It happens every time I go out with a group of friends. Our conversation includes sports, politics, religion and whatever else is going on in the world. Then, without even realizing it, I begin talking about my kids. All parents do it. This, of course, can make those people who don’t have kids wish their phones would ring so they could say, “something’s just come up.”
Adults who are on the childless path, or “non-breeders,” either have chosen not to have kids or can’t have them. Those of us with kids should take that into consideration. Obviously, kids are such a huge part of our lives that we’re going to talk about them, but we should be sensitive in mixed company. Here is a list of items to steer clear of while hanging out with our non-breeding friends.
Pooping – Bowel movements are a favorite topic of parents. Droppings come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and for some reason we feel the need to tell the world. I hate to break this to parents, but poopies are gross. Yes, we deal with it all the time and many times it seems humorous. Often, it even finds its way onto our own clothing. This is all the more reason to not talk about it. Our non-breeding friends did not wake up in the morning and wonder how baby Johnny’s dumps have turned out that day, and they don’t want to be thinking about whether you washed your hands before you shook theirs.
Costs of raising kids – If someone has chosen not to have children, you’re not going to find a sensitive ear to the fact that your busting your bank to buy diapers, clothes, wipes, bottles, furniture, strollers, carrying devices, and the million other things you think you need to have to raise a kid. If you bring up cost, I guarantee they’re thinking, “Idiot, what were you expecting?”
Bed time struggles – Putting the kids to the bed is the foam topping of a Guinness day. If you’ve had a difficult day with the kids, getting them to bed is usually the last straw. We labor in discussing how hard it can be to put kids to bed. Leave these tasking stories out of your next conversation.
Fatigue – Raising kids is a tiring task. Do you want to know what else is a tiring task is? Listening to people talk about how tired they are! Telling another parent that you are tired will get a sympathetic look. Someone who hasn’t gone through it will not care. They too are tired from a long work week. Put it this way, do you want to hear about how many TS reports they had to do? I didn’t think so.
Time – Parents have a small amount of time to do things, as we tell everyone who has the time to listen. Telling someone without kids how little time you have will be met with the same response as when you told them how much things cost. They also might secretly be upset that you haven’t been spending as much time with as you used to.
Raising kids can be stressful and difficult, but there is so much more to parenting than the hardships. Kids can be funny and brave. Children often go above and beyond ordinary human compassion. They bring smiles to those that find it hard to enjoy anything. If parents feel the need to talk about their children to the unparenting population, they should focus on those things. Leave out how tired you are from putting the kids to bed and how colorful the last baby poop was.
And to our non-breeding friends, our children are important and our personal parental world revolves around them. One thing that we look forward to in hanging out with childless individuals is that we don’t have to trade competing kid stories — our kids are front and center. So humor us, but feel free to tell us when you have had enough.