Every once in a while when the moon is sliced perfectly in half and the sitter shows up on time, I find myself attending an event with childless people. I stand in the sea of them and realize (for the millionth time) that being a parent is hard. The childless are fascinating creatures, but are largely best observed from afar. It’s not that they’re so different than those of us with kids — it’s that most of them don’t realize the ways in which we are different and the ways in which we are not. We need go remember to order shirts that say "Parents Are People Too" but we really have quite a lot on our plates already.
The truth is, if you don't have kids yourself, are things you should never say to a parent. Just as we parents look on the kid-free with curious wonder and occasional disdain, they often look upon us with confusion and unrestrained pity. Neither of these viewpoints are necessarily fair to the other category, as both are predicated by stereotypes and nonsense, but since I am Team Parenthood, I’m picking a side and feel completely justified in tearing down the childless for my own amusement... OK, for the record, I don’t actually feel justified in that and feel super guilty for typing it out. I love my kid-free friends But, sorry, there are some things that the childless people of the world need to know that they apparently don’t. For starters, those who haven’t done the whole procreation or adoption or acquiring dependents thing, really need to stop saying these things to parents:
"Why Is Your Kid Doing That?"
I mean, you got me? I know why my kid does a lot of things, but those awesome little beasts are creatures of mystery sometimes. If I actually knew, don’t you think I’d do something about it?
"Why Do You Look So Tired?"
Your brain doesn’t even have the attention span for me to answer that question honestly. The list is too long. So long. So tired.
"They're Going To Grow Out Of That, Right?"
Here's hoping. But thanks for reminding me that my kid's current stage of development brings with it a lot of annoying stuff. So new topic, please.
"When Was The Last Time You Had Sex?"
For the record, this question shouldn’t be asked ever. Like, actually ever. Unless, maybe, it’s being asked by your partner because both of you have been so tired that you can’t remember, but even still, that’s OK because there’s always something new on Netflix and your love doesn’t revolve around physical gratification. Anyway, reminding parents that they have no time for sex isn't, like, the best thing you could do.
"Why Is Your Kid Making That Noise?"
Because it senses your weakness and is exploiting it. Be honest: If my child came over right now and said they would stop making that sound for five hundred dollars, you’d consider it. That’s what genius looks like in the body of an 8-year-old.
"Are They Singing While Going To The Bathroom?"
Yep. Mind your business.
"Can’t You Just Get A Sitter?"
Can’t you just schedule your stupid gathering for a time other than 11 p.m. on a school night when I’d rather be doing literally anything else?
"You’re Not Any Fun Since You Had A Kid."
Well, would you still say that if you knew I drank an entire bottle of wine before walking my kid to the bus stop this morning? I DIDN'T THINK SO.
"Are You Worried That They Got Your [Implicitly Questionable] Genes?"
I mean, actually yes, very much so.
Let me stop you right there. Nothing you’re going to say after that point is going to be OK for two reasons:
- Because I’m way too tired to care and probably won’t listen to the sentence anyway
- Because you don’t have kids and the tone in your voice clearly indicates this is going to be parenting advice
"How Long Did It Take You To Conceive?"
Can you not? More wine. Please. Now.
"You Look Really Good For Having A Kid!"
Actually, can you add some vodka to that wine? Let’s be honest, I look really good regardless of whether or not I’ve had a kid, and you qualifying that compliment not only makes it decidedly not a compliment, but also reinforces the idea that women's bodies are somehow inherently less awesome after having kids. And just...no.
"I Can't Seem To Get Enough Time For Myself."
Come at me.