The Huffington Post published an entertaining piece about 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents earlier this month.
I think the advice was spot-on. My favorite example: “My life didn’t have meaning before I had kids!”
Seriously, how self-absorbed and rude could you be to someone who doesn’t have a child?
Now it’s my turn to flip the Huffington Post article around and offer up these gems of advice for all the non-parents out there who like to utter these observations to their parental counterparts.
1. “You look GREAT for having kids!”
Don’t get me wrong. Being told “You look great” is a wonderful compliment and I’ll gladly take it whenever offered. It’s the latter part of that phrase that irks me. Honestly, would you think I only looked “so-so” if I was childless? Is it expected that every mom’s body will automatically morph into mush after pushing another human being out of her?
2. Stop saying “they grow up so fast” or to “cherish every moment” with my children.
Believe me, I love my children more than anything. I know that someday I will look back upon the chaotic, messy house, the constant drive-through dinners, the sibling squabbles, the incessant shoe tying, slathering on sunscreen, juggling car seats, and everything else that requires my 24/7 attention. But that time is not now. I do not cherish every moment. I may regret not maintaining a scrapbook documenting every priceless milestone, but that regret will plague me whether or not you remind me about how mindless I am.
3. “You just need a night of partying to help you unwind.”
No matter how great your argument, you will never convince me that tipping back a few at a club will erase my stress level. In fact, it will lead me to feel even worse about myself the next morning. Because when you’re a mom, there is no way to turn off the alarm clock. My alarm clocks require food, clothing, and attention. Yes, I can stumble out into the living room, turn on the TV, and plop open boxes of cereal in front of each of my three kids before returning to my bedroom (not that I’ve ever done that before, just theorizing). But that doesn’t help me unwind. That just reminds me that I’m not willing or able to make homemade pancakes like the other, better moms out there.
4. “Why couldn’t you manage to make it into work? I drove through the snow just fine.”
That’s great you made it into your cushy office in your four-wheel drive vehicle without experiencing any traffic issues whatsoever. Me on the other hand? I not only have to talk my kids off the ledge due to the fact they can’t play in the snow right at this very moment, but I also must get them dressed and transported to day cares and schools throughout various non-plowed neighborhoods. It’s one thing for me to risk my own life in a front-wheel drive minivan, but I don’t want to risk getting stranded with three disgruntled children in a cold, tin box. Personal Time Off will always be the better option.
5. “There are no trendy restaurants in this town.”
First thing’s first: I hate you for wanting to be trendy. I want to punch you right out of your skinny jeans. Secondly, food is supposed to be eaten and enjoyed – not over analyzed. I could care less about a restaurant’s atmosphere, unless my husband and I are celebrating our anniversary. I expect speed and cleanliness (in that order) the other 364 days out of the year. Also, find something better to rant about. Seriously.
Heidi Woodard is a working-mom with three children.
Read her Thursdays on momaha.com
* * *