[Shared by Basin of Gravy]
Acronyms. Modern life is full of them. From SMS to NATO, if you haven’t been properly initiated there are many arenas you’d feel lost in without a guide. Even David Cameron got his pants in a twist after realising that his acronymic text sign off to Rebekah Brooks, LOL, was text shorthand for “laugh out loud” and not “lots of love”. The mix-up makes him look like he’s about as modern as a dodo but that’s another post entirely.
You might think the world of parenting would be immune. It’s quite explicit in lots of other ways. For some women at least, giving birth seems to liberate them so they can finally say what they mean. Who else but a post-natal mother would dare to tackle thrush over an alcohol free lunch with partners?
How wrong was I — as the Mumsnet acronym glossary testifies? The world of pregnancy and parenting, I soon realised, is replete with acronyms. So what’s it all about?
According to Wikipedia, the Romans were fans but then the humble acronym went out of fashion for a few thousand years only to re-emerge vigorously in the last century.
The premise for most acronyms is that they save time by converting a chewy mouthful of words into a bite-sized morsel. But, with the exception of the now mostly defunct pay per letter lonely heart column, they rarely seem to save much time at all.
In reality, acronyms point to something much murkier than simple abbreviation. Using them signals a level of inclusivity or, in smaller groups, exclusivity – an acknowledgement that you’ve joined a certain club and you’re happy and familiar with the rules of the club. Sometimes acronyms fetishise an organisation or process that might otherwise sound a bit mundane, downright boring even. NATO has a much better ring to it than North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Other times they’re euphemisms for something more risqué like WTF. Fair enough.
But in the world of parenthood how useful are they really? Take this for example:
AFAIK PFB DD has CP. She was EMCS and EBF for 4 months IIRC. My HV says JFGI. I’m not a SAHM so PMSL. AIBU?
Translation: As far as I know, precious first-born darling daughter has cerebral palsy or chemical pregnancy or chicken pox, depending on the context. She was an emergency c-section and exclusively breast-fed for the first 4 months if I remember correctly. My health visitor says just f**king Google it. I’m not a stay at home mum so p**sed myself laughing. Am I being unreasonable?
I know I’m exaggerating but a little ridiculous no? So are these acronyms shorthand euphemisms designed to save time and face or just an attempt to fetishise parenthood by a smug minority who want it to be an exclusive club? More often than not, it’s the latter.
The irony is, I think my membership’s in the post.