The ‘new parents are boring’ riff: Officially more boring than new parents

This evening I stayed late at work, while all the sad little mummies and daddies rushed home to their… Oh, hang on, I’ve got some of them, too! Never mind. They’re cute, they’ll manage. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yeah, I was late in the office with some of the cool kids when I overheard the following conversation:

So, yeah, I’m actually thinking of “un-friending” her on Facebook since she had that baby. It’s all she ever goes on about.

I know! New parents are boring as hell! Always on about sleeping patterns and poo! Can’t they understand? We don’t want to know!

[cue OTT laughter]

Yeah, it’s mad. It’s like, when they put scan photos up on their desks. First you think, ooh, that must be the solar system! They you realise it’s the inside of their missus’s stomach.

[everyone totally dies at colleague’s unrivaled wit]

At which point I decided it was hometime. Hence I gathered my things and left, aiming for the nonchalance of the child-free as I brushed past what must surely have been candidates for the next Edinburgh Comedy Award.

If you’re a parent who’s reading this, at this point you should be experiencing a mixture of self-recognition and shame (but don’t actually say anything about how you’re feeling; you’re boring so you need to shut the fuck up). You might have thought it’s okay to mention your kids in casual contexts – contexts in which someone might be mentioning Top Gear, or offering a status update regarding when they’re going to marry Robbie Williams – but actually it’s not. In fact it is inappropriate. You’re not interesting enough and as for your baby – well, I’d rather read a sodding telephone directory.

Don’t feel bad, though. I mean, it’s not like you are the most boring person in the history of boringness (which I have, of course, studied in detail, or at least until I got too bored). There are always people who are more boring than you. People who go on about their cats, for instance. Cats are way more boring than children. Have you got a cat? Does your cat scrawl DEATH on random bits of paper? Does your cat ever ask you whether dolphins have wheels? Did your cat, at the age of five months, say “bye bye” to Vera Duckworth on the very night she died in Coronation Street? I bet it didn’t. Compared to my offspring, your cat sucks.*

I tell you who else are boring: people who indulge in second-hand, unfunny riffs about how boring new parents are. As Morrissey would say, that joke isn’t funny any more (but not cause it’s too close to home and it’s too near the bone. Well, not much, anyhow). All this might have been mildly amusing, once, but now it’s such a fucking cliché that it really, really isn’t. It actually makes talking about dirty nappies seem radical. So people are talking about the minutiae of their lives and you don’t like it because it doesn’t include you; get over it. The joke is old, but guess what? Babies are, by their very nature, always new! So people will always want to talk about theirs! (Unless there are parents who nobly prioritise being interesting: “what, that baby we just had? Don’t wanna talk about it. All been said before, mate.” In which case, I suspect we’d all worry.)

I’ll be honest: I too get pissed off when people who’ve previously amused me start babbling on about their babies non-stop. And I was totally pissed off when Charlie Brooker did that “for one week I get to dribble inanely about my new baby because I’m a journalist who spawned and you’re not” piece. But this is because I usually find Charlie Brooker really sharp and witty. Most people aren’t really sharp and witty all the time. They just say stuff and sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes it isn’t, and you try to respond to it politely. Unless of course it’s stuff about babies. Then suddenly going on about what a boring sod your best mate has become is perfectly acceptable.

Well, anyhow, I’ve had babies and I’m way more interesting than those people who think moaning about baby bores is remotely original or funny. I mean, I wouldn’t push my claims to being interesting any further than that. But hey, it’s a start.

* BTW, I really like cats. That was just for argument’s sake. And my cat could do all of these things. In fact, I only had children because she popped her little paw-sized clogs.

One thought on “The ‘new parents are boring’ riff: Officially more boring than new parents

  1. Hi there, I found your post because friends of mine have a 15 month old baby and in the past few weeks I’ve heard this very argument come out of their mouths for the first time. It’s been very interesting to watch.

    I work from home so the Mom comes over with her baby once a week to spend a few hours talking. This has been happening for months and I’ve gotten an interesting front row seat in the evolution of this woman from her own complete person with thoughts and interests to a monomaniacal mother of one. Just a few short months ago (while the baby wasn’t walking yet) we both enjoyed talking about politics and such while the baby slept or fed, and we were both ‘boring’ people. Now that the baby is toddling everything that isn’t about the baby is boring and pointless and hedonistic. Restaurants, friends, conversations about art. All pathetic.

    On top of that this person is now insisting that everyone possible have children or they are missing out. This same person who explained that before she had a baby she wasn’t that into the idea is now actively telling other women that they should absolutely have a baby right now because everything else that they think or do is pointless.

    I’m trying to be sensitive to the fact that the flood of hormones casting a spell on my friend is greater than anytime since we all went through puberty so to try taking it with a grain of salt. However the net result of this for the non-parent is like having a friend who was not religious become a born-again christian and tell me how Jesus is going to save my soul every few minutes instead of talking about art and science and our everyday lives.

    It’s a very awkward place to be. Don’t even get me started about the assumptions made on personal space and property when it comes to their baby in our home. Everything is a toy, nothing needs to be put back, and any concern about how things in our home ought to be treated makes me a boring, anti-baby jerk. Come off it, you can’t just come over, mess up my place and leave and then tell me it’s a privilege your kid came over and tossed my stuff about! But then again, it’s really just the hormones and exhaustion talking, isn’t it.

    I’m glad that parent’s focus is on their children, it makes for a great parent and secure children in our society. However, I think it takes the same devotion, patience and understanding to be friends with a new parent that it does to be a parent yourself. And they are both thankless jobs that largely go unnoticed by the benefactors, and both contribute to making for a better society.

    So let’s give everyone a round of applause for making a better world, shall we? Both for the childless dullards who go around having jobs so there’s money for public schools and the brave parents who have become biological vessels for the future of the human race. After all, we’re all in this together, right? Let’s give us all a hand, because when looked at individually we’re all pretty boring, babies or no. Together we’re a bit more interesting.

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