Redditors Share Well-Intended but Ridiculous Advice From Non-Parents
When people without kids tell me they're tired, I believe them—I really, truly do. But I've learned as a mom of five kids that being "tired" is a relative state of mind (or loss of your mind). Although I too experienced tiredness pre-kids, the exhaustion hits different post-kids. Not getting a full night of sleep in 13 years because someone is sick, thirsty, doesn't want to stay in their crib/bed/room, had a nightmare, is scared to go to the bathroom alone, or thinks 5 a.m. is a perfectly acceptable time to start the day is quite another feeling.
In a recent Reddit thread, a new parent snickered about how well-meaning friends who do not have children say things that they said at one time, but see how ridiculous those comments can seem now that they're caring for a real live human.
"Now that I'm a parent myself, I find some of the assumptions and things they say SO funny, especially since I had exactly the same logic before I had a kid of my own," the user, who posts by the name lohype, shared. "Probably the most common one I hear is, in reference to a late-night gathering at someone's home, 'Just bring the baby! We'd love to see him!'" the new mom wrote.
"It makes me giggle because I used to say stuff like this all the time and my mom friends were probably too exasperated to explain the concept of bedtime to me."
Other parents soon weighed in with other comments very well-meaning but not initiated to the schedule or rigor of parenthood say. "My family that lives like 1.5 to 2 hours away tells me to bring the baby over to see them. Meanwhile they have never come to see the baby. Sure...you can't manage to drive this far as an adult but you want me to bring the baby?" one user commiserated.
A lot of misunderstandings between parents and friends without kiddos seems to center around sleep schedules, with one person joking, "They don't understand nap time is like a loan shark payment. There will be painful consequences if nap time is skipped."
"I frequently get party invites with kids welcome on it, and they usually start after my daughter's bedtime. It's not happening. I value my sanity thank you," summarized someone else.
Another Reddit user shared an anecdote from before having kids, recalling a visit to a friend's house right after her friend had a baby. "She was like a week postpartum and still struggling a lot with breastfeeding. Baby wanted to eat. I was like: 'I don't mind! Just feed her! I'll just watch!' She was probably too polite to kick me out. I'm so sorry. I had no idea," the poster apologized.
Meanwhile, another poster said, "I'm 36 weeks pregnant with my second and had lunch out with a friend today who said to me, ''It'll be great, once you're on maternity leave you'll be able to go out all the time for lunches and drinks.'" The poster added, "I don't think the concept of having a baby is quite understood there!!!"
A few parents shared advice they hear from friends who don't have kids that rub them the wrong way. "Just find a babysitter for this thing I just invited you to that starts in an hour," made the list, as did the perennial (un)favorite, "You can sleep when the baby sleeps!"
As one parent pointed out, "Before my son was born I wholeheartedly believed this. I now realize that while this works for some parents, for others (like me) this is a mythical idea, something in the realm of reality of unicorns."
One parent admitted, "Here is a great one that I am guilty of having used pre-kid: 'My kid will never/ I will never something something my kid.'" Well, we're all guilty of that one!
"My friend constantly compares my having a toddler and newborn to her having a ten-year-old black lab," vented someone else, referring to the pet peeve of many parents (pun intended). But as another Redditor noted, "When someone does this I always try and look on it with kindness. I think people want to try and find a way to relate and find common ground. Also, with having kids you really can't know what it's like until it happens to you!"
Finally, one poster who does not have kids used the thread as an opportunity to ask for guidance on how to stay friends with people who do. I think I speak for all parents everywhere since the beginning of time when I say this question is so awesome and appreciated. And one response hit the nail on the head: "Offer to come to their house with booze AFTER bedtime."
Of course, this doesn't work for every parent, so the key may really be what so many other commenters offered, which is to sometimes make plans on their terms—in other words, not during nap time or late at night. Anyone up for a 5 a.m. get-together?