‘Saying something about each other’s children is a minefield’

Patricia van Liemt is a radio presenter, writer and mother of Maria (13) and Phaedra (10). Every Friday she writes striking, honest, funny and above all recognizable columns about her life and motherhood.

The blind spot! There are a few of them in many households. Little cute blind spots, which we prefer not to talk about. For example, for years I did not want to hear that my youngest daughter spoke infantile. And to be honest, I have to admit that I really didn’t hear it anymore either. In retrospect, I’m sure all my friends thought the same thing, but only a few of them commented once, fearing my reaction.


Surely it’s interesting that you can talk to your BFF about anything from labia corrections to adulterous thoughts, but talking about each other’s kids is a minefield. Often we see it as criticism, but of course it is not criticism if a good friend points out to me that it might be worth considering to talk to a speech therapist. That is actually a form of love and thinking along. And wanting the best for your best friend’s child.

“You can talk to your bff about anything, but talking about each other’s kids is a minefield”

But no, listen to that and take it as well-intentioned advice, we parents are generally very bad at that. Why is that? At first I blame that blind spot. When you have your child around you every day, you just don’t see it – or in my case hear it. Then you really think: ‘What are you talking about’ or ‘It’s not that bad at all’.

Read also: ‘I would give my children a completely different name today’


Nothing human is strange to me and that’s how it happened to me recently. A friend of mine has a son who is clearly gay. Elton John dangles somewhere far below him, shall we say. When I thought I could say something about that, she looked at me questioningly and asked, ‘Really? Gay? Would you think?’ I felt like an intruder. What was I meddling with? Perhaps this is not the best example, because orientation is something that no one should and should not like, but I am concerned with the fact that she herself did not see it at all.

“I felt like an intruder. What was I meddling in?’

In the meantime I have started to look a little milder at that blind spot and I don’t mind having a blind spot at all. It sometimes leaves us as parents imperfect without us realizing it. And let’s face it: that’s sometimes nice 😉

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