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?

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?

Related post: Talk To You in 30 Years

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.

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.

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

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.)

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.


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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

        Liz says

        Agreed! Thank you for your rebuttal. In any case, this author seems very angry, so maybe she’s not handling motherhood as well as she’d like us all to think.

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        • 5

          rosie says

          I think that is a little rough…..the article is meant to be a little funny and tongue in cheek…..no need to be nasty and go after her abilities to handle being a mother….

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        • 6

          Tuesday says

          I’m not a mom and this is NOT by choice. It’s lonely and painful — *all the time.* We’re isolated, judged, misunderstood by the women who are moms, rather like this mom. It’s hard to find friends who understand what your life is like because there are so few people traveling a similar road. We live on the outside of life, looking in. Every day. This is an angry article and I’m sorry she’s so angry. As far as adults-only parties, perhaps your childless friend wants to connect with you as a fellow adult and doesn’t want to be reminded of what she doesn’t have. Believe me, the childless are around parents much more than parents are around the childless because there are just more of you than there are of us, so please give US a break if we want a child-free party and DO try to attend. There needs to be a way to facilitate better empathy between the haves and the have-nots. I don’t think snark is the way.

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      • 7

        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

        Linda Bevier-Vian says

        I am an adult and I would not want to go to a party if people were using those words. So that is not a valid excuse to leave children out. I started helping with my baby brother when I was 8 1/2. I am now a 62 year old grandmother raising my 16 year old and helping with my 3 year old Grandsons. So I know about kids, and so called adults.

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      • 10

        Katie says

        Thank god there’s a voice of reason in these comments. This author is really confirming my suspicions that I might always be child-free. If motherhood is anything like this, and makes me THIS bitter, then I’m certainly dodging a bullet.

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      • 11

        Mpk3 says

        How rude of you to say that you take better of care of your dogs than ‘most’ other people do their children. The attitude of non-parents is becoming absolutely absurd to me the older I get! YOU are not f’ing holier than thou because you chose not to have kids. All kids act up from time to time. Some are worse than others, but that does not mean you get to judge and say that they need parents that can control them. You raise a f’in kid and let’s see you control him/her 100% all the time. Let’s see you try to find a sitter every time your child isn’t welcome. It’s just not as easy as you think it may be.

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        • 12

          Cat says

          “You raise a f’in kid and let’s see you control him/her 100% all the time. Let’s see you try to find a sitter every time your child isn’t welcome. It’s just not as easy as you think it may be.”

          UM NO. We childless chose not to have kids for a reason.
          We DON’T WANT THE HASSLE! We completely understand that it is not easy, that is why we don’t want them. HELLO?! No one MADE you have your kid(s). If you can’t get a sitter, live with the consequences of having children and STAY THE HELL HOME when kids are not welcome.

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    • 16

      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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      • 18

        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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        • 19

          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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      • 21

        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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      • 25

        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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    • 26

      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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    • 29

      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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      • 30

        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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        • 31

          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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