13 Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents

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We all know there are certain things we parents say that annoy the happies right out of childless people — things like how difficult life is with kids (the insinuation being that childless people have nothing to complain about) and how meaningless our lives were pre-children (I bet that makes them feel SUPER). As a former non-parent, I totally get why people without kids want us to stop it already. In reflecting on the annoying things parents should never say to non-parents, however, I also began to think about things non-parents should never say to parents. Things like these…

1. Ugh. No way. I don’t ever want to have kids. Like, ever. Well, sweet. Good to know you think our life is so disgusting/annoying/monotonous/wasted/insignificant. Perhaps you’d like to come over and murder our souls as well?

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2. What do you mean you haven’t seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? It’s been out for 3 weeks! Yeah. Believe it or not, we can go 3 weeks without having done laundry, let alone having taken time (and paid for a babysitter) to see a movie or go buy an album or be alone to watch a TV show. (I mean, I’m typing this as I supervise “careful cutting” and set the table for dinner.) We probably won’t see that movie/TV series or hear that song ever. IN OUR WHOLE LIVES.

3. You never call anymore. You can’t imagine how much attention it takes to keep people alive. If you turn around for, like, 5 seconds, somebody’s bound to fall down the steps or start table dancing next to the scalding stove top burner. And once we’ve put those kids to bed (which should be an Olympic event all its own, believe me), we often fall asleep on the couch, glass of Merlot barely touched. (I have a show DVRed that I swear I’ve tried to get through at least a dozen times without success.) It’s not you, it’s us. Really. And we think about calling all the time. That’s gotta count for something, right?

4. We’re having an afternoon picnic in our back yard, but it’s strictly an adult-only event. And we won’t be attending. We understand not every gathering is appropriate for children, but things like barbecues and graduation parties — especially when they’re held outdoors — are things kids could barely screw up even if they tried. (And do you even know how much babysitters cost these days? Let’s just say it ain’t like in The Babysitters Club anymore.) We promise not to bring our spawn to the next pub crawl, if you promise to lighten up a bit.

5. We’re thinking of having a baby, so we’re getting a puppy first to see if we’re cut out for the job. Bitchsaywha? Just because puppies are like babies does not mean puppies are babies. Both are needy — it’s true. Both cry when they’re hungry or need attention — also true. But similar does not mean equal. Puppies are like babies in the same way cinder blocks are like bricks of gold, kittens are like tigers, André is like Dom Pérignon, and a light sprinkle is like a monsoon. To assume raising a puppy and a child are comparable experiences is insulting in a way, not to mention indicative that you’re so not ready for a baby. Want to know what it’s really like? Come on over for a day and check it out. If you survive, you might just be cut out for the job.

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6. You’re not going to start buying “mom jeans”/”dad shorts” now, are you? Only if you start buying things with “douchebag” splayed across them. Just because we’re parents doesn’t mean we’ve completely lost our pre-children identities. We’re still the same people. We just have a new found taste for “Chicks Dig Me” onesies is all. (Get it? Because new babies are like new chicks? And then there’s the whole chicks as in girls? Because stereotypically, girls like babies? So, it’s a play on words? See how they did that?)

7. It must be so relaxing to be home all day with the kids. Yes, it is. In the same way thwarting an apocalyptic alien takeover might be relaxing. It’s wonderful; don’t get me wrong. But it’s a bit much after a while. Try watching 12 hours of Dora the Explorer on repeat. It’s kinda like that.

8. Don’t be so lame! You’re kid-free tonight! Light weight… Yes. Yes, we are. But tomorrow, we’re not. And tomorrow, those kids of ours will deliver a punishment second only to taking a blow torch up the rear should we get too crazy tonight. And if that happens, we just might bring them over to your house for the day. AND YOU DON’T WANT THAT. We’re OMGtotallynotevenkidding.

9. That kid is OUT OF CONTROL! Not that yours is. Just theirs. To be clear, not you. Them. Theirs isn’t the only kid out of control at times, so what this really seems like is, Oh. My. God. All kids are out of control. Oops. I forgot that you also have kids, so I’m just going to pretend like I don’t think your kids are out of control. But they are. They totally, totally are. Yeah. Kids are out of control sometimes. It’s called lacking the capacity for abstract thought and BEING FRICKIN’ KIDS. It’s one thing for people with kids to complain about another couple’s offspring, but people without them? Can’t do it. It’s like when people pick on their siblings; it’s OK for them to do, but not OK for anyone else. Sorry. Them’s is just the rules.

10. Try to be here on time. While seemingly innocent sounding, what we hear is, Jesus. Think you could make an effort to keep a schedule? How hard can it be to put a single tiny human in a car and drive? The answer is hard. Really, really hard. It’s not just the human we have to pack. It’s also the playpen, the bouncy seat, the bottles, the formula, the baby food, the diapers, the wipes, the change of clothes, the butt cream, the thermometer, the snot bulb sucky thing, the baby Tylenol, the gas drops, the Benadryl, the blankets, and the toys. (And I know I forgot something on this list. See? We then have to go back for whatever it is we forgot.)

