Dear Child-Free Friends Who Are Sick To Death Of Kids: I am a parent and I get it. I really do. Kids are annoying. They're loud, they're uncouth, they're always sticky and their parents are obsessed with them regardless, which almost seems to defy logic and science. I'm aware that you might feel like you're all alone in your irritation towards tiny humans, but please allow me to assure you that no one understands you more than literally all mothers and fathers. We live with these little monsters. We know. However, there are some things child-free people need to calm down about. I mean, even though we get it, sometimes y'all get just a little out of hand.
Yes kids can be annoying, but recognize that as someone not actively involved in dealing with them (and I'm not even talking about child-free people vs parents, but rather someone dealing with a particular situation vs someone watching a particular situation) there is information you do not have; there are things you do not know;there are assumptions you make that are, perhaps, completely out of line. Then again, maybe not. Maybe a kid is being truly terrible and their parent isn't even attempting to do anything about it. It definitely happens. Some parents and children are awful. Then again, some kids just have bad days and some parents are just so exhausted that what looks like a horrific situation is really just a mother or father at the end of their proverbial rope. See what I'm saying? You can never truly know unless you're that person, in that particular situation.
Which is why my plea to you all is this; try to give the benefit of the doubt, reach deep down into your soul, and pull up a little zen while simultaneously thinking to yourselves, "Perhaps there are factors here outside of my understanding." In other cases, when you find yourself annoyed by little "Aidan" at a restaurant, there are certain things we parents would like for you to understand about kids that certainly didn't cross my mind before I actually became a parent, and may not cross yours either. Then there are some instances where, for real, and I love you, you need to get some damn perspective and be a compassionate human.
Children Being In Public
I have heard people complain about the presence of children in every conceivable public space known to human kind. Planes. Restaurants. Malls. Museums. Movie theaters. I have, honest to goodness, heard about people complain about children being in parks. Here's the deal: I'm not saying children should run amok, unsupervised like it's Purge-night or whatever. But if you are in a public space, you should be expected to deal with the public. Children are, whether you approve or not, part of the public. Everyone in a public space is duty-bound to make public experiences as pleasant for everyone else in said space. That's just the social contract, dudes. Children have different needs, abilities, and limitations than an adult. Be an adult and just deal with the fact that children are not supposed to be locked up in basements until they're 18 to accommodate your desire for child-free spaces. Chances are, their parents are doing their damn best.
Children Appearing On Social Media
I hear this a lot. "Ugh! Post a picture of something other than your kid! I don't want to see a million and five pictures of your damn kid!" Well, here's a tip: when I didn't want to see a million and five pictures of your brunch, I unfollowed you. It was simple and no big deal and I didn't post passive-aggressive rants about said brunch, and now I can still check in to see how you're doing whenever I want. If pictures of my kids, who constitute a pretty large percentage of "stuff that preoccupies my life" these days offend you (PS: why? It's pictures of kids, for goodness sake. It's not like they're going to crawl through your screen, The Ring style.) just unfollow me.
Children Being Breastfed In Front Of Them
Babies need to eat. Some babies happen to eat boob food. Trust: you'd be more annoying by a shrieking, hungry infant than you apparently are by maybe seeing part of my areola. Chances are you have seen a naked breast before. In fact, chances are you're an owner of naked breasts yourself. It's no big deal. Don't make this a thing, because it's really not a thing. Don't do the, "just do that at home" thing. Don't do the "this is inappropriate" thing. Don't do the "there are children around" thing. Depending on the age, babies need to be fed, on average, about once every 2 hours. If I didn't nurse in public I wouldn't have left my house for the first 6 months or so of my kids' lives. Banishing breastfeeding from public spaces is, in effect, banishing female bodies from public spaces. So, no.
People Talking About Their Children
As I said in regards to social media: my kids are pretty much my main endeavor at the moment, so if you want me to talk personally in any capacity, there's a good chance my children will be involved. They, personally, are a major influence in my life, plus being a parent gives me a parents' perspective. This is my life now, folks.
I get it, and I would never ever suggest someone is required to find the sound of a child wailing adorable or, you know, not annoying. I have two children and, still, when I hear a baby crying endlessly on an airplane, my thoughts are the same as yours."Oh why, dear God, why? Why does this always happen to me?" Listening to a crying child is deeply annoying. But the fact that they're crying in the first place, shouldn't be. Kids cry. It's how babies communicate and, even as they get older, they really don't have a handle on their emotions or adult-level coping skills, like, at all. Of course they're going to cry. Long story short: the crying itself? Annoying AF and may you have the strength to endure it with patience and noise cancelling headphones. The existence of crying? Get over your damn self.
That Their Friends Can't Hang Out As Much Because They Had Kids
Trust me when I say that it's way worse for us. At least you still get to go out with everyone else. Meanwhile, the most exciting kid-free outing I've had recently was to a dentist's appointment, because I haven't had time to get my teeth cleaned in about four years.
Kids Taking More Time To Do Something
I try to be as cognizant of other people as humanly possible when out and about with my mini-humans, and I don't want my kids to impede on your day any more than you want my kids to impede on your day. However, part of bringing my kids in public is teaching them how to behave in public. So, if my toddler is mastering walking while holding my hand and you're behind us or my child is practicing ordering at a restaurant and is stuttering or taking too long and you want your water refilled: I'm sorry you have been inconvenienced. I will do everything in my power to get things moving along for you, but please don't be annoyed that we were trying. They're never going to learn to do anything if they don't try. As with crying, you have every right to be annoyed at the particulars (I'm annoyed too: I can do this shit so much faster than they can) but try to dig down and accept that this is just something that happens.
What Kids Eat Or Don't Eat
We know, we know; if you had kids they would eat what you made them or starve. Uh-huh. I was like you once, friend. I don't know why what someone else eats is annoying to anyone else, but it all-too-often is. Let's all just make a pact, shall we, to try to stop GAF about what other people, including children, consume. I think we'll all be happier.
Parents Saying Bad Things About Parenthood
"All she does is complain about her kids! Why even have kids if all you're going to do is complain about them?"
If you're friends with this person, they probably consider you a safe, non-judgmental outlet, and sometimes you just need to get things off your damn chest. Guys, as you well know: kids are annoying. Parenthood is annoying. That doesn't mean that's all it is, but maybe I need to talk about the annoyances from time to time.
Parents Saying Good Things About Parenthood
Because even though we complain about kids and parenthood, we're still happy with our lives and our choices and our children. Have you never felt two conflicting emotions at once? I did even before I was a parent, and it definitely happens with parenthood, too. We're not faking the happiness. We're not pretending to be happy to irritate you. We're just happy. Try to be happy with us.