14/08/2014 12:52 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Parents We All Recognise - And Might Want To Avoid

Parents we all recognise - and might want to avoid

We've all met these caricatures on the rocky road through parenthood. And if you think you haven't, then it probably means you're one of them...

The Earth Mother

You first encountered her at the antenatal class, dressed in hemp, railing against pethidin and outlining her plan to give birth drug-free in woodland before pan-frying the placenta.


To the Earth Mother, we live in a terrifying, insidious time when BPA, Teflon, white bread and baby wipes ooze toxins into our bloodstream, disposable nappies are the Devil's underpants and a tupperware lunchbox is a cancer timebomb.


Sooner or later, you suspect she's liable to go feral, shinning up a tree and feeding her children foraged grubs.

The Big Kid

Let's overlook the fact that Tim is a chartered accountant and pushing 40. Revelling in his second childhood, this lolloping, overgrown, bald playmate can typically be found diving headlong into the ball pit at soft-play, welcoming party guests in a hired Gruffalo costume or at the bottom of a squirming 30-toddler pile-on.

Of course, the official line is that all this is absolutely adorable (off the record, it's ever-so-slightly nauseating).

The Pop-Psychologist

Every time you see her, she's clutching a Tolstoy-thick parenting manual called something like Happy Kids: How To Nurture Their Nature. This, she'll proudly inform you, is the latest "must-read" from some "really progressive" Californian pseudo-scientist, and will help her child to self-soothe, eat his greens, thrive at school and develop personality traits that will one day make him CEO of a blue-chip company.

In practice, everyone knows she uses the same tactics as the rest of us: bribery, threats and shouting-really-loud.


A bronzed goddess amongst the milk-stained school-gate zombies, the MILF glides elegantly through pregnancy with a kaftan and adorable pot-belly.

She proceeds directly from C-section to spinning class, can still wear all her old jeans and always seems to be the one instigating trips to the swimming pool.

This woman is like a mum from the pages of a Club Med holiday brochure – and it's all rather exhausting.

The Football-Obsessed Dad

Like some hapless medieval king, he's desperate for a son and heir, who he can call 'Giggsy', dress in a miniature Man United strip and carry to the match on his shoulders to impart swearing and casual sexism.

Given his lifelong alpha-male status, he can't understand why his loins continue to play this cruel joke, delivering a string of delicate daughters who have no interest in the offside rule and think Alex Ferguson has a face "like bacon".

The Whinger

Nobody is entirely sure why The Whinger bothered having children. Her entire conversational patter is a check-list of gripes, grievances and eulogies to her former life as a club rep in Magaluf.

Her feet are bloated, her back is sore, her youngest has croup, and to cap it all, Ocado have just delivered a bloody substitute for the Pampers Active-Fit nappies.

To this woman, even the plight of the Congo's child soldiers pales into insignificance compared to the morning she's just had.

The Self-Righteous Breastfeeder

She's not saying you're a bad person, as such. She's just implying it with every fibre of her being, as she flaps open her peep-hole blouse, clamps on a compliant child and airily cites the incontrovertible benefits of colostrum over Aptamil.

No matter how many times you remind this woman that you really did try, and that your nipples are still hanging by a thread, her motto is written all over her smug face: breast is best.

The Hands-Off Father

A relic of a bygone era, the Hands-Off Father is a species rarely spotted at the school gates, because he's either working 16-hour days or playing golf in Qatar with clients.

He wasn't at the birth, "doesn't do" nappies and will never puree a vegetable.

Beyond supplying sputum and signing cheques, his involvement is merely to administer a Victorian peck to the heads of his children before they turn in.

The Rebel

While most of us accept that – in the short-term at least – our downtime will now revolve around semi-comatose nights in watching home-improvement shows, the Rebel isn't going down without a fight.

This will manifest itself by her dyeing a strand of her fringe pink, having a symbolic fag on the doorstep after lights-out and listening to Lily Allen on the school run. Keith Richards needn't watch his back...

The Hypochondriac

Danger is everywhere. As such, The Hypochondriac shadows their child like a fearful footman, slapping on suncream in February, using reins, kneepads and armbands simultaneously, crossing the road to avoid anything larger than a bichon frisé and hyperventilating at the sight of an unhalved grape.

The Baby Factory

We all say we want six kids – then revise our projections downwards after the twins double-team us with diarrhoea. But the Baby Factory... she just never stops.

Reproduction is her biological function, and by God, she's going to hammer it, pumping out sprogs with the well-drilled efficiency of a BMW production line.

You imagine her birth canal must be screaming: "What more do you want of me, woman? For the love of God, haven't I done enough...?!"