I am getting really tired of all the Things You Should Never Say lists. Some of them contain good advice but my immediate reaction when I see one of those titles is, “I’m an adult and I’ll say whatever I damn well please.” Okay, so that’s my issue. But seriously, a lot of them are basically just, “I don’t want to hear it and I don’t want to put on my big girl panties and deal with it.”
So, just for fun, let’s go through a list that applies to me. (or could have at one time. My kids are adults now) 13 Things Non-Parents Should Never Say to Parents
1. Ugh. No way. I don’t ever want to have kids. Like, ever. – This is just fine. In fact, if this is your opinion it’s likely a good thing if you don’t reproduce.
2. What do you mean you haven’t seen that movie/heard that song/checked out that new TV series yet? – I actually love when people do this. I get a little snob cred for not having seen the show that everybody is watching.
3. You never call anymore. – No one ever says this to me because I rarely call anyone but I can see how this could be annoying. It sounds needy.
4. We’re having an afternoon picnic in our back yard, but it’s strictly an adult-only event. – There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an adults only event. Yes, it might be a hassle for parents but most parents do enjoy getting away from the kids for a couple of hours once in a while. However, the article does have a good point about outdoor events and if all of your events are adults only your friends who have kids might not continue to be your friends.
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. – Okay, this is just stupid but go ahead and say it. We parents will have great fun talking about you later.
6. You’re not going to start buying “mom jeans”/”dad shorts” now, are you? – Well, you know… some of us grow up and some of us don’t. Whether or not we have kids doesn’t have much to do with it.
7. It must be so relaxing to be home all day with the kids. – This one just makes us feel smug so please do say it.
8. Don’t be so lame! You’re kid-free tonight! Light weight… – Kind of pushy and rude but if you would say this I’m sure we already knew that about you.
9. That kid is OUT OF CONTROL! – Very often justified. It’s true that even good parents have kids who are not always good in public but these days too many parents just don’t even try. So please do say this. Say it out loud so everyone can hear. The innocent will understand. The guilty will be offended. But maybe if they hear it often enough… (ADDED: It depends on the age of the kid. You must keep in mind that until about age 3 or 4 “out of control” is completely normal.)
10. Try to be here on time. – Oh yes, everyone please do try to be on time, always. Having kids is no excuse for habitual lateness. I was almost always on time when my kids were little because I allowed myself extra time for the inevitable delays. And because I was almost always on time my kids are now adults who understand the importance of being on time.
11. I didn’t invite you because you never say yes. – Well, this one is a little sad.
12. You look tired. Are you feeling OK? – A polite expression of concern. Nothing wrong with it. I do hate to be asked “Are you okay?” If I’m not lying on the floor turning blue then, yes, I’m okay. But a simple, “You look tired”? A little sympathy is always nice as long as you’re not creepy and smothering.
13. Well, when I have kids, I’m gonna ____, and my kids will never ____, and the rules will be ____. – Ah, this is another one of those things that make us feel smug and superior. Please go ahead and say it. We parents will have a good laugh at your expense later.
So you see, it’s all about attitude. You can spend your life whining about how mean people are to you and how they just don’t understand or you can respect other people’s right to have and express opinions and find ways to deal with them or even have fun with them.