It seems lately I have become the voice for my friends without children.
Maybe it started several months ago when I posted a blog about not wanting to hold a friend’s baby who had been spitting up á la The Exorcist for hours.
Perhaps it was a few weeks ago when I posted about waiting patiently for coffee when a mother with a screaming toddler cut about a dozen people (already late for work) because her baby was hungry. Several of us told her, in so many words, that, “Bitch, we’re hungry too, and if you don’t get to the back of the line, there will be more than one screaming person in this restaurant…”
However, I’m willing to bet it was most recently when I applauded the owner of Alinea for banning babies after a couple of idiot parents thought it would be a good idea to bring one to a $500+ a plate, exclusive, fine dining restaurant. The baby screamed the entire meal, therefore ruining a once in a lifetime experience for the rest of the guests. Although personally, I could never afford to eat at Alinea (without selling a kidney on the Black Market) but even if I could, I would have been livid.
And finally, today a friend tagged me in some article regarding “Things to never say to parents,” thinking she was cute. She must have forgotten that I too am a writer, and just as easily as some mom behind a keyboard can write about the things to never say and do to parents, child-less people who also own computers can retaliate, although in a much quieter setting, with a giant glass of wine in hand.
On that note, here is a list of things you need to remember when you have children along with some things you should never say to people without them…
Not everyone wants children. Do not ask everyone who has ever been on a second date when they are getting married and having kids or I will start asking you when you are going to lose the baby weight. Oh, is that rude? So is asking me my ovulation schedule.
Just because someone does not want kids, does not mean they hate kids. I personally am not a fan of little dogs, but I am not going to punt your purse puppy when you bring it over, geez. When did me deciding I don’t want to ruin my new dress with spit up mean I automatically wish all babies were banned to Stroller Island? (I am willing to bet my friend David is currently googling it while simultaneously praying it actually exists.) Seriously though, just because I do not have something, doesn't mean I loathe it. I don't have a Maserati either, but I don't see people asking me why I hate Italian sports cars.
“But having kids gives your life purpose…” I want you to stop and think about this one for a second, because while this may seem harmless, what you are basically telling me is my life has no meaning. I could cure cancer, stop world hunger, save all the abused animals of the world, but if I don’t wipe someone else’s ass, it was all for naught I guess. Lots of people did magnificent things without reproducing so before you decide that having kids is the measure of one's life's worth, remember Mother Theresa had no actual children. Isn't it ironic? Don't you think…
“If you don’t have kids, what will you do all day?” Oh I don’t know, perhaps all the other things in life people do every day. I will go to work, travel, spend time with friends, see that new slasher flick, read all of the books, eat all of the food, attend all of the concerts…whatever I want, God! It would be like me saying, “It sure would be nice to stay at home and color and play peek-a-boo all day.”
"You don't have kids so you don't understand…" This is a pretty bold statement to make regarding anything really. No one can possibly understand everyone else's situation. You may have been childless once, but you were never living MY life. You may be drained from the multiple nightly feedings, but perhaps I just pulled an all nighter at the end of my 60 hour work week. Who wins the award for "most tired"? Does it matter? Can't we both just be busy/sleepy/hungry/and numerous other adjectives ending in "y"? This statement sounds condescending, and since we are both exhausted, maybe it's best to keep it to yourself before someone gets punched.
You were without children once. Remember being in a movie theater and having a screaming baby drown out that comedy you were dying to see? Remember missing your train home because some mom decided to bring her double wide stroller on during rush hour? How about the time you and your fiancé were out celebrating your anniversary dinner on date night when a toddler throwing a hissy fit ruined your romantic evening. At some point in your life you were annoyed by some other parent's lack of social courtesy so don't turn around and become that asshole parent you once loathed. After all, karma is real, and the one night you finally get to hire a sitter, guess who's showing up on your date…
Most importantly, for the love of God, stop asking people without children what they are going to do when they get old. It's not like all those people in nursing homes are childless… Plus, children are expensive so while you are blowing all your money on ballet practices and braces, I will be saving for my future, and (fingers crossed) I will be hiring a Ryan Gosling look alike to bring me my prune juice every morning.