Saying “You Have No Idea” To The Childless Isn’t Smug, So Stop Being Offended

I’ve noticed a recent movement to be careful of not offending the childless. And I get it. People who choose not to have children are often treated like their decision is somehow abnormal.

It’s not. It’s no more abnormal than the decision to have kids. In fact, now that I have two kids with a third on the way I’m starting to wonder that choosing to be childless is definitely the more sane option.

So those people choosing to be childless are a little on edge and maybe feeling a little defensive because they’re sick of crazy Aunt Mabel asking when they’re going to have babies already. But listen, everyone needs to calm down. As Babble blogger Carolyn Castiglia writes, it’s almost like we’re all looking so hard to find reasons to be offended these days. Outrage overload, she calls it. “…We have to be careful not to be swallowed up by the noise of social media, and eaten alive by the negativity and outrage.”

That’s right. Make a small comment about how hard parenting is and how those without children just don’t get it sometimes and you’re going to find yourself explaining yourself to a bunch of offended people who don’t have kids.

An article over on The Huffington Post by Farah Miller called, Everything Parents Really Want To Say To People With No Kids talks about comedian Michael McIntyre, who has an act based on his wife and young sons.  For non-parents (is saying the “childless” no longer PC?) he has four words: You may think you know, but seriously, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA.”

McIntyre goes on to list a bunch of things that the childless can’t fathom because, well, they don’t have kids. Leaving the house, driving in the car, going shopping, going to bed.

It’s no longer a walk in the park, which, let’s not even talk about how a walk in the park is no walk in the park. Henry, I said, put down the dog poop.

But saying “You have no idea” to those who choose not to have children is often misconstrued as condescending or an indictment, somehow, of their choices. It’s not. All it is is a way to convey how freaking hard it is to be a parent.

You over there. Yeah, you. The one who chose not to have kids so you can focus on your totally awesome career of traveling the world in search of the best base jumping locations. If you were talking about your job and explaining to me about base jumping and used the phrase, “You have no idea,” I would be totally cool with that. Because you’re right. I have no idea and you saying that to me is a way to convey the awesomeness of base jumping.

Likewise, if I tell you that I don’t feel like flying to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving because YOU HAVE NO IDEA how difficult flying with two kids is, you shouldn’t feel like I’m being a Smug McSmuggypants about parenting. I’m just trying to tell you that seriously, dude, I would rather eat a bowl of scabs than board a flight during the holidays with two toddlers because YOU HAVE NO IDEA what it’s like to fly with them.

Wait. Maybe you do. It’s kind of like base jumping except not as scary.

What do you think? Is telling a “non-parent” they have no idea condescending and smug or just a way to convey how hard parenting can be?

Image: momlogic.com

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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