s not very nice. Plus, parents are very anxious about he weight of their progeny.
What you should say: “Wow, he’s looking really healthy.”
13. “You should sleep when the baby sleeps.”
Why it’s annoying: It’s just not practical. This is when we do the washing (for the third time today), cook our own food, tidy the house, pay the bills, go to the shop or make a cup of tea.
What you should say: “I’m sure you’ll get them into a stable sleeping routine soon.”
14. “You should let him cry for a bit – never did our Darren any harm.”
Why it’s annoying: Times move on and parenting fashions change. It may once have been acceptable to leave a baby crying, outside, in the rain, for days on end, and sign them up with the local chimney sweep by the age of two. But it’s not now.
What you should say: “I guess crying is just a form of communication.”
15. “You’re making a rod for your own back!”
Why it’s annoying: Excuse me for being nice to my baby. The idea that you’re making your offspring emotionally stunted by being nice to them and responding when they’re screaming their heads off about something is a really weird one.
What you should say: “I read that leaving babies to cry on their own can cause psychological damage.”