Were you a jerk before you had children? I definitely was. I was definitely one of those people rolling my eyes at the exhausted woman in the restaurant struggling with her 4-year-old to keep him from throwing everything that was on the table onto the floor while her baby was by her side screaming — all the while letting her own food go cold and eventually leaving with only having eaten a few bites.
“Ugh, why can’t she just take them outside?” I would think. Little did I know it was the first meal she’d eaten out in months, and she desperately needed a break away from the house. But how dare she infringe on MY right not to be annoyed?? Why should I have to practice patience or tolerance or self-control? That’s what she should have been teaching her kids to do!
Sound familiar? There are a lot of things that childless people say or think about children that are absolutely fucking clueless at best and devoid of any compassion at worst.
Most of those people end up eating those “famous last words” when they actually have children of their own and find out what it means to be ON 24/7 while trying to maintain some semblance of control and realizing that you actually have none, but that if you work really hard, you can guide your children to become caring, responsible and compassionate adults — but not without a lot of hiccups along the way, all of which will be accompanied by some judgey asshole rolling their eyes in the corner and snarking about your shortcomings and how they would do it differently.
Here are a few more of those famous last words that you’ve probably heard from childless friends (or maybe said yourself):
“I won’t let myself gain all that weight when I get pregnant. After I have the baby, I’ll lose all my pregnancy weight.”
hahahhahahahahahaha rofl hahaha. kekekeke. Hold on– hahahahahaha. OK, I’m good. No — hahahahaha. That is so cute. And so fucking clueless. Sure, maybe you’re one of the lucky few who didn’t gain a lot of weight, and I’m sure I’ll hear your self-righteous protestations in the comments. But, if you’re like a majority of women, you probably said you weren’t going to lose weight and ended up gaining way more than you “should” have. You may have eaten a perfect diet, exercised every day of your pregnancy and still gained 70 pounds. THAT HAPPENS. Because you have very little control over what your body does when it’s pregnant. Eating healthy is absolutely important, and for some women, doing so can control weight gain, but for others, it won’t matter what you eat since you’ll gain as much as your body needs to gain for your particular pregnancy.
Don’t even get me started on the shit storm that can happen after you have the baby.
“Why do people have to make their Facebook profile picture of their kid? Why is all they ever post about their kid? Don’t they have lives of their own anymore?”
No. And yes. No, we don’t have lives anymore that are not fundamentally focused on our children. Yes, we have lives, but those lives are changed. Caring about your kids isn’t a character defect. They aren’t puppies that we trot out when it’s convenient. They aren’t cute little trophies. So, yeah, they’re kind of important, and most of us parents think that they’re the cutest babies in the world and want other people to know and recognize their dominion over cute, and so we share their pictures.
Also, can we not forget that Facebook is for sharing? I post all the pictures of my kid so that my friends and family who live out of state can see her. Sorry, should I be posting more memes about Duck Dynasty or pictures of my drunken weekend instead? Because I don’t hear anyone complaining about that.
“Why do people have to talk about their kids all the time? Don’t they have anything else to talk about?”
So, you’re up all night because your baby just won’t stop crying, then you
wake up finally give up and start the day, dragging yourself around with a cup of coffee in hand, only to have your baby cover you with the most epic explosive shit you have ever seen (you’re almost not even mad you’re so impressed), and then you finally get her to take a nap (her longest yet!) and she wakes up and smiles at you for the first time.
What the fuck else are you supposed to talk about in that day? Somewhere in there, did you have time to read an interesting article on HuffPost? No. While your baby was screaming in your ear, did you have a moment to contemplate Camus’ existentialist dilemma? Fuck no. The most exciting things that happened to you involved your baby. If a stranger covered you in shit, your sick grandma finally slept for four hours after being awake in pain for days, or if the person who would become the love of your life smiled at you for the first time, they would become totally acceptable stories. But they were about your baby? BORING. Get a life, loser!
Having a baby is one of the most life-changing things that can happen to you. It’s exciting, exhausting, thrilling, awe-inspiring and terrifying. Of course, you’re going to be talking about it all the time. In fact, if people heard you being blase about it, they’d probably talk shit about your parenting.
Also, childless people, we don’t like hearing you talk about that new guy you’re seeing, your asshole boss or the newest episode of The Real Housewives ALL THE TIME either. But most of us have enough sense to at least pretend to be interested and then move on — because that’s what it means to be a good friend.
“I would never let my kids do that.”
Usually, “eat all that junk food,” “watch all that TV,” or something similar. Here’s a little head’s up to help make your transition to parenting (if you choose to take it on) an easier one: Yes, you will. I swore I wasn’t going to give my daughter sugar until she was much older. Then she was clawing on my leg screaming at top volumes when everyone else in the room was eating a cookie and the only way to calm her down was to give her a small piece (not even a full bite). Since then, I’ve realized that a little bit doesn’t hurt. I stopped seeing sugar as the devil and started allowing it in moderation, which is much more healthy anyway.
