5 Things Parents Should Not Say To Non-Parents - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-21-2013, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Guilty of any of these things? 

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-kinnear/5-things-parents-need-to-stop-saying-to-non-parents_b_3573670.html

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#2 of 11 Old 11-22-2013, 06:46 AM
 
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I love my dogs with all my heart, I'm the weird dog lady.  But no, they aren't the same as kids.  

 

I think it's silly to find it offensive to ask if your kids are welcome. It's a yes or no answer.  I need to know if I can bring my kids because otherwise I need to find something to do with them. I don't care if they are welcome or not, I just need to know!  It's not like I can just go to a party on a whim.  That crap takes planning :)  If I can manage to come without my kids I will, but on the flip side, don't exclude my kids and then be pissy I can't make it.  They are little people, they can't just be left to their own devices!!  (You know, not dogs who can be left behind!)

 

In a funny twist, my plans Saturday night got goofy because my neighbor who takes care of my dogs was out of town.  The kids were handled, but no one could get the dogs.  So I had to get home. 

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#3 of 11 Old 11-21-2014, 10:32 AM
 
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I would say that all parents are guilty of saying these things to non-parents. Or at least thinking them! It's hard not to compare what your life was like pre-kids, but that's not to say that it was easier(although, it was!)- just different. I have quite a few non-parents as close friends. It is definitely a balancing act. No, I can't spend an hour on the phone listening to your problems anymore, although I would like to and I am sure they are valid complaints. It's just that if I am on the phone, my kids are wrecking havoc in my house and it will take me the rest of the afternoon to clean it up!
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#4 of 11 Old 11-24-2014, 07:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kelleyruane View Post
I would say that all parents are guilty of saying these things to non-parents. Or at least thinking them!
I've been a parent for 18 years, and other than asking if my kids can go places I go, I haven't said or thought any of them. When our kids were little and we brought them places (because our only other option was to stay home with them) we brought them things to do and their own food. But what with one kid with special needs and no extended family, we were pretty much a package deal for a long time, and if someone wasn't OK with that, then oh well, we learned to live without them.

But the rest of those comments .....no.

May be it helps that I was 31 when I became a mother, so I'd been on the other end of that crap? May be it helps that I have a couple of friends with fertility problems, and I know their pain from that is much more than how hard things have been for me at times?
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but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 11 Old 11-24-2014, 01:47 PM
 
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The "when you have kids", I agree with, same with putting forth that having kids is the most difficult thing anyone can ever do.

The other 3? Grow up. Yes, parents should be allowed to ask if things are kid friendly. For one, it's a heck of a lot easier to attend an event if your kids are there. Right now, if something isn't kid friendly, assume I won't be there. And it's bogus to suggest that you need "hookers and blow" if a party isn't kid friendly. Especially young kids who need a reasonably child-proofed environment. You could be throwing a freaking Wiggles party and if it's all sharp corners, fine china, and unprotected shelves- not toddler friendly.

For some people, their lives were meaningless pre-kid and, frankly, that's their deal. It doesn't mean "life is meaningless"- it means, their life was meaningless. It's a pretty damn shitty place to be. And it's not uncommon. There are a lot of people whose lives were spiraling out of control and they didn't have the strength to claw themselves out of the pit until they had their first kid. But, no, rather than showing empathy for someone who's giving you a glimpse of a painful past, you take personal offense.

And the dog thing- yes, sometimes it's comparing like circumstances. I don't get why a parent would get bent out of shape over saying "Ugh, I found crap in my hair" and their friend replying with "We're in the process of housebreaking our puppy, I know what you mean". As someone who's dealt with both- frankly, I'd rather handle the baby poo than the dog poo! There are also people who compare very unlike circumstances or even claim their pets as superior to kids.
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#6 of 11 Old 12-06-2014, 02:08 PM
 
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We are always a package deal. I socialize rarely with non parents, but when i do, the kids come along, otherwise i wouldn't bother.

I cant be bothered having conversations where dogs are compared to children, or even entertaining the thought. [

I dont have much time for people who dont have time for my kids, child friendly spaces, times...etc. I live on planet parent happily.
There is no explaining to a non parent what its like, no point in making comparisons, and no real point in expecting them to understand. So i dont go there.

I did socialize just last night with a bunch of non parent friends. My kids came along. These friends were exceptional though, we sing together!

Lastly, much to my dismay, Huffington Post comes up with these vacuous articles more and more often.