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11. I didn’t invite you because you never say yes. Please keep inviting us. PLEASE. There’s bound to be a day or an evening or a weekend that will eventually work out, and there’s nothing we’d love more than to accompany you on whatever it is you’re doing — and we mean whatever. We’ve never wanted to do anything more in our whole lives.

12. You look tired. Are you feeling OK? Holy Hell. If spending all night cleaning up puke and wading through poop is OK, then I suppose we’ve never felt better.

13. Well, when I have kids, I’m gonna ____, and my kids will never ____, and the rules will be ____. *silence* *death glare* *crickets* Go fuck yourself.

Related post: 25 Ways You Know You’re a Stay at Home Mom


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    • 2

      Johnnie says

      I, not having kids, agree with all of these, but 4,5,9 and 11.

      4. Nobody is trying to be mean to you by saying that it is an “adult only” event. There are just some situations that are not meant for children. If you don’t want to come, that’s perfectly okay. Actually, your friends might be trying to save you from an embarrassing situation by telling you that it isn’t meant for kids. When adults hang out and many of them do not have children, they like to know that they aren’t going to offend anyone by using sh**, d*mn, fu*k, a*s, or any myriad of words that might not be suitable for children. At an ADULT party, people do not like to be bombarded by kids asking crazy questions, nor do they like having to be something other than themselves by censoring their words so that you or your kids might not be offended.

      5. Many people have started to contemplate children by starting with animals. Some have been successful and some not. Some are not safe taking care of a goldfish. But how dare you act all “mightier than thou”, like you were the parent of the year when you had your first. And just to be concise and succinct…I take better care of my dogs than most do their children.

      9. See the above. Not everything can be chalked up to …”They’re just being kids”. Some children are really nasty and need parents with some sort of control. If you are hearing this by ALL of your friends, then maybe you should consider that the problem isn’t them…it’s your kids and do the parenting, that you seem to pretend like you know how to do all the time.

      11. After about 10 or 11 times, we give up. No one can do it all. And sometimes parents totally get offended by “it’s an adult party”…remember? So hire a half-way decent baby-sitter and join the party every once in a while…Oh wait I forgot…as a non-parent I don’t know how hard that can be…never mind!

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      • 3

        Emmie says

        I am a parent, and I have also had adults-only events (#4). If I can get a sitter, you can too. I’ll even help you arrange it or share mine with you. The issue isn’t usually paying for childcare, it is when a parent can’t stand to leave their kid for a couple of hours.

        Moving along to #11…if you’re one of the aforementioned parents and you show up to a late ladies-night-out dinner with your 5 year old daughter, you’ll either have to deal with not being invited at all or stop sabotaging those #4 adults-only outings.

        The problem with #5 that I’ve witnessed far too many times is that people that do have kids after practice-parenting a pet end up rehoming said pet after baby arrives because they don’t have the time or energy to properly care for the animal anymore. What the hell?

        #9 if you kid is driving me nuts and you’re not reigning them in, I will speak up. If you get all butthurt about it, you can take your brat and go. Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I’m going to like your kid.

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        • 4

          D.W. says

          Emmmie, let’s just hope you and I never meet. Don’t be so quick to judge. What if those parents or children are dealing with more than you, in all your limited experience, could ever imagine? What if that child has autism, or sensory issues? If you ever tried to “speak up” about my children? Yeah. Go.Time. (And chances are, I’m very much not the only parent who’ll feel this way.)

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          • 5

            Alicia Kennelly says

            D.W., guess what? Just because you or your family may be going through a rough time, or your child has special needs or wants does not give you or them license to make everyone else miserable. All too often we see parents using the latest special need du jour as an excuse why everyone else should just give them free rein to terrorize everyone else. There comes a point where one starts presuming too much on the sympathy of others.

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          • 6

            BK says

            I am an advocate and caregiver for children with autism. I am an advocate for their families. I love the clients I work with. My therapy is successful when these families can navigate public settings without a scene being created by their child. Autism is not an excuse.

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          • 7

            Brittany says

            My mother raised 4 children. We never once acted out in public, because that is not how Civilized people act. My parents went to events, leaving us at home, and did things with their friends. My dad is even a drummer in a band. My mom was not a stay at home mom but she raised us to be Smart, Independant, RESPECTFULL people with class and manners. The only “parents” that would get offended with what im saying would be the ones that know their kids are brats. Yes, that child may have a mental or physical issue that no body knows about, because Frankly, its not their business, but that is NOT an excuse to let them behave however THEY want. NO BODY wants to hear your kid screaming at the top of their lungs in the middle of public while you just sit and watch. I AM THE PERSON THAT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT ANNOYING AND OUT OF CONTROL CHILDREN! I am not bagging on being a parent, just being a lazy one that wants to blame their lack of parenting on everyone else.

