Reproduction didn't make you an eternal fountain of wisdom, OK?
I have a confession to make: I know, without a doubt, that at one or more times in my life, I have been that super annoying person — the parent who had to bite her tongue when a newly-expecting mom says something like, "Oh, I don't think it will be that bad having a baby," or the first-timers who insist on a sanitation suit for Junior.
Call it desperation or damaged brain cells, but sometimes, parents are just guilty of being super annoying dispensers of proper parenting advice. And this time, the non-reproducing among us are speaking up and telling parents like myself to shut the heck up!
My apologies, non-parents. I'm listening.
1. "You wouldn't understand."
Ah, the mysterious world of parents who are sooo busy and sooo stressed, right? They just love to unload the many problems of having children, spouses, jobs, and adult acne on unsuspecting non-parents, don't they?
"I've heard so often how children are the greatest thing ever and yet, how they are such a strain on a marriage," observes Leslie Schlaud, a pharmaceutical manager. "The married folks always tell me, 'It's so much harder than I thought.'
"I hear so much negativity about their marriages and the only thing that's keeping them together is usually the kids. It just sounds like it's awful."
2. "Just wait."
Is there anything more annoying than this comment delivered smugly by a human who has happened to reproduce?
Think you're tired? Just wait.
Want to vent about your busy work day? Try being a working mom, thanks ... just you wait.
Think you don't want kids? Just wait.
3. “I never knew what love was before kids.”
Along those lines, how many parents have wisely suspected that an unruly non-parent will eventually fall into line and pop out a few kidlets, then learn the true meaning of life and love? Well, this is one piece of advice that doesn't fall on receiving ears.
"I'm not stupid; I know there are many different kinds of love and the love a parent has for their child isn't one I'll ever know," remarks Chelsea Hottovy, author of viral essay "I Got My Tubes Tied At 28 Because I Don't Want Kids — Ever." "But to straight up say I don't/won't know any love? That's ridiculous! Plus, way harsh. Everyone you’ve ever known just got dumped, basically."
4. “You’ll change your mind.”
"Parents almost laugh off the suggestion that I may not want kids," says one woman. "'You'll change your mind' is a common theme I hear, as though my opinion isn't valid or serious.
"Perfect strangers would not have the audacity to tell someone they'll 'change their mind' about an important decision in their life — moving, accepting a job — yet somehow, when it comes to the topic of baby-making, everyone's allowed to share their perspective, unasked."
Hottovy has a stronger message for parents who drop this bombshell on her: "Honestly? F*ck you!" she declares.
"Is that mean? Don't care. You think you’re going to change your mind about that kid you're carrying around? You'll probably have some days where you wish things were just a little different, and I will, too. But I'm not going to change my mind, and you have no idea what you're talking about. You do you, let me do me."
You do you and I'll do me? Sounds like non-parents are the ones that need to be giving parents a few pieces of advice. Fountains of wisdom, indeed.