As a parent, I realize there are a lot of things we say to non-parents that are bothersome. And I totally get why we should stop.
In reflecting on them, I also began to think about things non-parents should never say to parents and was inspired to compile the following list from the opposite perspective.
So here goes: 13 things non-parents should never say to parents.
1. Ugh. No way. I don’t ever want to have kids. Like, ever. Well, sweet. Good to know you think our life is so disgusting/annoying/monotonous/wasted/insignificant. Perhaps you’d like to come over and murder our souls as well?
2. What do you mean you haven’t seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? It’s been out for 3 weeks! Yeah. Believe it or not, we can go 3 weeks without having done laundry, let alone having taken time (and paid for a babysitter) to see a movie or go buy an album or be alone to watch a TV show. (I mean, I’m typing this as I supervise “careful cutting” and set the table for dinner.) We probably won’t see that movie/TV series or hear that song ever. IN OUR WHOLE LIVES.
3. You never call anymore. You can’t imagine how much attention it takes to keep people alive. If you turn around for, like, 5 seconds, somebody’s bound to fall down the steps or start table dancing next to the scalding stove top burner. And once we’ve put those kids to bed (which should be an Olympic event all its own, believe me), we often fall asleep on the couch, glass of Merlot barely touched. (I have a show DVRed that I swear I’ve tried to get through at least a dozen times without success.) It’s not you, it’s us. Really. And we think about calling all the time. That’s gotta count for something, right?
4. We’re having an afternoon picnic in our back yard, but it’s strictly an adult-only event. And we won’t be attending. We understand not every gathering is appropriate for children, but things like barbecues and graduation parties — especially when they’re held outdoors — are things kids could barely screw up even if they tried. (And do you even know how much babysitters cost these days? Let’s just say it ain’t like in The Babysitters Club anymore.) We promise not to bring our spawn to the next pub crawl if you promise to lighten up a bit.
5. We’re thinking of having a baby, so we’re getting a puppy first to see if we’re cut out for the job. Bitchsaywha? Just because puppies are like babies does not mean puppies are babies. Both are needy — it’s true. Both cry when they’re hungry or need attention — also true. But similar does not mean equal. Puppies are like babies in the same way cinder blocks are like bricks of gold, kittens are like tigers, André is like Dom Pérignon, and a light sprinkle is like a monsoon. To assume raising a puppy and a child are comparable experiences is insulting in a way, not to mention indicative that you’re so not ready for a baby. Want to know what it’s really like? Come on over for a day and check it out. If you survive, you might just be cut out for the job.
6. It must be so relaxing to be home all day with the kids. Yes, it is. In the same way thwarting an apocalyptic alien takeover might be relaxing. It’s wonderful; don’t get me wrong. But it’s a bit much after a while. Try watching 12 hours of Dora the Explorer on repeat. It’s kinda like that.
7. You’re not going to start buying “mom jeans”/”dad shorts” now, are you? Only if you start buying things with “douchebag” splayed across them. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we’ve completely lost our pre-children identities. We’re still the same people. We just have a new found taste for “Chicks Dig Me” onesies is all. (Get it? Because new babies are like new chicks? And then there’s the whole chicks as in girls? Because stereotypically, girls like babies? So it’s a play on words? See how they did that?)
8. Don’t be so lame! You’re kid-free tonight! Light weight… Yes. Yes, we are. But tomorrow, we’re not. And tomorrow, those kids of ours will deliver a punishment second only to taking a blow torch up the rear should we get too crazy tonight. And if that happens, we just might bring them over to your house for the day. AND YOU DON’T WANT THAT. We’re OMGtotallynotevenkidding.
9. Oh, GAH. Their kid is OUT OF CONTROL. Not that yours is. Just theirs. To be clear, not you. Them. Theirs isn’t the only kid out of control at times, so what this really seems like is, Oh. My. God. All kids are out of control. Oops. I forgot that you also have kids, so I’m just going to pretend like I don’t think your kids are out of control. But they are. They totally, totally are. Yeah. Kids are out of control sometimes. It’s called lacking the capacity for abstract thought and BEING FRICKIN’ KIDS. It’s one thing for people with kids to complain about another couple’s offspring, but people without them? Can’t do it. It’s like when people pick on their siblings; it’s OK for them to do, but not OK for anyone else. Sorry. Them’s is just the rules.
10. Try to be here on time. While seemingly innocent sounding, what we hear is, Jesus. Think you could make an effort to keep a schedule? How hard can it be to put a single tiny human in a car and drive? The answer is hard. Really, really hard. It’s not just the human we have to pack. It’s also the playpen, the bouncy seat, the bottles, the formula, the baby food, the diapers, the wipes, the change of clothes, the butt cream, the thermometer, the snot bulb sucky thing, the baby Tylenol, the gas drops, the Benadryl, the blankets, and the toys. (And I know I forgot something on this list. See? We then have to go back for whatever it is we forgot.)
11. I didn’t invite you because you never say yes. Please keep inviting us. PLEASE. There’s bound to be a day or an evening or a weekend that will eventually work out, and there’s nothing we’d love more than to accompany you on whatever it is you’re doing — and we mean whatever. We’ve never wanted to do anything more in our whole lives.
12. You look tired. Are you feeling OK? Holy Hell. If spending all night cleaning up puke and wading through poop is OK, then I suppose we’ve never felt better.
13. Well, when I have kids, I’m gonna ____, and my kids will never ____, and the rules will be ____. *silence* *death glare* *crickets* Go fuck yourself.
What other things should non-parents never say to parents?