Last edited by contactmaya; 12-06-2014 at 02:11 PM. Reason: my child as typing at the same time as me
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#7 of 11 Old 12-07-2014, 05:31 AM
 
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Plenty of non-parents don't mind having kids along, and can even get along with them. I've known a few people who love kids but absolutely don't want to be parents themselves for whatever reason, preferring to be the fun uncle/aunt. Also, it's not uncommon for people who really love you will find themselves loving your kids because they're yours- even if they aren't usually kid people.

There are definitely parents who don't want to be on planet parent and WANT friendships separate from parenthood, but there's nothing wrong with not wanting that.

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#8 of 11 Old 12-07-2014, 10:11 AM
 
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Plenty of non-parents don't mind having kids along, and can even get along with them. I've known a few people who love kids but absolutely don't want to be parents themselves for whatever reason, preferring to be the fun uncle/aunt. Also, it's not uncommon for people who really love you will find themselves loving your kids because they're yours- even if they aren't usually kid people.

There are definitely parents who don't want to be on planet parent and WANT friendships separate from parenthood, but there's nothing wrong with not wanting that.
A life outside of parenting-of course. If you can. Its all a matter of what price you are willing to pay, both in terms of finance,time and effort, and how many resources you have in those areas. I found that 99% went to caring for my kids in whatever form that took. So the remaining 1% isnt enough for me to consider life outside of parenting. However, this will change as they get older. Maybe your children are older now.

Also, i find it infinintely more satisfying, to socialize with other parents/adults, at the same time as children are socializing. I experienced this 3 times in the last month, and everyone was having fun, involving pizza, wine and good conversation. Non parents would most certainly be welcome, but i find they prefer to socialize at a later hour.

I also agree that depending on the setup, its possible and desirable even, for other adults to be with your kids/kids in general. So its not all or nothing. I experienced this just 2 nights ago. The other adults were great entertainers of my kids, and in turn, my kids kept them amused.

But like i said, its a package deal with me. I jus find it too much effort to consider otherwise. Being a single mother is probably part of it.
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#9 of 11 Old 09-25-2015, 03:15 PM
 
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I'm a nanny and a godmother, so I kind of bridge between the non-kid and kid worlds. On the one hand, I spend most of my waking hours with children, and I have very strong and deep relationships both with my charge and my godchild. On the other hand, I'm not a mother. I'm not legally responsible for anyone, and I get to leave when the parents come home.

The dog thing does kind of get on my nerves. Dogs aren't children, and I don't see the comparison. However, I know people for whom their dogs fill the space where a child would have been. They weren't able to have children, so for them, their dog really is their child. It's slightly annoying when they treat their dog like a person, but I get it.

The "kid-friendly" think I understand. The polite thing to do, rather than ask if a party is kid-friendly, is to say, "Oh, I'd love to come, but I don't know if I can find a sitter for the children." This gives the host/ess the option of saying either, "Oh, well bring them along! We'd love to have them." Or, "Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry you can't make it." To ask the question blatantly does put the host/ess in an awkward position and it's borderline rude.

One thing that I find completely rude and annoying, which wasn't on this list, is when mothers and fathers think that they're the only ones who have expertise in childcare or understand what it's like to be in the parenting role. As a nanny, I've had more experience taking care of children (both in the short term and the long term) than many parents do, and I go through the same emotions, worries, and feelings that parents do. I worry about my kids' future, I feel a strong bond with them, I take care to make sure I'm doing right by them, I feel horrible when my patience is tried and I snap, I feel exhausted at times, I sleep lighter when they're there, I worry that they'll get hurt, I'm unfazed by bodily functions, I'm past being insulted when my kids are honest about my looks (Nanny, you have a big bottom!), I go the extra mile for their health (sun cream is rigourously applied, nutritional meals are served, and they always wear a hat), and I love them more than anyone else in the world (apart from Jesus, of course). When I talk to other parents though, I'm put down. "You couldn't understand. You're not a mother. You're just the nanny. You're just the godmother. You don't get it." Well, I know I'm not a mother. And no, I can't empathize with pregnancy or childbirth. But I can empathize with everything else. The fears, the joy, the hysterical laughter and tears, the higher level of consciousness (because they really do mirror you and pick up on EVERYTHING!), the responsibility, the feeling that you're doing something that is so much bigger than you - I empathize completely. And I talk about my charge and godchild to a fault. I start most conversations with, "Ashley said the funniest thing today!" I'm very proud of them, I want the best for them, and I think they're the most beautiful baby and child anyone ever saw. But to parents, none of that matters, because I'm 'just the nanny/godmother.' Sometimes people ask me for advice, thinking I'm a parent, and as soon as they find out I'm 'just a nanny', they put everything I say down, as if I don't know anything. Even though I've been taking care of children for the past 20 years and have worked with over a dozen children (15, actually). But because I'm 'just a nanny', I must know nothing.
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#10 of 11 Old 10-04-2015, 09:08 AM
 
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The "kid-friendly" think I understand. The polite thing to do, rather than ask if a party is kid-friendly, is to say, "Oh, I'd love to come, but I don't know if I can find a sitter for the children." This gives the host/ess the option of saying either, "Oh, well bring them along! We'd love to have them." Or, "Oh, that's too bad. I'm sorry you can't make it." To ask the question blatantly does put the host/ess in an awkward position and it's borderline rude.

