Parenthood can breed a sense of entitlement and smugness. It's not a conscious decision; it's the result of being catapulted into a lifestyle that we only saw from the outside and is SO much different than we anticipated. Giving birth goes back to the dawn of time, but trust me, every pregnant lady out there feel like she is the ONLY PERSON EVER to have gone through the physical transformation. That carries over into the weeks, months and years when we're constantly high-fiving ourselves for overcoming battles we didn't know existed (nipple confusion? Seriously?). And let's not forget about the power of biology, which informs us that our child is, without doubt, the most perfect creature to land on this planet. Even when they have snotty noses. Here are some things we're truly thinking...
“Do you have kids? No? Then you wouldn't understand.”
This is perhaps the single most annoying thing that a parent can say to non-parents. It emerges from us in an obnoxiously gentle, ever-so-condescending tone if anyone without children dares to voice their opinions about child-rearing. But seriously, try to understand -- I can’t “push his nap by half an hour” to make lunch plans. I see no reason why a child with a full set of teeth shouldn’t eat pureed fruit, and unless you feel like moving in to oversee potty training, you may keep your opinions to yourself.
“You’re not tired. I’m tired.”
You know those days after work when you’re so zonked you turn on the TV, eat toast for dinner because you don’t have the energy to interact with a delivery guy, and fall asleep on the couch until you jerk awake at 2 am in a puddle of drool? Those were the glory days. Now after-work hours are a symphony of “let’s cram lots of meaningful time in the next two hours…crap you haven’t bathed in three days…oh my god please go to bed please go to bed.” Mostly, parents with young kids don’t actually fall asleep; they simply pass out until the next summoning. So please don’t complain about how tired you are.
“Yes, I expect you to help me with that”
I’m 5 feet tall and have a hard time reaching things, so I have certain expectations of the people around me. But if you see a parent of any height boarding a plane with a wriggly baby, a carry-on bag, a dripping sippy cup, and what looks like a handful of Hot Wheels, please put down the Kindle and help. This also applies to when you see a parent unloading groceries into a car while using their foot to prevent the cart from rolling into traffic. It’s really in everyone’s best interest to move things along quickly.
“Slow down! And get off my lawn!”
Parenting means we shoulder one, and really only one, responsibility: get the child to adulthood reasonably uninjured. It’s what catapults us from reasonably hip people to curmudgeons who are insanely protective about personal space. It’s why we drive so damned slow in vehicles that are exponentially bigger than yours. It’s why we section off our kids into fenced backyards and hover under the playground jungle gym. It’s also why we give overly friendly strangers the stink-eye when they get too close to our kids. That said…
“Smile at my cute baby, a-hole”
My kid is definitely cuter than yours. Sorry, but look at him -- he’s a tiny little dynamo who looks like a penguin when he runs. His smile is so full of sunshine that I’m pretty sure rainbows shoot out of his butt when he smiles. So the next time a child waves at you and shouts “hi!” even if he's not that cute, and EVEN IF YOU’RE EATING OR SIMPLY HATE CHILDREN, don’t act like you can see straight through him. Say hello back.