Over the past year and a half of parenthood, I’ve talked about a few topics more than I ever thought possible. Today I’m sharing my top 10 things parents of young children don’t want you to say to them anymore.
1. “Your kid is getting so big!” often followed by “Tell him to stop growing already!”
I deeply apologize for all the times I made the “your kid is getting so big” comment before I had kids. I truly had no idea how often I would hear this remark, even from people who do see my kid every month, if not every week. It is true, I know, just not very original. And I don’t know what to say beyond “yep,” which actually does satisfy most people.
The “tell him to stop growing already” follow up bothers me a lot more. I don’t get this remark personally (yet). But I see comments of this nature all the time on Facebook. Growing up is a positive aspect of life. I think it’s awful that most people don’t see it that way.
2. “When my kid was [X age your kid is currently], he always [fill in the blank with horrible negative],” usually right in front of his/her kid.
I can’t tell you how many negative stories I’ve heard about everyone else’s kids since I became a parent. In most cases, they aren’t even relatable for me, as Tommy hasn’t had issues with taking a bottle, sleeping through the night, etc. People just like using the excuse of you being a parent now to re-live their own worst aspects of parenting, often right in front of their kids. Please don’t guilt your teenage or grown children about how breastfeeding was so rough for you.
3. “How many hours are you sleeping?” / “Is he/she a good sleeper?”
Similar to the “getting so big” remark, the sleep topic is relevant, it just gets old. I feel like you just can’t win talking about sleep either. If your kid is a good sleeper, everyone guilts you. If your kid isn’t a good sleeper, everyone has advice, wants to share their own horror stories, etc. (You may hear a few horror stories, anyway.)
Then my favorite follow up question is, “Are you sleeping while your baby sleeps?” I’m so glad that my friend Natasha addressed this point in her post 5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Baby Was Born. Advising parents to sleep while their babies sleep is the worst advice. Unless you can power nap at will and still cook, clean, take care of yourself, etc. while your little ones are awake, there is no way you can sleep while your kids sleep. So please stop guilting parents who try to cram in as much as possible during nap time.
4. “Just wait, it only gets worse.”
Hands down, taking the stance that life with kids only gets worse over time is one of my biggest parenting pet peeves and just biggest pet peeves in general. If you have kids purely because you want to hold tiny helpless babies and have them stay tiny and helpless forever, please don’t have kids. Ever. Babies deserve to grow into kids and then teenagers and be celebrated by their parents through all of these different stages.
Recently, a mom of teenagers complained at a social gathering about how lucky I am to have a baby because she hates dealing with emotions. First, what an awful thing to share with someone who is barely an acquaintance. Second, I feel so bad for her kids. They deserve better. Third, have you spent time around a one-year-old lately? One-year-old emotions are crazy.
5. “There is so much neat baby gear available that they didn’t have when I was raising kids.”
This remark cracks me up because I hear it from everyone. It doesn’t matter if their kids are in their 60’s or 30’s or pre-teen years. Most recently, I got a comment from someone whose youngest kid is seven. Seriously? Strollers haven’t changed that much in the past decade. Also, people have been parenting since the beginning of human history. Through most of human history, parents didn’t have “cool” baby gear. And they and their kids got along just fine.
6. “You’re so lucky that you get to stay home with your kids.”
Adoption has made me hesitant to use the word “lucky” about any aspect of parenting. So there’s that element. I fully understand that I’m very fortunate to have the option to stay home with kids. I know that many parents don’t have this luxury. However, for many parents, it is a choice, and it’s important to acknowledge what it means to make that choice. When work is driving you crazy, staying home with kids looks great. Anyone who stays at home knows that there are plenty of days that going into the office looks a lot easier and less stressful.
7. “You know your kids are going to destroy your house, right? Just stop buying nice things until they don’t live at home anymore.”
There are certainly kids with destructive streaks who are determined to physically wreck a home in ways you can’t begin to imagine. On the flip side, there will be incidents, even with the best kids. But it’s not fair to assume that all kids will destroy everything in sight. My brother and I didn’t color on the walls or pour paint on the sofa. While I wouldn’t fill a Christmas tree with nothing but breakable ornaments around a toddler, I also think it’s important for kids to learn how to treat nice things properly. It takes a lot of redirection to teach this skill. But it can be taught, pretty much from the time kids start to understand verbal directions (around a year old).
8. “[Fill in the blank] kind of education is the only kind of education I’d ever consider for my children.”
As someone with an education background, this comment bothers me anyway. Yes, with an under two-year-old, Jake and I have a pretty clear idea of the type of education we want for Tommy through high school. I don’t mind sharing this information, especially with people in our area who are familiar with the schools, will have kids in the same or close grades, etc. But I’m also open to the notion that our entire plan could change completely by the time Tommy’s in school. I’m also open to the notion that it may continue to change over time. It’s impossible to predict how a child’s educational path will play out. You’re limiting yourself when you aren’t open to other options.
9. “What sport do you want him/her to play?” (to parents who have kids that don’t walk or talk yet)
I think that this is a ridiculous question, regardless of a kid’s age. It’s especially ridiculous when kids are still tiny. Anyone who knows me well knows that I could care less about sports and really don’t care if my kids play sports, and if so, what sports. So it sort of blows my mind how many people ask me this question seriously. Additionally, I think it’s crazy how many people expect me to have my kids extracurricular activities, interests, passions, etc. mapped out already. I want them to find their passions and pursue them, not shoehorn them into my own interests/agenda.
10. “I feel bad that you’re having kids now. Their college is going to cost a fortune!”
First, college already costs a fortune. Second, my oldest kid isn’t going to be ready for college for nearly 17 years. I’ve talked a little bit before (see #7 in that post) about how I don’t waste time worrying about every hypothetical parenting scenario. The cost of college is included in this umbrella. We’re doing what we can to save for college and will consider the financial side of post-high school education more seriously when we’re, you know, a little closer to it being a reality.
And a bonus #11…
11. “Embrace every single moment.”
Whether or not you have kids, I’m sure you’ve seen the memes about only having 18 summers with your kids and all that. I also hear so many parents talk about how they miss the moments with their kids that haven’t even ended yet. This notion is so ridiculous that I could write a whole separate post about it. (I won’t, I promise.) I think that it’s important to embrace the present stage with your kids and not spend too much time lamenting the past or putting all your focus on the future. This doesn’t mean that you have to love every single moment. You won’t, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
Parents, what remarks did you get tired of hearing when your kids were little?
Share your thoughts in the comments!