One thing that I find completely rude and annoying, which wasn't on this list, is when mothers and fathers think that they're the only ones who have expertise in childcare or understand what it's like to be in the parenting role. As a nanny, I've had more experience taking care of children (both in the short term and the long term) than many parents do, and I go through the same emotions, worries, and feelings that parents do. I worry about my kids' future, I feel a strong bond with them, I take care to make sure I'm doing right by them, I feel horrible when my patience is tried and I snap, I feel exhausted at times, I sleep lighter when they're there, I worry that they'll get hurt, I'm unfazed by bodily functions, I'm past being insulted when my kids are honest about my looks (Nanny, you have a big bottom!), I go the extra mile for their health (sun cream is rigourously applied, nutritional meals are served, and they always wear a hat), and I love them more than anyone else in the world (apart from Jesus, of course). When I talk to other parents though, I'm put down. "You couldn't understand. You're not a mother. You're just the nanny. You're just the godmother. You don't get it." Well, I know I'm not a mother. And no, I can't empathize with pregnancy or childbirth. But I can empathize with everything else. The fears, the joy, the hysterical laughter and tears, the higher level of consciousness (because they really do mirror you and pick up on EVERYTHING!), the responsibility, the feeling that you're doing something that is so much bigger than you - I empathize completely. And I talk about my charge and godchild to a fault. I start most conversations with, "Ashley said the funniest thing today!" I'm very proud of them, I want the best for them, and I think they're the most beautiful baby and child anyone ever saw. But to parents, none of that matters, because I'm 'just the nanny/godmother.' Sometimes people ask me for advice, thinking I'm a parent, and as soon as they find out I'm 'just a nanny', they put everything I say down, as if I don't know anything. Even though I've been taking care of children for the past 20 years and have worked with over a dozen children (15, actually). But because I'm 'just a nanny', I must know nothing.
To play devil's advocate, what parents take issue with is that most childless adults with rigid opinions about parenting are not nannies and do not share your unique expertise. I agree that it's unfair to of parents to judge childless adults with the assumption that they can't possibly know about children. Sometimes you never know who is a teacher, nanny, or anyone else whose life revolves around children.

But there are definitely childless individuals who do not work with children on a daily basis and simply don't Get It. "Parents need to learn to control their children." "Wow. That woman needs to calm down with her kids." These are among the thoughts I used to have before I started having kids. While I had the good sense and discretion not to share them with the parents, not everybody does. I definitely owe a lot of stranger-parents an apology for having judged them, and I try not to get impatient with non-parents who have no clue about the realities of childcare. But if they do get overt with me in their opinions, then yes, I'm going to say something.

All of that said, I honestly enjoy hanging out with my childless friends. It's refreshing to be with another adult and for once be able to discuss books and politics instead of potty learning and soccer practice.
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#11 of 11 Old 10-04-2015, 02:03 PM
 
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To play devil's advocate, what parents take issue with is that most childless adults with rigid opinions about parenting are not nannies and do not share your unique expertise. I agree that it's unfair to of parents to judge childless adults with the assumption that they can't possibly know about children. Sometimes you never know who is a teacher, nanny, or anyone else whose life revolves around children.

But there are definitely childless individuals who do not work with children on a daily basis and simply don't Get It. "Parents need to learn to control their children." "Wow. That woman needs to calm down with her kids." These are among the thoughts I used to have before I started having kids. While I had the good sense and discretion not to share them with the parents, not everybody does. I definitely owe a lot of stranger-parents an apology for having judged them, and I try not to get impatient with non-parents who have no clue about the realities of childcare. But if they do get overt with me in their opinions, then yes, I'm going to say something.

All of that said, I honestly enjoy hanging out with my childless friends. It's refreshing to be with another adult and for once be able to discuss books and politics instead of potty learning and soccer practice.
Yeah, but they make those judgements AFTER they've learned I'm a nanny. When they think I'm a parent, they're all ears and smiles; as soon as I say I'm a nanny, it's like I suddenly don't matter.
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