An Open Letter to Parents from a Non-Parent

Dear Parents,

I’m a Non-Parent. I’m someone who watches what you do and how you do it. I judge you, but not in the ways that you might think.

For example, as a non-parent, I have no idea what it’s like to be in a grocery store with a child who’s having a meltdown over the fact that you’re not buying Froot Loops. You might notice how lucky I am, as a Non-Parent, to simply walk away from the scene and go on with my “carefree,” childless life.

I know sometimes Parents have the notion that we Non-Parents think we know everything, and that we think we’d do everything differently than you.

Not so, Parents.

When I see you dealing with the Froot Loop meltdown in aisle 7, I’m sending you genuine thoughts of patience and grace. If I were in your shoes, I’d probably have a meltdown right along side the 4-year-old. 

As a Non-Parent, I sincerely admire you. I admire your selflessness, your time management, your unconditional love, your protectiveness, your discipline, your instincts.

That’s why I wanted to write a letter to you, Parents.

Parent sometimes jump to the conclusion that Non-Parents have chosen their childless status. That we’re all exactly where we want to be.

So to you, it makes total sense to tell every Non-Parents of all the things you enjoyed about life BC (before children.)

Oh, you’re freedom, how you miss it. You also miss your clean house. The ability to go shopping. The peace of being able to take a shit in complete privacy. The luxury of going out to dinner. Sex. Your “pre-baby body”…because Christ Almighty, you don’t know this level of fat-talk until you’ve given birth.

Enjoy it all now!, you say, because it’s all over once you have kids!

Parents, I don’t think you’re intentionally trying to be mean and scare the Non-Parent you’re talking to, but I’ll be honest – it’s frightening how well you sell the appeal of being a Non-Parent.

I beg you to be a little more mindful. It may very well be that the Non-Parent to whom you’re complaining about Parenthood desperately wants to be in your position.

Next time, Parents, if you’re going to discuss Parenthood in the presence of a Non-Parent, try to talk about the positive things. And if you can’t, try (as hard as it may be!) to talk about something other than your kids. It’s easier to be negative, to commiserate. I totally get it. Just be aware of the message you’re sending to others.

You never know if you’re mindlessly bashing the one thing that that Non-Parent wants more than anything.

Cheers,

A Non-Parent

 

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86 Responses to An Open Letter to Parents from a Non-Parent

  1. Jen Schoemmell says:

    Amen. It took me 10 years to be able to have a baby of my own. After a couple of failed attempts, I finally had one and I.wouldn’t trade it for the world. The feeling of that little person smiling so big when they see you walk in the door. Their instant calm from crying when they are in your arms. It is the most wonderful feeling and job in the world. Watching them make a game out of a cardboard box or the mop. I could go on and on…..

  2. I send you love and happy thoughts, from one non-parent to another.

  3. Maureen says:

    Yes to everything!

  4. I have been saying this silently to myself for YEARS. I have been that girl my entire life who was all “I never want kids…” and then BAM. I turned 27 and now I’m like, “Well… maybe kids are good?”. Such a sucker for late twenties baby-fever. I’m sure that’s because my hubby & I got married in the last 2 years, so it’s more in-my-face when everyone asks about “where, where and how we’re conceiving” (Not really, but you get the point – people ask A LOT when you’re having kids post-marriage. Side note: rude/insensitive/kindof heart-melty). But SERIOUSLY these parents are making it seem like having children is like growing the spawn of Satan… saying things like “Keep your city life while you have it, there’s NO way you can raise kids in the city”, “Oh, you love Boho cycling classes? Good luck going to those when you have a child”…. aww, that’s cute you eat organic and go to good restaurants, best of luck eating that well and anywhere for that matter when kids arrive”. OH MY GOD. Get a grip, parents and give us some HOPE!!!! Sorry, rant ended. I love this post x 10000000000004950834058934058940598.

  5. YES.
    YES.
    YES.

    As a couple who struggled to conceive….it was SO hard to hear people complain about pregnancy and/or parenting. Although, our experience made us hyper-aware of how we present pregnancy and parenting to non-parents now. Parenting is fucking awesome and we wish that everyone who wants to do it gets to do it.

    LOTS OF LOVE!

    • Colleen says:

      You guys are so awesome and I am so so so happy for you two!! Lindsay, you’re KILLING IT with the fitness post-baby, girlfriend!! You look amazing and are such a motivator!

