Monday, December 9, 2013

What's all the ruckus about?

So over the weekend I read this article. It's titled 5 Things Parents Need To Stop Saying To Non-Parent.s I thought it was a cute article which was well written and not in the least bit offensive. 

In an attempt to create the least amount of drama possible please just take a look at the article. I stand by how I feel about it. I liked it and I shared it. Gone are the days where when someone doesn't like something they just move along. 

That's something my Mother and Grandmother taught me as well- if something or someone says something that bothers you just ignore it. People will hold different views from you on occasion- and that okay too. 

Anyway- check it out. I'm laying on the couch again today I called out of work and am going to wear my sweatpants and drink tea.. 

I may make a run out to mail my ornament for the ornament exchange and get some fresh air…

Also still no AF and I tested again since some of the meds they want me to take for Strep aren't good if you are pregnant… BFN.. 

Ive included the article text since the link isn't working.. 


First, I should say that I am 100 percent guilty of all of these. I know this reads as an advice list, but really it's advice I'm giving myself. The "you" I am addressing in this piece is me... unless it applies to you; then it is you.
I ran headfirst into this parenting thing, and have gladly and gratefully let it redefine me as a person. One unforeseen side-effect has been that I view everything through the lens of parenting. Sometimes that is a good thing. For instance, I don't leave steak knives lying around as much as I used to. Sometimes -- and this is what I've recently learned -- it can alienate my non-kid-having friends. Here are some things that are better left unsaid.
1. "Dogs are not kids."
It usually goes like this. "Ugh. You know what really bugs me? When so-and-so compares her dog to my kid. Or when so-and-so refers to his or her dog as his or her kid. Dogs are not kids! She has NO IDEA!" 

You know what? Unless "so-and-so" needs professional help, I guarantee "so-and-so" knows that her dog is not a human child. She also knows that having a dog is nothing like having a kid. What she's really saying is "Oh! Yes. I also have something in my life that poops AND brings me joy."
She is trying to relate to you and be a part of your life -- the life where all you do is talk about your kids. I know that it's hard to relate when you have kids and your friends don't. What were once close relationships can become sporadic meet-ups where you do your best to try and catch up with someone with whom you have very little in common anymore. Sure, you two were best buds in college, but now you have very different lives. So, when "so-and-so" offhandedly, and perhaps awkwardly, tries to relate to your story about picking poo out of your bangs by comparing it to scraping dog shit out of the carpet, cut her some slack. She's just trying to be nice. And she misses you.
2. "You think you're [insert anything here]? Try having kids!"
Tired, stressed, in pain, covered in urine, it doesn't matter. They all apply. Too often, we parents downplay non-parents' concerns by pulling ours out and tossing them on the table. "Oh man! You worked 50 hours this week? Try doing that with kids!" "Oh man, you think your feet hurt from working outside all day! I've been chasing my toddler blah blah blahpunch me in the face, please."
It's not a competition. If, on a scale of 1 to Passing Out Awkwardly in the Shower and Waking Up When the Hot Water Runs Out, your friend is at a 7, and three weeks into your first newborn you were at a 9, that DOESN'T MAKE YOUR FRIEND ANY LESS TIRED.
It isn't that your experiences can't be a valid contribution to the conversation, but instead of a "my pain is more painful than your pain" approach, instead, try sympathizing. Why not try using your experience as a new parent to help instead of compete? Say something like, "Whoa! I bet you're tired. When I was tired after my daughter was born, I found that pouring coffee directly into my eyeballs was incredibly useful."
3. "Don't worry, when you have kids you'll..."
... not be grossed out by boogers, know who Dora the Explorer is, be happy... UGH. We've got to quit assuming that everyone is going to have kids. Some people don't want kids and choose not to have them. Some people really want kids and are trying incredibly hard to have them. Indicating to these people that having kids is the only way they will reach some higher level of understanding is both inconsiderate and rude. I don't know what the alternatives to these statements are. Maybe just cut anything that starts with "When you have kids..." out of your repertoire all together. It makes you sound like someone's mom, anyway.
4. "Is the party kid-friendly?"
Unless you and your friend have some previous communication on this topic about how your little one is always welcome, assume the party is not kid-friendly. Don't ask. If it were "kid-friendly" they would have invited you AND your kids, and mentioned the awesome playroom that they will have set up in the basement. By asking your non-kid-having friends if their party is kid friendly you are putting them in the really awkward position of either MAKING their party kid-friendly on the fly, or telling you that the party is NOT kid-friendly which, then, no matter how low-key the party was intended to be in the first place, pretty much requires that they now provide a steady supply of hookers and blow. Don't make your friends set up a kids' room, and definitely don't make them buy hookers and blow.
5. "My life didn't have meaning before I had kids!"
Another way to say this: My life was meaningless before I had kids. Another way: Life without kids is meaningless.
Look, I know this feeling. Sometimes it feels like all the worries I had before my kids were trivial. I understand the urge to convey that feeling into words. Don't do it. Your life may have a different purpose now, but your pre-kid life was an important part of your story, and your non-kid-having friends are a part of that. Don't dismiss that part of your life the way most people skip the foreword to a novel they really want to read. By dismissing the "before" as just a buildup to your kids, you are not only dismissing your friends, but you're also implying that their story has not started yet.
Lastly, if you have done or said any of these things, you don't need to apologize. Just stop saying them. Apologizing will make it worse. I apologized for one of these things, and it came out poorly. It basically sounded like "Oh, you poor, delicate, non-kid-having flower. I am sorry that I was so consumed in my awesome parenting that I was neglectful and dismissive of our friendship. Please forgive me."
There was no forgiveness needed. I hadn't harmed anyone, I'd just annoyed them. Forgiving me would have been like forgiving a fly for landing on you. So, I promise to try and be more aware of how I say things, a better friend and less of a fly. And by less of a fly, I mean that I will not land on you, vomit on you and then try to eat you. College is over. I don't do that stuff anymore.
An earlier version of this piece appeared on John Kinnear's personal blog, Ask Your Dad. You can also find him on Facebook.
This story appears in Issue 59 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffingtonin the iTunes App store, available Friday, July 26.

