Published on December 8th, 2012 | by Rayne36
Tips for parents who want to interact with the childfree
Note: This post only applies to parents that exhibit these behaviours – not all parents. I cannot stress this enough. Feel free to share my posts with everyone.
We all know people in general can be annoying. People can be tactless and insulting without realising it.
Today the people I’m talking about are parents.
My readers have hopefully realised by now that I’m an indiscriminate bitch. If you throw bullshit – I’ll call you on it. So before commenters start with the “You just hate parents because you’re childfree!” or “You hate kids because you’re childfree”, as I’ve mentioned before – there’s a difference between disliking a behaviour and disliking a person. I don’t dislike parents, I have parents and I love them. If I truly had an issue with parents, I wouldn’t associate with them at all; however there are some behaviours that some parents display that annoy me. A lot of behaviours annoy me but this post is directed at parents because typically an individual won’t display these behaviours unless they have or want children.
To help me with my post, I asked those over at the Childfree Life Forums for a little help to get a more comprehensive list of annoying behaviours that parents display.
We’ll start with a list of annoying behaviours and why they are annoying:
Bingoing and attempting to convince us to have kids: This is rude. I get the vague impression from parents when they attempt to convince me to have children or interrogate me as to why I don’t have children or bingo me in anyway – they are attempting to reassure themselves that their decision to have/keep their children was the right one. Why else would someone attempt to impose their life choices on others? Childfree by choice people are the window into a life that a parent could have had if they didn’t have children and some parents don’t seem to like that.
Fishing for compliments: This often happens via showing photos of children often without asking first or talking about your child’s milestones and expecting compliments. Please ask before shoving pictures of your kids in my face. I know you’re all proud and excited over your child but not everyone cares.
Telling asinine stories about a child’s normal milestones and acting like they’re going to be the next Beethoven (without the STD): Some people may be interested in hearing about your kids normal milestones but acting like they are the first child ever to walk on two legs or speak fluently just makes you look pretentious. It feels like you want praise and adoration for raising such a (perceived) talented child.
Talking about nothing but their children: I like having conversations with parents but not when every one of them revolves around their child. Talking about the same topic over and over again gets boring and talking about your child to me makes me feel like I’m being talked at, not that I’m having an actual conversation with you.
Their kids have to go everywhere with them: I like going out to all sorts of places. I’d like to go out without having to find child friendly places all the time. I’m sure getting a sitter for one night isn’t going to mean the end of everything.
Generally being a patronising jerk: Talking about how “You could never understand, you’re not a mother/father” or talking about how much more responsible parents are without taking into consideration that childfree people have responsibilities as well. What’s more responsible than deciding that children would make you unhappy or economically unstable and choosing not to have them? As opposed to bringing a child into the world because everyone else around you is having them and being in debt because raising a child costs a lot of money? Childfree people do understand how hard it is to raise a child – that’s why we don’t want them.
Making their time more valuable, “because they have kids”: Such as saying that you should be the one covering a shift at work, because you “Have nothing better to do”. A childfree person has a life and things we enjoy. Just because we don’t have children doesn’t mean our time isn’t any less valuable than yours. Ultimately becoming a parent is a choice. If the condom breaks or you don’t use protection – it was still a choice to continue with the pregnancy and not give the child away once it was born. You made your choice and using your child as a way to get out of doing over time is basically using your child as a weapon to get what you want. Deal with the consequences.
Saying that your love for your partner is inferior to their love of their children: That’s just plain rude. Simple. I feel sorry for your partner if they knew that your love for them came in at second best.
Graphic descriptions of childbirth: Just no. Stop. I don’t need to see graphic images of your placenta in my head. Do NOT ruin lesbianism for me.
Saying “you don’t have a family” because you don’t have kids: Families come in all shapes and sizes. A single or double parent family. A same sex couple with or without children. An opposite sex couple without children. Your own parents or extended family. Your friends. Family is what you make it. Some people don’t have parents or siblings and their extended family wants nothing to do with them so they make their own family.
Feeling like their kids are entitled to spend time with your animals: This one annoys me more than the others. My cats aren’t toys for children. They are living creatures that eat and drink and poo (a lot) and sometimes they just want to chill and relax, not be harassed and possibly abused by children who don’t know how to interact with them.