  6. DragonLady says:

    This parent agrees with everything you said, and I know a lot of parents who need to read this. :) {{{HUGS}}}

  7. Alyssa says:

    I love this. As a new parent myself, I heard so many of those “ohhhh enjoy your sleep now!” And “just you wait….” It scared the crap out of me. Now that I’ve had 7 months of never fully sleeping through the night, 2 months of teething hell, a couple embarrassing crying fits…. I want to go back and slap those people right in the face. Is it hard? Sometimes. But it’s hard in the BEST way possible and people are so quick to warn you of the hard times ! They forget to warn you about how intense your love for that little human being will be and how you will ENJOY those sleepless nights because it means that you are comforting the most perfect little person in the world. They forget to mention that each and every day you fall even more in love with your child (even though at the moment of their birth you will feel more love than you ever thought possible). Do me a favor and next time someone makes one of those annoying comments give them a good old slap from me. Xoxo

    • Colleen says:

      Alyssaaaaaa. This one almost made me cry, too! You are such a beautiful mom (you know I stalk you via instagram) and you’re just glowing! Thank you for this real, yet positive, comment! xoxox

  8. This mom is telling you that hearing your toddler giggle is amazing and outweighs the messy house. Seeing them smile at you for the first time, or crawl for the first time is amazing. You get used to having a little one around. Yes it can be stressful, but you make it work.
    The most amazing thing to me is watching their mind develop.
    Every parent should read this, great post!

    • Colleen says:

      Annnnd this comment almost made me cry. Thanks for being positive, Ash! I appreciate it, and I know others do, too!

  9. Such a well-written post about an always touchy subject! I’ll be first to say, that I’m really awkward talking about parenting to non parents for the reasons you describe. Honestly, I’m in love with being a mom. Does it mean all days are easy? Oh heck no. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life and I worry if I’m honest about how incredible it is that I’m rubbing my lifestyle choice in their face, which feels rude whether they chose not to be a parent or if they’d give anything to be one. I usually just shut up about it unless someone asks, but I could never bash it because it brings me so much joy.

    I think many parents feel as awkward talking about bring a mom or dad as non parents do, both not wanting to feel they are judging the others’ choices (because neither one of us is!). Loved reading your perspective and honesty, as always! Great post :)

    • Colleen says:

      Thank you, Brittany!! It is a touchy subject FOR SURE. You bring a really great perspective to the table. It can feel really awkward when you’re in any position that you LOVE, and you know people who want to be in the same position (or TOTALLY don’t!) It might feel hard to be happy without feeling like a braggart (or, the other side, feeling like you’re trying to convince someone that it’s the way to be.) I can say that I LOVE seeing happy parents! It brings me so much joy, because I know I’ll be there one day. Thank you for this positive comment – you are awesome!!

  10. Parita says:

    THANK YOU!!!

    We are in the “thinking about kids” stage and every parent we know never fails to mention how we need to enjoy this time while we can because it ALL changes after kids. Don’t you think we know that, people! I mean I get that parenting is hard work and all, but that’s obvious. Tell us the good stuff please!

    • Colleen says:

      Thank YOU!! We’re in the same place as you…the “contemplative stage” :) And even though I try to block out all the negative energy, it’s really difficult. I am so glad you related to this post, P!

  11. Thank you for writing this! I love kids and want them in the future, and I’m tired of people telling me to “wait a few more years.” I’m starting to believe all of the negative things they tell me, and I don’t like it! I am kind of scared to have kids. Tell me the positives, people!

    • Colleen says:

      I’m way scared, too!! Like, terrified. And I don’t like it, either. It’s a really weird place to be in when you’ve been married for a few years, and everyone’s like “WHEN’S IT GONNA HAPPEN?!” But two seconds later they bitch about their kids. It’s like..um, no thanks. This is scary.

  12. Betsy says:

    Thank you! My husband and I are going through the infertility process and I’m sure you understand how painful it is to hear people complain about pregnancy or their children. Even my sisters do it without realizing it’s so hurtful. Thank you for sharing, sending happy thoughts your way.

    • Colleen says:

      Hi, Betsy! I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through the infertility process. I know from several close friends how difficult and painful it is. While I’m not in the same exact boat, I do know the sting of hearing people complain about pregnancy and parenthood. I’m sending love to you!

  13. Ashley says:

    Love this, and you, so much. If you ever want to hear the positives from a parent, let me know. Because this parent LOVES being a parent and wouldn’t have it any other way! I love life even more as a parent than I did as a non-parent if that tells you anything. Hugs to you!

