Dear Non-Parent, Please Stop!

Yeah, you!

The one who is sharing articles in my newsfeed about how, “I will never be that kind of parent”. I’ve got some advice for you, my friend:

STOP!…just stop…for the love of all that is holy just trust me on this and don’t press the share button. You are embarrassing yourself and you don’t even know it. Not only are you likely irritating your friends who are parents, but you are literally whipping up a big batch of karma to be served to you immediately upon your entrance to parenthood.

Let me tell you a little story…

In May of 2012, TIME magazine did a cover story titled, “Are You Mom Enough?” Featuring a picture of a mother and her three-year-old child standing on top of a chair, breastfeeding. Talk about causing a stir. Everyone was talking about it, all of my mom friends, the internet, news outlets, and of course myself, the non-parent. It made me shudder to even look at the picture. I told my bestie’s how, and this is a direct quote, “I would NEVER breastfeed my child for that long, if they are old enough to ask for it, it’s too old”, and also, “I wouldn’t want my child to remember sucking on my boob, it’s just wrong.”

TIME

(Credit: TIME Magazine)

 

And then I had a baby, and that baby is now a toddler. A toddler I am still breastfeeding.

Hey, look! There's me doing what I said I would never do!

Hey, look! There’s me doing what I said I would never do!

Oh! and she asks for it too.

Oh! and she asks for it too.

Your friends who are parents won’t tell you this not because they are too nice, but because they know that in time you will figure this all out on your own.

As for me, I am only telling you this because as I have crossed over the realm from non-parent to parent, I have had many a moment that I have literally face-palmed myself when I remember some of the stupid crap I used to say, and when you say it, it reminds me that I hurt others with my ignorance.

Now, I know this might offend you, certainly my non-parent self would have been. I mean, just because I didn’t have kids, didn’t mean I couldn’t have an opinion, right?

Sadly, I was wrong.

Oh yes, I definitely could have my opinions, but seriously, they were literally all wrong. I had no clue what was in store for me when I got pregnant. It’s not like you magically understand how being a parent works once you feel a baby kick inside of you.

No, no, no, no….we all learn the hard way. Through trial and error, and that means doing things we said we would never do.

We also all learn that our non-parent selves were judgmental jerks who could have saved themselves later embarrassment by just keeping their mouth shut about things they had no capacity to understand.

So dear friend, friend who is not yet a parent. Please do yourself (and me) a favor, and stop telling everyone what you won’t be doing as a parent.

The public will thank you.

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Dear Non-Parent, Please Stop!

  1. oh I so get this post. I remember distinctively being a non-parent and thinking why would you ever co-sleep?? They just need to get use to sleeping in their own bed. Our son is about to turn three and he is still blissfully snuggling up with us in our giant bed…I freakin love waking up to him…I get it now xo

    • Oh yes, we were a “no child sleeping in the bed” family too…for 2 days…She’s been in bed with us since day 3 🙂 My goal is to make it to at least 3! But I admit, I will be sad when she transitions as I have loved waking up to her beautiful face every morning!

  2. I’m Rachel, and I’m a non-parent (“Hi, Rachel!”), so my opinions on child rearing may not be valid (despite my 10+ years of childcare experience. It’s not the same, I know).
    “I will never…” are famous words of people who end up enjoying a lovely meal of roasted crow, with some humble pie for dessert.
    I said I would never marry a White man. Crow. I said I would never smoke a cigarette. Crow. Peter said he would never deny Jesus. Hear that rooster CROW!
    You are right that I don’t know (I can’t know) what it is like to be a parent. But it is also very hard for you to know my life as a non-parent. Not that you don’t or can’t remember your life before Sadie (although why would you want to!), but you don’t know MY life as a non-parent. You don’t know intimately the details of my life that honestly make me pretty uncomfortable with breastfeeding. To be told that I will one day feel differently, that I will somehow forget the sexual abuse I’ve endured and that I will be transformed into this supermom who WANTS to be intimate with her child in that same way…seems a bit trite.
    As you’ve done so many times for me over the years, you did cause me to pause and reflect, and to ask myself if I am guilty of imposing my preferences on others. I think that’s what it comes down to. As mature adults, we know that we don’t always have to see eye-to-eye to be doing what is “right.” We can freely express our views and opinions without imposing them on each other. We can freely say, “I HOPE to never…” without saying, “YOU should never…”
    And as “annoying” as it is when we non-parents push our ideas about breastfeeding (or any other topic), it is also pretty annoying to have a boob pic thrown in our face with an unsympathetic “Get over it.” I can’t speak for all non-parents, but for me, I’ll lay off on voicing the opinions I have about what you choose to do with your body. A bit of gracious understanding would be welcome, in the form of maybe fewer boob pics?
    I love you forever. 🙂

  3. I THINK IT IS SO PROFOUND THE WAY THE ARTICLE YOU WROTE ON LOVING YOUR HUSBAND & CHILD.I TOTALLY AGREE THAT THE LOVE IS BOTH DIFFERENT & UNIQUE IN THEIR OWN WAYS, THANK YOU FOR WRITING WHAT WE FEEL IN OUR HEART BUT SOMETIMES FIND IT DIFFICULT TO EXPRESS,TOTALLY AWESOME 🙂 SOUTH AFRICA

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