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      • 8

        Kathy Vargo says

        My comment will be much shorter than originally planned, since Johnnie covered most of the points that I wanted to mention (thanks, Johnnie!) ;) I want to add something to point #4 which has compelled me – as a childless person/mom of two dogs – to not invite parents with their children to events at my home. I have SOME friends (love ‘em!) who bring their children over along with entertainment for said children – and they are ALWAYS welcome!!! However, there is another subset of friends w/kids who have consistently shown up with brood in tow – and with NOTHING for them to play with. Seriously? This leaves me on a mad and desperate scramble for 1. Old toys circa 1975 that might have survived my last move; 2. Dog toys that might double as kid toys (?) 3. Anything that other parents MAY have left in my home at the last party — etc. To add insult to injury, many of them say breezily “don’t worry – little ____ will be happy just playing with your dogs!” No. The dogs, as sweet as they are, happen to be on the elderly side and did NOT sign up for ear pulling/being ridden like a small pony/chased around the coffee table 500 times. PLEASE. Do NOT assume that childless hosts have entertainment for your young ones. We don’t. Have anything. And this includes sippy cups, appropriate non-sugary juice options, bland food, child-proof cabinets, etc etc etc. Plan ahead and bring those kiddies something to do, don’t expect that I have stockpiles of apple juice and Goldfish crackers — and they are ALWAYS welcome in my home! :)))

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        • 9

          Kate says

          Funnily enough, as I was reading this, my first thought regarding the afternoon backyard picnic (note not an evening cocktail party which is clearer-cut) was ‘define adult’ in this context? Normally adult means legally old enough to drink alcohol. In the case of an afternoon BBQ, it could mean no short people who can’t hold a decent conversation, in which case high-schoolers might be ok but precschoolers would not!

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      • 10

        Jay says

        Dear god #10….since you know that you have to bring the child and all of the things, maybe plan ahead? Shit happens and most reasonable people understand that, but at least make an attempt to be respectful of the other person’s time and quit using your “Mom” status as a reason to be exempt from social niceties that are expected of everyone….

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      • 11

        sassyone says

        I disagree with you on 9, as some kids are special needs, and they need to be taken care of fully. Not to use it as an excuse but a child that is upset isn’t nasty or horrible. They need attention and they may not like what’s going on or how to say it nicely at all. I have a friend who wasn’t a mother for the longest time so she could do whatever she wanted and it was fine. Now that she is a mother of one, and one on the way she’s realized how hard it is to parent. But get this, she’s now realizing that having adult parties isn’t so easy to do or attend. She told me last year that for NYE party she must bring jr. to the party and I said “sorry, we’re having an all adult party find a sitter.” she didn’t respond to it well. This is the same woman that would have adult parties and would say that phrase to me. And she would say “no offense, but I’m not having your kids at my party, find a sitter” lol like I am not allowed to be offended by that comment ever! So, I said it back, “no offense but find a sitter.” and she took offense, lol I love it when single people get pregnant end up with kids and realize that it’s not so easy.
        As for you Johnny have fun being a douche bag.

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    • 15

      Melissa says

      I don’t get it either. A baby requires an extra 30 minutes (on a good day) to go grocery shopping for the week. A puppy you put in the training crate and head out the door. Not quite the same amount of work.

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      • 17

        Stephanie says

        It’s to see if you have the patience and ability to keep the animal alive and well maintained, training and care. If you fail as a pet parent, then most likely will not do so well as a parent. Sometimes, for extended periods, where you are able to run off for a day, you will need a sitter for a pet that requires special attention. Not all pets can be categorized into we’ll just crate them. Some are diabetic, some have allergies, some need medicine or they’ll have seizures. Just like a child, you never know what type of health you’ll get in your animal. And so nice of a person to tell a pet parent to just “crate them”. How would you like to be locked up in a cage for 8-15 hours? It would be nice to get out of the hell box and stretch your leg for a few minutes. Just because they’re animals does not mean they should be treated like a prisoner.

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        • 18

          recom1 says

          I’m going to have to disagree with you there, as I think you dove into the extremes. If your bet has allergies/diabetic/needs medicine/ has seizures, you usually have a time schedule to go around. What the person before you was talking about is the fact you don’t have to spend 30 minutes making sure you brought everything just to go grocery shopping. Putting your pet into a crate while you run out to do errands is normal, especially for young ones still being potty/chew trained.

          If I’m lucky, I’m preparing to leave and arrive home in just under 2 hours with my toddler and baby.