    • Colleen says:

      Ashley, I read your blog religiously and it makes me SO HAPPY to see that you are totally in your element with Hunter. It’s so refreshing!!

  14. Kristen says:

    Yes! Love this post. Couldn’t agree more.

  15. Love this! Everyone tells me & the hubby how life will never be the same after kids like it’s such a bad thing. We get it already! How about parents tell us the good stuff about having kids instead of the negatives for once.

  16. This is such an interesting read. A very close friend of mine was just talking about something similar has she found out a while ago she cannot have kids and how difficult this can be for her as well.
    And as a “non-parent” this made me see it from a different angle, because I am a non-parent who actually doesnt really want kids to be honest with you, and I get the different end of the spectrum from some parents if it comes up…
    When I tell some parents that I dont want children, they almost seem to get offended (usually the women) like “WHY wouldnt you want kids?” and they try to glorify being a mom (rather than talk about the bad stuff, like you said). Not that I have any doubt about being a parent is/would be an AMAZING thing, they dont need to glorify it because I get it. It is something special.
    But sadly it’s almost like they try to make excuses for me for why I dont want kids, some going as far as assuming I CANT conceive when I tell them that is not the problem (well, not that I know of, havent tried..) they seem surprised like what other reason would people have for not having children? which honestly I think is quite rude of them to assume something like that and offensive of them to bring it up (I have had a woman give me a fertility doctors # before!) because there ARE people who cannot conceive and want it more than anything and my heart truly breaks for them.
    Anyway, point being this was nice to read and see another “non-parent” point of view.

    • Colleen says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that about your friend. I can only imagine how difficult that must be. As someone who once didn’t want kids, I know that people (women) can get really defensive. Isn’t that strange?! If you WANT to join “the club” you get scared shitless, but if you DON’T want to join the club, you’re guilted. You do you, girlfriend!

    • Yes! I’m in your camp as well, and sometimes I get so frustrated by parent who get defensive and belligerent about it. It is very offensive to non-parents who would love to be parents but are struggling!

  17. bringdrinks says:

    Thank you. The level of complaining I hear from parents also bothers me because 99.9% of the parents I know CHOSE to become parents, yet act like it’s some terrible punishment inflicted on them by an outside source. Did they not know what they were getting into? Because after listening to them for a while, I feel like I know EXACTLY that I’ll be getting into!

    As someone who plans on becoming a parent, I’d rather hear some positives. Hearing only negatives makes me feel like I won’t get any positive support from other parents when I am one. I don’t want to turn into a constant complainer.

    • Colleen says:

      AMEN!!!! Sure, one day I’d like to have kids, but it does not seem appealing or worth it based on what I hear and read. I thought that having children would amplify one’s happiness, but sometimes I get a different message, you know what I mean!? But so many people are commenting saying differently, so that’s amazing! :)

  18. Brittnye says:

    As a parent, I get annoyed when my other parent friends start these conversations with our non parent friends. Parenting is something I didn’t get much of as a child and those relationships of mom and dad are something I yearned for badly and didn’t get until I married.
    Because of my upbringing, I take being a mother differently as others. My girls are my world! My biggest life achievements and the personal struggle to keep them safe during two very hard pregnancies is something that my husband and I look back at now and just sometimes can’t voice how we did it. After three horrific losses we are more supporters to our nonparent friends than the complaining group.
    It’s the coolest gig in the world. It has it’s moments, sure, but are those moments worth focusing on enough to blast to anyone willing to hear about it? No. That’s a secret about parenting. It’s different for everyone and the only way you’ll figure out what works for you is the experience, not everyone else’s.

    I’ll shut up now. Also, I love you woman and appreciate your post.

    • Colleen says:

      I adore you, lady!! I know your girls are your world and that is so beautiful! What lucky little ladies! I agree, parenting is different for everyone – and like life in general, some days are harder than others. Duh. I get that part, but I feel like there is such negativity blasted about parenthood, so as someone who would like to have kids someday it’s like, “woah…do i actually want to do that?” If you see enough bad stuff, you’ll believe it (and expect it!) I should probably just get off Facebook for the rest of my life ;)

  19. Oh my gosh, YES!! I can’t wait to be a Parent (capital P included haha) and I seriously want to punch the women who complain about it! I’ve wanted to be a mom for forever and hearing the pregnancy horror stories is making me seriously consider adoption..or even just buying a bunch of cats!! I mean it’s good to be prepared, but do we really want to talk people out of having kids period??