24 comments:

  1. so sorry you are on the couch again, but hope it's a sweet time of catching up on rest!!!

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    1. Thanks Caroline- I have some movies and things to occupy my time some!

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  2. Can't view the article with that link, but would love to read it.

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    1. Boo broken link! I added the text to the bottom and redid the link too.

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    2. I see it now. Tnx! #4 is kind of a thorn in my side sometimes. We don't ever throw parties, but I do have a friend who will just show up at my house with her 4 & 6 year old without me being prepared...after I've invited her over for a low key glass of wine on the fly. Um, "Would you like to get out of the house and stop over for a glass of wine?" should obviously be considered code for "Just you...getting away from things...adults only" when it comes from a non-mom friend. Am I wrong? Maybe at least ask if I mind if you bring your two super rambunctious kids over to my house which has zero toys or things for kids to do FIRST?

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    3. One of my friends posted the same thing lol. I haven't really experienced much of the party thing, but the dog thing yes. I have nothing to relate parenting too other than taking care of Swish. My biggest complaint is people forgetting to ask about me once and a while in a conversation. Or even Swish.

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  3. How is ANY of that offensive? It's basically "don't be a sanctimonious jerk and assume parenting is the only thing in life"… which should be COMMON SENSE. What part were they bothered by?!?!

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    1. I wouldn't really know since instead of coming to me and being like "hey that post bothered me..." They posted a status about it. If don't think they read it honestly just the title. I haven't experienced all these things but I really liked the way the author mixed it with some humor. I stand by it too and would post it again :)

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  4. really feel like all of that article could be applied not just to parents to non-parents, but just as a general "don't be rude," try to be a slightly more thoughtful human being advice column. It's really quite benign. If you know people who took issue with it, that's on them, not on you.

    Feel better! I hope the antibiotics are getting to work and that you'll be feeling great soon.

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    1. I agree too! Thank you I'm feeling much better!

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  5. Oh wow I hope you are better soon! I viewed the article before it gave me a great laugh. Thanks for sharing again.

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    1. I laughed too.. if I thought it would offend anyone I would have never posted it!

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  6. Hoping you are feeling better soon.

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  7. I like this article. I think it's a good view point that a lot of people just don't know about, and it's helpful to read it.

    I really struggle with my sister - who is guilty of all of these things. I love her dearly, but she downplays everything in my life because I don't have kids, so it HAS to be easier/less meaningful. She just doesn't understand that it's hard to hear that all the time. I would happily trade my day for an even busier one filled with cartoons, diapers and my own child. But life hasn't worked out that way for me so far. It doesn't make the life I have is easy or meaningless.

    There is a definitely a double standard when it comes to whats acceptable with parents vs. non-parents.

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    1. I agree a lot of my parent friends post daily about everything under the sun, but I post one thing and its the end of the world. I liked the article a lot because it had that under tone of humor with it!

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  8. Thank you for sharing this article. I feel all it is doing is trying to make people be more aware of others situations and not be so insensitive or inconsiderate. I may even share it on fb myself one of these days (I am banning myself from fb for now to avoid the baby announcements and all that fun stuff).
    Hope you start feeling 100% soon!

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    1. Im glad you liked it! I've been banning myself too and more so now. FB is evil anyway.

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  9. LOL that is a funny article. Especially the part about hookers and blow. I hope you feel better soon.

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  10. I love that article! I don't understand what I fuss is about, especially because it's written from a parent who readily admits to doing many of these things in the past. Now I want to post it on my wall and start my own controversy!

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  11. I really love this. Its perfect. People used to do this to me all the time before I started TTC and after I was trying and not succeeding. It was hurtful and annoying. I try hard not to do these things or say these things. You don't know someone else's story. May I get your permission to repost this on my blog? I think you spelled it out nicely.
    MissC

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    1. Absolutely! I found it on the land of Facebook and it really hit home for me! Glad that it touched you too!

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