Before we even begin, I'd like to state a few things up front. One, I know not all child-free people are judgmental. Two, I know people with kids unfairly judge people without kids, too. And three, there are exceptions to every rule and situation. But there are things child-free people shouldn't judge parents for that are worth highlighting over, and over, and over again. Because, guys, there's a lot of side-eye being thrown around for no damn reason.
A lot of the judgement, honestly, comes from just not knowing what's up. I'm not saying that from a place of smug condescension, either. People don't know what they don't know. All you can do is look at a situation through the lens of your own experience, and we should all just admit that sometimes parents do things that may look counter-intuitive, weird, or downright rude to those who don't have first-hand parenting experience.
I'm not necessarily saying parents need to be graded on a curve, but I think we often need to be graded on a different set of criteria. Because there is a method to our madness, though. No, really! I promise! So moving forward, please consider the following.
Inability To Attend Social Events
Because sometimes parents really just can't — either there's no babysitter or money for one, or they can't be away from their baby due to breastfeeding, or any one of a million other reasons — and sometimes they can't even. Like, yeah, technically there's a babysitter available and the funds to pay them and your child can spare you for a few hours... but you're just so damn tired.
Honestly, until you're there you may not be able to understand that both are completely acceptable, but they really are.
Bringing A Child Somewhere They Feel A Child Doesn't Belong
First of all, it's honestly sort of rare that a child isn't permitted somewhere, so often this judgement call is extremely subjective. Like, I'm sorry you don't think I should have brought my crying baby to the DMV, but they make you renew your license in person and not only am I allowed to bring my kid, I'm actually not allowed to leave them in my apartment by themselves for God knows how long. Trust me, I'm not having fun either.
Go out in public, deal with the public, and babies are part of that population.
Not Bringing A Child To A Social Event
"Oh good! You could make it! Where's the baby?"
"Oh, we left him at home."
"What! I wanted baby snuggles! Booooo! *whispers to another guest* They never bring the baby anywhere! It's like they didn't even want him."
Nope. I love that kid, but he and I hang out all the time and when I'm out with friends I want a break from the daily cares and tasks and stressors that go along with parenting a small human. Plus, I don't want to throw off their schedule or overwhelm them with a million and seven people at this cocktail party, in your definitely-not-childproofed home. I don't expect you to childproof your home, either! You don't have kids! It's cool! What's not cool or fun, however, is spending my night out following my kid's every move so that they don't destroy your all white furniture or antique crystal that's right at their eye-level.
"Letting Themselves Go"
Honestly, if you judge someone based on their looks just know you're a garbage person, and whether or not you have kids doesn't even factor into your trash.
A lot of people without children claim parents are constantly coddling their children. "Coddling" can take a number of forms — being held to much, having their nap schedule accommodated, being breastfed on demand, not being left with a sitter, not being disciplined in the way the person thinks they should be disciplined, not being forced to eat vegetables, the list goes on. I know I certainly engaged in some of this before I had kids. But the truth? Parents almost certainly know how to deal with their kids better than you do.
Leaving Places Early
Yes, I know that people will probably be staying until 1 a.m., but my kid is waking up at 5 a.m. regardless and DGAF if I only got three hours of sleep.
Not Being As Available Or Communicative As They Were Pre-Kids
There's only so much time and brain space, folks. Sometimes parents are garbage friends and, trust me, they don't mean to be. In time, if you stick with them, they'll get better. I'm not saying you should let them completely ignore you or walk all over you or anything, but give them some grace if you can.
Needing To Plan Way In Advance
They don't like it any more than you do, I promise, but planning anything takes time, sometimes weeks in advance (and, if the kids are older and involved in activities, maybe even months, to be honest). So if you give them a couple days notice on a birthday dinner, it's not that your birthday isn't important to them, it's that they can't get everything together in that amount of time.
What (Or How) Children Eat
I don't often like to whip out the "you have no idea" on child-free people, because I find it condescending and rude. But, honestly, so is judging what anyone is eating.
So... you have no idea.
How Parents Handle A Child's Crying Or Tantrum
"Why are they just ignoring the screaming kid. Do something!"
"Stop feeding into it! Ignore them!"
"Why are they trying to reason with the kid? Show them who's boss!"
"Why are they being stern? Give the kid a hug!"
"Why are they hugging the kid? They're being naughty!"
Different kids will require different things when they're crying and/or throwing a massive tantrum, and sometimes the best thing you can do is ignore it until it passes. Again, unless someone is being patently abusive, just trust that the parent probably knows what they're doing.
Being Out Of The Loop About Anything Pop Culture Related
I'm sorry, but I've been watching Curious George pretty exclusively these days. I've probably gone to the movies five times in eight years and three of those movies were rated G. I go to bed at 9 p.m. and not a minute later. Please don't judge me. I'm just so tired.