    Thanks for writing this! Going on my favorites post for sure!!

    • Colleen says:

      OMG the cats comment made me laugh out loud. I know, I’m all for knowing exactly what I’m getting into, but maaaaan – the horror stories (i.e. normal pregnancy) scare the life out of me!!

  20. Deirdre says:

    I love this post. Might I add that married people say the same kind of things to single people. They say things like: enjoy it while you can, I wish I was single, you must have so much time to yourself, etc. As a single person, there are times I wish i was married so I don’t always appreciate these comments.

  21. Chuck says:

    I admit that I have done this but from a different place that might be perceived. I do share with those who are many years behind me to take advantage of that opportunity to travel and experience things. Not because children make life more difficult but because of logistics. I wish that I had done and seen more in my single and early marriage days, that is what I try to convey.

  22. Amanda says:

    I’ve wanted to scream this for a while! Amen sista! Good luck on your journey! You’re killin it in the fur mom department tho – I’m sure Penny doesn’t even consider you a Non-parent! :) :)

  23. Stacie Barton says:

    My parents were married for 9 years before they were able to adopt me, thanks for putting her thoughts into a wonderful post!!

  24. ditto to this post! I’m over the negativeness about it, although I get wanting to vent. Thankfully, I have some people in my life who love being parents, and I try to listen to them the most. I think with most things in life you can find the negatives/hard parts, but those are usually accompanied by good parts (or hopefully that is the case!), and trying to focus more on the good parts can really change or influence your outlook on life! Good topic to write about! :)

  25. (I read this, this morning and wanted to respond IMMEDIATELY, but I had poopey school to get back to!)

    I try to be mindful of talking about Nia! Even as I parent, my sister-in-law talks about her children ALL.THE.TIME and it just annoys me, so I try to not be that person – for many reasons, such as the one you mentioned.

    I just really think the whole ‘being mindful’ thing (for ANY scenario) is really important. And, I’ll try my best to keep Nia talk to a minimum ;) . You are a beautiful fur mama right now :) . I’m sure Cory acts somewhat like a child, too? No? Just Tyler? Oh, rats! (totally kidding – I’m sorry Cory! I’m not kidding for the Tyler part though. Ok, I’ll leave your blog now.)

    • Colleen says:

      Char, I adore you!! I read your blog every day because you’re so real without being negative (and because you’re awesome and perfect and need to enter your family into a modeling competition. Sorry, I’ll stop..)

  26. Jessica says:

    Thank you for this post!! I am currently pregnant with my first baby, and especially since I got pregnant I have been acutely aware of how negative so many parents are when they talk about the changes that come with a child. I think part of this comes from a good place – parents wanting to fight against the Pinterest-perfect portrayals of parenthood that so many put out there, and to shed light on the realistic aspects of parenting. But you know what? My life of doing whatever I want whenever I want and sleeping all the time and freedom and etc. etc. has left much to be desired, and I am glad for the privilege to sacrifice for a child. And you are right – there are many, many non-parents out there who wish for nothing more than the privilege of making that sacrifice. Our society glorifies selfishness and basically tells you all the time that the only way to be happy is to give YOURSELF everything you want at the exact moment you want it. That is such a shallow definition of happiness, and in my experience only leads to constant dissatisfaction! Whether you have children or not, focusing some of your time, energy, talents, etc. on other people is actually a way more rewarding way to live – even when it means giving up stuff you want once in awhile. When my baby is born, I hope so much that I can shed a good light on parenting and maybe make it a little less scary for people, and in doing so respect the non-parents in my life and their desires too. P.S. I will also say, I have LOVED being pregnant and my pregnancy has been mostly symptom-free. So, don’t worry, it isn’t necessarily a miserable experience!! For some reason it is way more acceptable to complain about being pregnant and how miserable you are, and if you are one of the “lucky” ones who feels great and likes pregnancy, you feel like you can’t say so because then all of the miserable pregnant ladies will HATE you.

    • Colleen says:

      Oh my gosh, congratulations, Jessica! By this comment alone, I know you will be a fantastic mom! I could not agree more – our society glorifies selfishness and it’s a shame. My mom was/is the most selfless person I know, and when I asked her, “was being a mom terrible when we were growing up?” She looked genuinely confused and sad. Of course it wasn’t terrible! I have to remind myself of that :) I wish you the best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy, and all the best for your upcoming future with your baby!

