Dear Certain Childless People,
I like you, and I appreciate all you add to the world, and I even, sometimes, envy your condition (only sometimes don’t freak out), but
YOU MAY KNOW A LOT OF THINGS, BUT YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A PARENT.
Not because you’re dumb, but rather, because you’ve never done it. It’s very simple.
What? What’s that you say? You had seven younger siblings? That must have been fun.
But it’s got nothing to do with parenting.
Oh, you’ve been a nanny for 10 years? Impressive. I’m sure you know how to babysit really well. But did you have vacations and get paid for taking care of those kids? Yes, yes you did. And were you the ONLY PERSON caring for them? No, no you were not.
And therefore, you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent. I realize I’m being repetitive here, but there seems to be just so much confusion with some of you.
Hmmmm? You work with kids every day? My condolences.
But you leave at the end of the day, right? And you can call in sick.
So yeah. You guessed it. Not a clue.
My goodness, you have a degree in child development? Excellent! I love degrees.
But having a degree in child development without having watched your own children develop is like having a degree in aviation without flying a plane: you may know a lot in theory, but you don’t know shit in practice.
And don’t you agree that until you’ve flown the damn plane you really have no idea what you’re talking about?
Not that you don’t know how children develop. I’m sure you do. What you DON’T KNOW, however, is what it’s like to parent those children who inspired your textbooks. You don’t know what it’s like, every day, on the ground. In reality. In life. In the home in the car in fucking everywhere.
And to continue my little metaphor…if our friendly aviation student started running her mouth to actual pilots (you know, people who have flown a plane) – telling them how it is, instructing them, criticizing and critiquing them (based on all the facts she’s read in all those great books) – the pilots would just stare at her aghast, then possibly fall over laughing at her delusional ass.
How are you gonna tell me how to fly a plane when all you’ve done is READ about flying a plane?
Are you catching my metaphor here?
I hope so, because those of us with actual children are getting mighty tired of those certain members of the childless population
advising, criticizing, proselytizing, professing, ranting, raging, judging, lecturing
on a topic they know nothing about.
Giving helpful information about something you know about children is, well, helpful, but criticizing the way we parent as if you have actually done better is just wrong.
I know you think you know how to parent, and you see how we’re doing it all wrong, and how if you had kids they’d never be annoying or pee on the floor or fight with each other or spill shit in restaurants. And that’s cool. I’m sure that’s totally true. But maybe you could save all that preaching for when you’re surrounded with a bunch of your childless friends. You can all sit and compare theories about parenting (because sweetie that’s all you’ve got at this point) and feel super impressed with yourselves for having formed a staunch opinion on an experience you’ve never had. And of course, congratulate yourselves for the theoretical [perfect] children you will someday theoretically have.
And you know, how you’re just generally so much better than the rest of us.
Do you realize how insane that is?
Well, we do.
Because until you have had a child in your home 24-hours a day, seven days a week for years on end, and you are THE ONLY person there (well, and maybe your partner) to discipline, nurture and care for that child – the only one responsible for ALL their food, clothing, health care, education, love, nourishment and general well-being – until you’ve got somebody calling you “mom” or “dad” or, in other words YOU ARE ALL THEY HAVE…
Until you’ve done that, you don’t know shit about parenting. You do not know what it’s like.
And so, we cordially ask you, from the bottom of our hearts, to please, for the love of God, just shutthefuckup.
If you’d like to join the ranks of “people who know something about parenthood,” perhaps you could try, oh I don’t know, becoming a parent.
I know. Crazy talk.
But just think how much more effective your judgments would be if they were rooted in actual experience!
Because now? Well, now you just look ridiculous.
The rest of us.
P.S. Still not convinced? Alright. I’ll make you a promise: you stop telling me how to parent and I’ll stop telling you how to be an adult without kids. OH WAIT. I’ve never done that. Because that would be fucking craaaaaaaazy.