Life changes when children come into it, but that doesn’t give parents the right to act like jackasses. Here are 9 phrases we’d like to see eliminated from parental vocabularies. Bonus: parents who do so are far more likely to find willing babysitters than parents who don’t.
My partner’s away this week, so I’m a single parent.
It’s hard raising kids solo, but presumably there will be relief when the partner returns ― something actual single parents don’t get.
What a sweet, inclusive phrase. But until a pregnant women gets to offload her morning sickness, swollen ankles, and weird, shooting groin pains to her partner, she’s pregnant.
Life was meaningless before I had kids.
Life ― and its meaning ― changes when children arrive, but let’s not pretend like it’s 24/7 cat GIFs leading up to baby’s birth, at which point all parents instantly become sage Authorities on The Meaning of Life and Everything. This is the kind of insufferable commentary that creates enemies among the child-free set, whose lives are just as meaningful as anyone else’s.
You don’t know what it’s like to be tired.
Tired is tired, and while it’s okay to vent about a crib-side all-nighter with a colicky baby, it’s best to stick to “I” statements, like “I don’t even know how my eyes are open now.”
You don’t know love until you have kids.
Love for one’s child is a specific kind of love, different than the love we feel for parents, friends, and romantic partners. But that doesn’t give parents a monopoly on love. Thank goodness, because if it did, our non-parent friends wouldn’t be able to draw from the well of genuine love that they require to forgive us whenever we say dumbassed things like this.
Being a mom is the most important job in the world.
For women with children, being a mom may be the most important role they ever inhabit, but it’s not a job. Calling it that not only devalues women’s work by suggesting women do the hardest tasks unpaid, it alienates dads, too. As Catherine Deveney said in her eloquent essay on the topic, “If this [expression] is meant to exalt motherhood, then why is the line always used to sell toilet cleaner?”
Just you wait…
This parental throwaway prefaces a range of (generally ominous) predictions, but at its root is a basic assumption: that the listener will one day have children, and that when he does, he will eat his words because Oh boy, he doesn’t even know what’s coming. It’s true that wisdom comes from experience, but that doesn’t mean non-parents are total idiots about children. Most of us understood before having kids that it would be hard, but it’s impossible to know the specifics ― and those vary widely ― until you’re in it. So parents, cut your childless friends some slack and save the patronizing for your kids.
People without children are so selfish.
Really? You created a human in your own image but you think people who haven’t are selfish?
Note: Writer Devon Scoble is a parent who sometimes says dumbassed things to non-parents. In the wise words of Maya Angelou, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”