  27. Ryan says:

    Before I had kids, I thought for sure I would prefer life without ever having them. I was a traveling musician, living in the city, with my super-hot girlfriend turned wife (who had always been out of my league) Nothing ever bothered me, I had no worries (except maybe getting my wife pregnant..a bit ironic now that I think about it) We traveled a lot. One summer we drove across the country where we camped, stayed in hotels, drove up the coast, went to about dozen Phish shows, saw the Grand Canyon, climbed mountains, visited friends, walked through city streets, ate great food, sampled local beer, and listened to Johnny Cash the whole ride (she drove about 6000 of those miles, I drove about 30) Gas was less than 2 dollars. That year we found ourselves in all 4 corners of America. Digging life, and it was just the two of us. And we basically did this for 10 years. It was glorious and life was grand. I felt no need to change a thing. I had no interests in what parents were up to or what life would be like in their shoes. However, we decided to have kids and I figured “sure, it sounds crazy, And I bet it will be great”
    It is a little hard to describe why having kids is the best thing ever without sounding cliche. But you would never want to have it any other way, and it’s not even close. But this only becomes a reality when you have that particular perspective. So your not missing out either way. I love the self-titeld Fleet Foxes album. I enjoy the hell out of it, and if I would miss it terribly if i were stranded on an island. My life is better by simply having it available to listen to. But before I heard it, I was not aware of this particular album, so there would have been no conceivable way that I would miss it or feel like I was missing out. It just would not matter. But I’m still glad I heard it, and would never change that. (forgive me for comparing my kids to a Seattle-based indie rock band’s first LP)
    Everything my wife and I do is simply for them. If life without kids is like strolling through the park with no real plan of where you want to go or what you want to see (which is amazing!). Having kids is like taking a hot air ballon around the globe with a clear purpose of getting from point A to point B (or maybe using one of those wing suits that used to be owned only by super heroes but are now a real thing). Whatever your mode of transportation, the goals are the same. Enjoy the ride (that’s easy), and land at point B (I will easily give this 110%). Both activities are incredible, just different. And you will have a natural bias towards whichever one you find yourself doing.
    Our purpose as parents is what I find so rewarding and great. Nothing else REALLY matters. Which is an incredible frame of mind to experience. And I wake up everyday, extremely excited about every little thing that pertains to my kids. Simply being in their presence puts a smile on my face at least 70% of the time. And the moments that are often perceived as the toughest moments (like grocery store meltdowns, or finding your toddler drawing on the wall) are amazing, far-out things to witness and be a part of. In fact the really intense moments make me laugh. It makes you want to take a picture, and memorize the moment as if you were looking at the Grand Canyon. A couple of months ago, I found both of our boys in our pantry playing in 5 pounds of rice that they dumped on the floor. They were having a blast and it was immediately clear that I had a big mess to clean. But It was a shockingly delightful, excellent moment I will never forget. I loved every second of it for some reason (and that just sounds crazy) And the really great, well behaved, incredible moments are even more far-out. Observing how their brains evolve, talking to them, teaching them, laughing with them. Watching them laugh at something is far more rewarding than laughing myself. I’m more interested in what they have done on any given day than I ever was about what my day looked like before kids. And that is the case for every single one of their days. I can’t wait to hear about the next one. And these are wild and crazy little boys that break things, find the most dangerous situations available at any given time, and generally run our lives at their speed while finding humor when they feel that we are not keeping up. The game is fixed and they know it (and they get to sleep 9 hours a day, or however many hours they decide they want) And every moment you spend with them is surreal and enjoyable.
    I realize that as they get older, the kind of moments we find ourselves in will change. I can only imagine that they will get easier and harder simultaneously. The scenery will change but the ride will still be happening. Flying around the world in a wing suit never gets old!
    Their whole lives are ahead of them. But their lives are also ahead of us. Which is what we are looking forward to. And that gives us a unique purpose. It’s purpose that I could not even begin to explain to my child-less self from 3+ years ago. I would not even try, and he would not REALLY care. (But he would be happy to know that my wife is hotter, I am smarter, I’m having loads of fun, I am never board, and each day is better than the last in the grand scheme of things.) And being with my children is the absolute greatest time spent imaginable. Like I said, there is a 70% chance of smiling just for showing up. Imagine how great it is to point out the moon to a 1 year old who proceeds to point, say moon, and smile. Or how great it is to explain why the moon is there to a 3 year old, who proceeds to giggle and gaze upward. It’s incredible.
    Apples and Oranges are both delicious. But the thought of an apple is never as good as ACTUALLY eating an orange, or vice-virca. “I had a great apple!” is a satisfying thing to be able to say, but it will never satisfy your soul as much as the very moment you are saying “this orange tastes amazing!”