One-upping you whenever you have a bad day/accident/tragedy: This just makes you look like a jerk. See STFUParents for more mummyjacking one upping. Playing the “poor me” card makes me want to punch you in the genitals.
Not supervising their children around breakables, whether they are yours or items in a store: When parents say “They’re only kids!” when their children break something, as if that makes the damage easier to repair. Trivializing shitty behaviour means that the child will never learn. If you have children – pay attention to them when you’re out in public.
Parent martyrdom: If I ask you somewhere and you can’t make it because of your child, it’s really RUDE to then sigh and pout about how unfair it is that you can’t do fun stuff and I can: “Oh, it’s all right, you go out to the lovely restaurant with all of your friends and have a great time, don’t you worry about me stuck at home with the kid, sitting in front of X-factor crying into my ice cream for the eighth Saturday in a row, no, no, don’t you give me a second thought”. Suck it up, you made the decision to keep the child, don’t try to make me feel bad for not making choices that would lead to me being miserable.
If I’m a relative, that automatically means I’m a free babysitter: No. Way. In. Hell. It’s polite to ask first and not just label it “my job” to look after your children because we share similar genetics. Also it isn’t my job to buy toys or clothes. I’ll do it if I feel like it but if you have to rely on others to buy your kid things – why are you having them?
Make patronizing or belittling comments about how much I love my pets: Love may come in different forms depending on the relationship but drawing a line between a love for an animal and parents love for their children is basically placing less value on an animal. When you say “Just an animal” you are forgetting the fact that it is a living breathing creature.
Asserting perceived superiority because they’ve fathered a child or given birth and I haven’t: Just because you’ve given birth doesn’t negate my achievements. Parenthood isn’t something to feel superior about especially since people have been doing it for millions of years. I’m not trying to trivialize parenthood – parenthood is quite difficult but you really don’t have to act so superior about it. Please don’t imply that not wanting children means we are lesser people or we aren’t “real adults”. I’ve heard this directed at me many times over. I’m not a lesser human being because I don’t want to be miserable with children I don’t want.
“Can I go ahead of you in line? My CHILD is waiting for me!”: No wait your turn.
“We’re looking forward to your help with the baby over the holidays!”: Again assumptions make you look like an arse. Don’t assume, it’s polite to actually ask first.
How to interact with childfee people:
- Recognise and accept that not everyone is as interested in your child as you are. People often take little interest in things that don’t affect them.
- Don’t use your child as a way to feel good about you. Fishing for compliments via talking incessantly about normal child milestones or showing photos of your child without asking is not only rude but it’s unsettling. If you have to feel good about your decision to breed by fishing for compliments – there is something wrong with your self-esteem.
- Don’t use your child as a way to get what you want or be lazy. I’ve heard parents bitch that pram parking is further away from the shopping centre doors and that disabled parking is closer. There’s a reason for that. Disabled parking is closer so people who need it don’t have to walk so far to get to the entrance. Pram parking has only been placed in the carparks at the discretion of the shopping center – they don’t have to put them there.
- Don’t forget your friends. Even if we don’t want to have children – we would still like to be your friend and go out with you. Sometimes with the child and sometimes without.
- Don’t assume we’ll help out with your children. Most of us are happy to accommodate children in some way but it’s always polite to ask first. It’s also polite not to assume that we will or can babysit or help with chores. We still have busy lives as well.
- Please respect our boundaries when it comes to children, our homes, our belongings and our pets. Some of us don’t like children crawling all over us or holding them (I get quite anxious holding children because often they are heavy and I might drop them) and some of us won’t like a child touching our breakables or our pets. We have boundaries that need to be respected as well. Don’t try to convince us to have children – we don’t want them. Please respect that.
- Have a conversation about something else other than your child. There are a myriad of topics to discuss, talking non-stop about the same thing can get boring especially if one party has no interest in the topic of child rearing.
I’ll leave it there for now. I’ll leave you with a couple of bingo cards to reflect on. I get that parents have difficulty understanding why something they would want would be unappealing to others but that doesn’t excuse attempting to convince others to make your life choice.
Every time I hear one of these, I’m sad that I don’t have enough middle fingers to express how I feel.
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