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View as: GRID LIST

Why Don’t You Just….

1
Some phrases in the English language that should be avoided at all cost. They start sentences that are probably best unsaid or, at the very least, be phrased entirely differently. They include ‘I’m sorry but just have to say’ and ‘I don’t mean to be rude but’. My personal favourite, however, is ‘Why don’t you just’.

“Why don’t you just sleep when the baby sleeps?”

Answer : Yes that is an interesting and totally unheard of concept. Thank you. Unfortunately there has to be a point in time where I empty the dishwasher, fill out

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this long and complicated form, or unload the washing machine. Also my baby only sleeps in the car/pram while moving/on me. Plus, even if neither of these things are true, when my children sleep is the only time I get to do the things that make me feel like a valid adult who can make their own decisions about how they spend their time (even if that decision does happen to be to eat chocolate and watch Homes Under the Hammer). But, thank you for suggesting that cure-all for parental tiredness.

“Why don’t you just tell them it’s not ok to do

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that?”

Answer: Oh I see, now I get it. You see, up until now I have been actively encouraging my small child to throw food /run away /scream at the top of their lungs when they don’t get the right colour cup. If only I knew the answer was just not to let them! Did you not see that half filled in sticker chart on the wall? Or the little bottom shaped worn area on our bottom stair? Did you not hear the exasperation in my voice as I explained – once again – the dangers of throwing sand in people’s faces? No? Ok then. Heads up: all parents want our

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kids to behave; it is, however, a long road so please have patience with us on the journey. 

“Why don’t you just put them down for a nap / wake them up earlier/ leave them to sleep?” 

Answer: This is actually quite simple, well-meaning lady I have just met for the first time in the playground, I understand my child’s needs and routines better than you do. This may come as shock, but as the person who has been a captive of their child’s sleeping habits since the moment of their birth I’m going to take the authority on this one. Trust

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me, I want them to sleep all night more than literally anyone on earth, there is no combination of the late / early / long / short nap combo that I haven’t tried. The thing is, children are individuals and nothing reflects that better than their sleeping habits. 

“Why don’t you just get a babysitter and come out with us?”
Answer: Oh, lovely, fun, child-free friend I would love to come out with you.  I would love it if it was that easy. For some people maybe it is. Unfortunately I don’t have anyone I feel I can ask / the people I could ask

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are busy with their own lives. Also my child has an elaborate bedtime routine involving songs, stories, prayers, hand holding and silent prayers for sleep to come. Then they wake up an hour later anyway. There is only so many times I can inflict this on other people. I have also learnt the hard way that late nights out are for people who don’t have to be a functioning, responsible adult again at six thirty the next morning. Thank you for the invite though, maybe I will be up for it in about 15 years?

I could go on. Questions such as “Why don’t

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you just go back to / give up work” and “Why don’t you just appreciate the time you have with them while they are so little?” Are just examples of questions that can not be treated as answers in themselves. Life, people, and children are too complex and individual to be fixed with a simple ‘just’. So do everyone a favour, don’t over-simplify things. Simplification, after all, is boring. It’s complication that makes life interesting.
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Catherine Péchèr

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- 7 Feb 20

Some phrases in the English language that should be avoided at all cost. They start sentences that are probably best unsaid or, at the very least, be phrased entirely differently. They include ‘I’m sorry but just have to say’ and ‘I don’t mean to be rude but’. My personal favourite, however, is ‘Why don’t you just’.

“Why don’t you just sleep when the baby sleeps?”

Answer : Yes that is an interesting and totally unheard of concept. Thank you. Unfortunately there has to be a point in time where I empty the dishwasher, fill out this long and complicated form, or unload the washing machine. Also my baby only sleeps in the car/pram while moving/on me. Plus, even if neither of these things are true, when my children sleep is the only time I get to do the things that make me feel like a valid adult who can make their own decisions about how they spend their time (even if that decision does happen to be to eat chocolate and watch Homes Under the Hammer). But, thank you for suggesting that cure-all for parental tiredness.

“Why don’t you just tell them it’s not ok to do that?”

Answer: Oh I see, now I get it. You see, up until now I have been actively encouraging my small child to throw food /run away /scream at the top of their lungs when they don’t get the right colour cup. If only I knew the answer was just not to let them! Did you not see that half filled in sticker chart on the wall? Or the little bottom shaped worn area on our bottom stair? Did you not hear the exasperation in my voice as I explained – once again – the dangers of throwing sand in people’s faces? No? Ok then. Heads up: all parents want our kids to behave; it is, however, a long road so please have patience with us on the journey. 

“Why don’t you just put them down for a nap / wake them up earlier/ leave them to sleep?” 

Answer: This is actually quite simple, well-meaning lady I have just met for the first time in the playground, I understand my child’s needs and routines better than you do. This may come as shock, but as the person who has been a captive of their child’s sleeping habits since the moment of their birth I’m going to take the authority on this one. Trust me, I want them to sleep all night more than literally anyone on earth, there is no combination of the late / early / long / short nap combo that I haven’t tried. The thing is, children are individuals and nothing reflects that better than their sleeping habits. 

“Why don’t you just get a babysitter and come out with us?”
Answer: Oh, lovely, fun, child-free friend I would love to come out with you.  I would love it if it was that easy. For some people maybe it is. Unfortunately I don’t have anyone I feel I can ask / the people I could ask are busy with their own lives. Also my child has an elaborate bedtime routine involving songs, stories, prayers, hand holding and silent prayers for sleep to come. Then they wake up an hour later anyway. There is only so many times I can inflict this on other people. I have also learnt the hard way that late nights out are for people who don’t have to be a functioning, responsible adult again at six thirty the next morning. Thank you for the invite though, maybe I will be up for it in about 15 years?

I could go on. Questions such as “Why don’t you just go back to / give up work” and “Why don’t you just appreciate the time you have with them while they are so little?” Are just examples of questions that can not be treated as answers in themselves. Life, people, and children are too complex and individual to be fixed with a simple ‘just’. So do everyone a favour, don’t over-simplify things. Simplification, after all, is boring. It’s complication that makes life interesting.

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Catherine Péchèr

I’m a midwife, mum of two and recent expat. I love blogging and writing lists about life, parenthood and everything in between. Some are on here but loads more are at greatmindsmakelists.worspress.com or you can find me on Facebook or Instagram.

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