I also swore that I wouldn’t let her watch TV until she was at least 2, and that I would limit it to only a couple hours a day long after that. Well, we’re sitting here watching Pocoyo together right now, and as soon as this episode is over, she’s going to clamor for another one because it’s her new addiction. Sometimes, I have to make a decision between doing the work that’s necessary to make money to feed my family and turning on Pocoyo for an hour or so a day to keep Quinn occupied. Sure, she plays independently plenty, but videos keep her calm and quiet — and that’s totally fine. She can still be a Harvard scholar one day, if that’s what she chooses.
The point is that you never know what you’ll “never” do until you’re faced with necessity or you have to confront your ideals and see if they were as important as you once thought they were.
“Why wouldn’t you just take your kids out of the store/restaurant/other public place if they are crying or misbehaving? My kid would never be allowed to act like that.”
hahahahhahaha Oh. Your kid will act like that. Your kid will want a lollipop NOW that you won’t let him have — and he’ll be very vocal in his displeasure. The more you try to calm him, the more upset he will be. And it WILL happen when you are in the middle of a grocery run for toilet paper when you are already out and don’t have a single other tissue product in the house because you’ve been stealing the old fast food napkins from the drawer for days while waiting for a good time to go to the grocery store between naps and when your kid was in a good mood. There goes that. Not everyone can just drop everything and leave a place because you are annoyed. And they shouldn’t have to.
Kids get upset. They get cranky. They get tired. They get hungry. And most of the time, they don’t know how to express that other than to cry or to act in inappropriate ways. The irony is that it’s all totally appropriate behavior for their age. What’s not appropriate is grown adults acting like children and throwing a tantrum because their quiet thoughts have to be interrupted by another person. How dare they? Don’t people know you have rights?! Like the right not to be disturbed while you’re eating or shopping in public. Oh, wait. That’s not in the constitution? What about the law? Oh. Oh, no?
I mean, I get it. I totally ask people to get up and leave when they are talking too loudly at the dinner table next to me, or when a couple has an argument and starts getting too loud when I’m shopping, or when someone is cackling like a hyena or keeps walking in my way in the aisle. Oh yeah. I don’t do that. I don’t even expect it. But they’re adults! So that makes their behavior… OK?
“I would never ignore my kids when they’re calling my name over and over and asking a million questions.”
I’m sure you’re right. I’m sure you will totally be up to the task of explaining why birds have feathers but dogs don’t 400 different ways in the space of 10 minutes. I’m sure you’ll also realize what the rest of us don’t: That every time your kid says “Mommy!” it’s for a totally important reason. It’s not like the calls for attention can be distinguished to know which are truly a need and which are just vocal exercising. Because, you know, answering the first “Mommy!” will totally stop the others from following. It’s not like your kid will just keep saying “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” even if you say “Yes, my love?” after each one. That would never happen.
“I’m not going to stop having a life/seeing friends/going out because I have a kid.”
Maybe not. Maybe you will have no problem getting (or paying for) a babysitter and will go out every weekend and party with friends and have dinners and go to movies and take vacations. Of course, all your friends will talk about you behind your back and imply that you’re a careless parent if you do. But then if you spend all your time with your kids like those same Judgey McJudgersons seem to imply that you need to do, you’ll have other people whispering about how you have no life. Somewhere in there is the perfect balance of going out and caring for your kids, but I’m sure everyone has a different opinion of where it is.
The point is that you decide whether your life is happy or interesting or exciting or fulfilling. Fuck what other people think about how you spend your time and whether it’s interesting or worthwhile enough. I haven’t been to see a movie in months, and on the blue moon that I do go out to dinner, it’s with my child. Forget about concerts, art shows, or parties. But you know what? That’s the why I like it. I can’t fucking stand people, but I love my kid. So it’s all good here.
“Can’t you just get a sitter?”
hahahaha um, no. Let me just wave my magic wand and find a person that I don’t think is crazy and actually trust to watch my kid all the time, then let me wave it again so that I either have the money to pay $10-$15 per hour for that sitter or that I have a friend willing to do it for free and is available every time I need her. Yes, now I see how easy that is. I’ll just get a sitter! Then I can go and enjoy a child-free and relaxing dinner while my baby is home with a stranger who may or may not be appropriately dealing with her screaming and may or may not know just how to get her to sleep without three hours of trauma, and every minute is draining my pocketbook. Done. Totally easy.
“Why would you take your baby to a movie?”
Because I’m supposed to have a life and have other things to talk about besides my baby, right? Also because infancy is the absolute best time to take your kid to a movie. They just lie in your arms and eat or sleep and most of the time don’t make a peep. It’s the ideal solution. It’s not until they start walking that going to the movies becomes a problem.
What other things have your childless friends said to you or that you said yourself as a childless person that you now realize is totally BS? Share it in the comments!