Jean-Paul Sartre may have said hell is other people, but he was wrong, it’s their kids. We’ve all been there, having a nice time with our own friends, enjoying a coffee and a chat, when suddenly their offspring appear, demanding things like the toilet, or food and drink, or maybe the remote control, your iphone, etc.
Some will squeal for snacks, even worse are the ones who request organic juice, fresh fruit, or sugar free biscuits. None of which you have in the house, making you look like an appalling parent despite your weak hearted attempts at “we’ve just run out and I shop for fresh locally sourced produce every day.” Your own children may of course require some parental attention, but that’s only normal, they are only small and still learning to wait their turn, they are equally members of this family after all.
What’s bad enough over coffee multiplies over lunch, they don’t eat the same things as your budding Jamies, “didn’t we tell you Clarence is allergic to industrially produced soup, it is home-made isn’t it?” Or they eat so quickly, not chewing anything that your own retch at the very sight. Then there are those that won’t try anything new, “I’ve never had a green bean before, I don’t think mummy lets me eat those”. When you ask them to clear the table they whisper to your children “your mum’s a witch, she treats you like a slave”, or worse, they ask where the real napkins are, and why there’s no soup spoon.
While lunch is difficult, staying over, or going on holiday is for the seriously disillusioned. Other people’s children never go to bed at the right time, later than yours normally do, which makes you look mean, or too early –so you have to keep yours quiet in front of a 12 cert DVD while theirs cry about the unfairness of it all.
The same problems are repeated in the morning, theirs will either wake up too early and wake yours, who need their sleep or they’re bound to get a bit grumpy later, or they stay asleep ruining the morning fun for yours, the early bird gets better GCSE results after all.
It makes us so grateful that our little angels aren’t other people’s children.