John Kinnear’s article, 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents went viral, and for good reason. Parents everywhere suffer from foot-in-mouth disease. Symptoms include no tact, no filter, and massive self-absorption. After reading Kinnear’s article, I started thinking about all of the people in my life who are non-parents and within minutes I could think of 5 more things to add:
1. Don’t suggest that your coworkers work the off-hours just because you have kids at home and they don’t. About six years ago, I was on an all-women team at work and only one other was a non-parent like me. I recall several occasions when our coworkers suggested that they couldn’t work an evening or weekend event because they had kids and were too busy or didn’t have child care. Really? Like we didn’t have lives outside of work too? Why is your child care problem turning into a problem for me? It was really annoying. It was as if they thought they were in another league, an exempt league, simply because they had little people at home.
*Note: Now that I am a mother of two, I get it. It isn’t fair, but I get it.
2. “You’re lucky you don’t have kids.” People are non-parents for a wide variety of reasons and saying this to any of them will piss them off. For the couples who want kids but can’t have them, this is the worst slap in the face. You have no idea what they’ve been through or how they feel so step back for a second and remember that you are lucky because you have kids. Don’t be an a-hole. For the people who aren’t parents because they simply don’t want to be, saying this makes you sound ungrateful for the choice YOU made to become a parent. It also makes you sound like your kids are some sort of inconvenience to your life. (P.S. Don’t EVER say this in front of your kids.) You made your bed, now lie in it (and try to be good at it). Luck has nothing to do with it – how about birth control and responsible decision-making?
3. Bragging about your tax return. You know what’s backwards as hell? People who have kids are essentially saying that they are equipt financially to raise them, yet the people who consciously choose not to have kids because it is financially responsible don’t get a tax deduction. That’s right, no tax breaks for the responsible. No tax breaks for the Earth-savers. More kids = more tax breaks. How about an incentive not to have kids?
4. “When are you going to have kids?” Let’s keep this one simple: don’t EVER ask this question. It is none of your effing business.
5. “You don’t have kids? Don’t you like kids?” Every single non-parent I know is either an aunt or uncle, has dear friends with kids, or works with kids. And you know what? They LOVE kids. Just because people aren’t lugging diaper bags around or posting pictures to Facebook of their kid’s first school play does not mean that they don’t like kids. I really love giraffes but it doesn’t mean I want one.
Non-parent Feronians: We know you’ve heard it all. Do you have anything to add? Leave a comment.
Note: I am definitely guilty of occasional foot-in-mouth disease. Sorry, friends.