Two tiny words with one million connotations. This phrase could bring on a case of the sweats for even the chattiest of people. I include myself in this. Yet, the art of small talk is an often underrated skill when it comes to parenting.
I am not talking about sparking conversation with your offspring. Specifically, This is about perfecting the art of small talk at venues like soft play. Soft play is torture enough. But, it usually also comes with a side order of awkward chat with people who you will never see again. This can be exchanging words with fellow parents about their offspring who may or may not have just hit your child. Or, it can also mean chat with small people (yes, Carter, I do know it’s your birthday next week. Thank you for telling me, a random stranger, yet again).
Mind-numbing nitty gritty
Other parents – you know what I am talking about yes? I hope it isn’t just me who dreads this all too frequent opportunity to work on the art of small talk. I didn’t see it coming. I love a good chin wag and I wanted to make mum friends. Me and TJ’s dad even forked out a few hundred quid to buy, I mean meet, new parent friends through NCT classes. But, it’s time to be honest. The art of small talk can do one. It’s all rather mind-numbingly boring isn’t it?
Humdrum chat about children’s age and how they are ‘doing really well’.
The constant scrutiny on whether the little ones are hitting their milestones.
A repetitive checklist of how feeding and sleeping routines are, or are not, going.
Just stop it, please.
I am lucky enough to have parent pals in my life who were my friends before we reproduced. We’re way past the need for the art of small talk, thank fuck. So, I will swap stories with them about bowel movements for as long as the coffee keeps on coming. I also know some lovely people who have become parents since my TJ arrived. My help, advice and solidarity will be there for them whenever it is required.
But, it an occupational hazard for parents that not all of us are good at the art of small talk. This is particularly the case if it is with strangers or involves faking interest in the lives of people whose name you can’t remember. So, this often leaves me on the outskirts of the play areas rather than hanging with the cool mum clan. This may well continue to the school gates and beyond as TJ grows up. I am honestly fine with that.
I’m listening …
In other news, TJ is slowly but surely expanding his own vocabulary. It seems the art of small talk is thriving in his gorgeous little mind. This time, I am totally happy to have an idle chit chat here and there. His words currently include daddy (obvs), teeth, ‘raar’ and bubble. So, keep those words coming TJ, I am all ears for you.