I want to share two things that annoy me and that are EVERYWHERE on the internet (particularly over-shared on Facebook).
#1 – Articles about “What not to say to parents” Below are examples of the kind of pop culture news that drives me nuts. Articles from this point of view make it seem like anyone who is not a parent or who spouts things blindly is a piece of garbage. Parents are judged all day long by other parents for no reason than different parenting styles. Lots of times people don’t realize that they are crossing a personal line when they make comments, often times they actually think they are lightening the mood or making small talk. I think we can all benefit from not being so uptight and sensitive about people who are trying to compliment us, give us advise, or make us smile.
#2 Articles about “what not to say to non-parents” Below are examples of this time of “news”. Many people do not have children by choice or because they have fertility or other issues that prevent pregnancy currently. This doesn’t mean we should be afraid to offer advice we think is helpful, attempting to connect with one another by asking” do you have children” or “when will you”. Most people make small talk with whomever is around and it happens even better if it is two women of “child bearing age”. We cannot help ourselves and must try to relate to the lady we’re talking to- about marriage/singledom/parenting/not parenting/jobs/the weather/etc. Saying these “inconsiderate” things shouldn’t make the speaker an awful friend or uncaring stranger. The fact that someone may not know you don’t want to discuss this topic is not anyone’s fault. It happens, we flinch, and move on with our day. The parents who are commenting on your not-parent status are not necessarily judging you but perhaps trying to give a real face to the struggle they have or are sharing their feelings of “shit why did I have kids” (that happens from time to time).
Essentially all this “news” ends with the idea that the grass is greener. Parents want their child-free friends to know that parenting is not all goo-goo-ga-ga and photos, it’s difficult and emotionally draining. Parents have an all-day job to keep their life moving forward while helping a little person’s life also move forward. Child-free people want their parent friends to know that they are not sleeping in everyday, drinking every weekend, and living the fun life. They have jobs and responsibilities that are just as important even if they are not parenting responsibilities. The moral of this story is to be considerate of your friends and strangers. If you ask one question and it isn’t received well, don’t ask another. Perhaps I should advise you not to give unsolicited advice but that’s asking too much. Most folks just can’t help but say whatever they think will get a giggle or start a conversation.
What do you think about these kind of “news” stories and the mommy wars?