I was put in my place by a mother on Friday. This doesn’t happen often as I rarely venture my opinions on child-rearing to parents.

This woman is disgruntled about her 21-year-old daughter’s recent conversion to vegetarianism, which she sees as yet another silly youthful fad (along with her dismaying lesbianism). She can’t reconcile the fact that her daughter objects to the slaughtering of animals for food but is simultaneously pro-choice, which means she advocates the ‘killing’ of babies. What was our opinion on all of this?

After discussing the ethical side of things for a bit, my colleague – who has a 6-month-old baby – ranted in a youth-of-today! fashion about how he’ll never over-indulge his daughter, how he won’t put up with any faddy shite from his future teenagers, how his word will rule in their house – any stupid ‘phases’ and he’ll show them the door. I proffered just one opinion, about the vegetarianism:

I’d probably tell her she can make her own dinners if she doesn’t want to eat what everyone else is having

The woman digested this. Then, clearly annoyed, faced me down and said:

I’ll just say one thing to you: until you’re in that situation and you have children, you can’t really say what you would do or judge anyone else for how they deal with it

Hang on – I get it in the neck but my colleague, a new dad, doesn’t? That makes no sense whatsoever.  Is he more qualified to talk about the subject than I am because he’s had a baby for half a year, do you think?

This woman has expressed some insecurity about the fact that she has dedicated two decades of her life to being a full time stay-at-home mum (and still does pretty much everything for her adult kids) and I realise the comment is probably a projection of that. She’s also told me several times that I’m lucky not to have any offspring.

It’s a low blow to take your frustrations out on the easiest target in the room, though. This is one of the rare occasions that I really wanted to say:

STFU, parent

I will next time.

And if anyone has a good argument to back up the pro-choice, veggie lesbian daughter’s convictions, let me know what it is because I’m 100% on her side.

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