          Context, people! Obviously different circumstances require different ways about, but generally, most animals I’ve seen (my husbands side of the family has over 22 cats all together and only two have diabetes/cancer but are super old.) don’t have super special needs.

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      • 20

        Heidi D says

        Having both a dog and two children I can say no, absolutely they are not the same. However, a dog requires that you consider quite a few things before making plans. You need to take care of needs other than your own, you need to develop the habit of taking another entity into consideration. Is it the same as having children? No, of course not. Are there similarities? Yes, certainly. As someone already pointed out, if you can’t take care of a dog, you probably won’t have the patience to deal with a child. Drop everything to clean up a mess because you weren’t paying attention? Buy different food than you are eating? Spend time instructing (training) the creature to have good manners? Well…yes, that too. :)

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    • 21

      Diana says

      #5 is questionable because so many people see pets as cute, interactive toys instead of living creatures entrusted to their care. We got two kittens years before we had any children and learned a lot from them. Everything from responsibility to medical care. Most importantly, childproofing. Never underestimate their cleverness or ingenuity. I’ve seen what two kittens can do with just a bag of bagels, I shudder to think what mischief our 8 month old will get into as he gets older.
      BTW – now that the cats are older and mellower, they are also helping our son learn how to pet and play nice.

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      • 22

        Kristin says

        I’m glad you didn’t throw the kitties away like so many parents seem to do as soon as the babies arrive. I hate it when people do that, it makes my blood boil.

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      • 26

        Lena says

        I agree with most of the comments here. And the author does seem quite angry.

        Another thing;

        ONE thing people with kids NEVER EVER should say to peole that doesn’t have kids (maybe they aren’t able to or they simply don’t want to have any) is this:
        “you miss out on SO much”

        I absolutely hate that comment! What do they know if I/we miss out on a lot because we don’t have kids? It might be that they’re the ones missing out on things as well then. And what if they say it to someone that aren’t able to have kids? That can send a person right over the edge….

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    • 27

      artisanrox says

      It only gets to you if you are someone who is entirely controlled by societal pressure and some sort of bizarre “biological” clock that doesn’t exist.

      Think for yourself. it doesn’t hurt.

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    • 30

      Haley Johnston says

      I literally screamed at a guy and backed him all the way out of my house for this once. At that time my second child was about six months old and he was over with his girlfriend whose children (hers from a previous marriage) were in their teens and he tried telling a group of us, all with kids while he has none, how we should be raising our kids and each and every one of us was doing it incorrectly. I have never spoken to the guy since.

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      • 31

        Mike says

        From what you said, I would venture to guess that he’s happy to never speak to you again even more.

        It’s amusing to see how many parents are screwing up their kids yet react like you describe when it’s pointed out to them.

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        • 32

          recom1 says

          It can depend, although Hailey had said she screamed and backed them out does kind of sound like a person you describe, but I’ve heard people who aren’t parents try to tell parents about super simple things that they think we don’t know about.

          “They shouldn’t be running around naked.” In my fenced-in backyard?
          “Stop letting them run around the house opening and closing the doors, it’s annoying.” My son learning how to open and close doors? He isn’t even slamming them, he’s playing.
          “Ugh, why do you let him scream like that! When I have kids I–” He’s having a blast outside and causing no harm! But sure buddy! I’ll stop him and ruin his fun so you can have some peace and quiet! Okie Dokie!

          I won’t let them choke and die, and I sure as hell wont let them grow up to be rude. But jeez, some non-parents are damned picky and think you can control every fiber of the kids being. Thanks Hitler for the heads up!

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          • 33

            No doubt says

            No doubt you won’t raise them to be rude. Well, you won’t purposely do it. But when your kid watches you cut in front of others, whether it be in a car or using a shopping cart, or you decide that the server is taking too long because, gasp, someone else with kids is taking up his/her time, the kid will see how rude you are, and simply do what you do later in life.

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          • 34

            Angela says

            As a non-parent I generally try not to be vocally judgmental or give unsolicited advice. UNLESS the child is in MY home. My friend’s child, who I adore, and who is old enough to exert some self-control, began to open a display cabinet and remove breakable items that she wanted to see/play with. My friend said nothing to her, so I told her that those items were off-limits. On the same day, the child decided to stand and jump up and down on my brand-new sofa. Again the mother said nothing, so I told the child to stop. Neither time did I yell at the child, or chastise the mother. My friend got a bit upset and used the excuse of “she’s just a child”. However, this is a matter of respect. My house, my rules. Even as a non-parent I am of the opinion that the 5 year old should not be in control. What you do in your own home is your business; in my home, *I* am the adult, and therefore I have every right to express my opinions and demand respect.

            The funny part is, the child did not get upset when told “no” – she is actually a sweet child and immediately listened to what she was being told. My friend was the one who seemed to take offense as if her parenting skills were being attacked.

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