    I think parents complaining about kids has little to do with actually having kids and more to do with just the idea of complaining, or maybe just thinking out load. And the good ol’ days will always be the good ol’ days. With or without kids.

    Driving 6000 miles in a car with 2 young kids sounds like something I would pass on right now. If my wife and i drove 6000 miles tomorrow without them, we would talk about them almost the whole time. But having a plan to maybe take them on a 6000 mile road trip in the future makes you just really excited about what is coming. The focus is clear, which is what I dig about the whole thing.

    Either way;
    “the only Zen you find at the tops of mountains is the zen you bring with you”
    and..
    “Life is what happens to you when your busy making other plans”
    and..
    “such a long long time to be gone, and a short time to be here”
    and..
    “can’t I live while I’m young?”

    • Colleen says:

      RYAN. I cannot even begin to eloquently match what you wrote. That is, by far, the best and most meaningful comment I’ve ever gotten in 3 years of blogging (and I’ve gotten over 10,000 comments!) You are so awesome and you and Lexi are kick ass people AND parents which doesn’t happen very often (outside of our MG community.) Thank you, thank you, thank for writing this. I will re-read it over and over again!

      • Lexi says:

        He honestly couldn’t have said this any better, & I am so humbled by every word he just wrote. (Especially the hot stuff, helps when you gained about 60lbs when having these babies & having a hard time getting that amazing pre-baby body back.)

        He’s right, we honestly never imagined life with kids & decided (fairly on the spot) that we were going to start a family. 4 years later (almost to the day) here we are, currently living life at the whims of the two most amazing little boys in the entire world. They are frustrating at times, but who isn’t? No matter what these two do, I love them so much it literally hurts to think about it. I love my husband more & more every day for being my partner in crime on this journey & even though there are days where I feel like I want to pull my hair out, I would not have it any other way. Looking back at our childless life together, it was really fun. REALLY fun, but the fun we are having today is a completely different type of fun.

        I most certainly have those moments in the grocery store where I want to lose it (& I am not known for my patience or my pleasant temper). But this little person is just learning how to face challenges, even if those challenges are over not getting Fruity Pebbles & having to settle for organic, healthy cereal. I have to remember that his sole purpose in life right now is to learn as much as he can so that he can figure things out on his own. His two greatest teachers are myself & my husband. We aren’t perfect, we make mistakes. For example, the 1st word’s out of my 3 year old’s mouth this morning were “Damn it” to himself, quietly in the dark. Twice. And the “bad” parent that I am was trying not to laugh out loud at such remarks while I got ready in the bathroom listening to him. You find your flow & you just go with it. What works for others may not work for you.

        I will add that I am the least patient person I know. On the face of the Earth. Period. Getting pregnant was a hard thing for me because I expected it to happen immediately. Imagine all those years trying NOT to get pregnant to find out it’s not the easiest thing to achieve when you WANT it to happen. I had an ultimatum at the time because of a medical condition & I was worried it would never happen. I invested every second of thought into it. Stressed, took lots of supplements, & did all those ridiculous tricks to achieve. It took us 3 months, which is not a long time at all, but every time it didn’t happen, I was so disappointed. I like having things done my way, under my terms, & my timeline & this was something I couldn’t control. The people telling you not to stress immediately became secret enemies. Don’t listen to anything ANYONE tells you about it, don’t ask people about it. {As you well know, I have probably scarred you for life on the idea of natural birth ;) } It will happen when it happens. You can’t control it. Even if you are using fertility aids & what not, it will happen when it happens. Try to enjoy the “ride.” They come fewer & farther between once you have those babies in the house. ;)

        We all love you & what you write is profound. I honestly must thank you for giving me & Ryan the avenue to share our experiences & opinions on the matter as well.

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  29. #1 REASON TO HAVE A KID: When you have food all over your clothes, you can say they did it. Actually, you can say they did pretty much anything you want before they start talking.

    Go get pregnant. Totally worth it.

    Kidding. Kids are fun, but I think the most important lesson is that people should just try to enjoy their lives no matter what the situation entails. Kids? Love your life. No kids? Love your life. If you can’t “be happy” in your current role in life, changing it usually doesn’t help much. I pretty much just think miserable people are miserable people and their actual situations are just what they blame that on. I guarantee you all the people constantly griping about shit would do so even if they had the most carefree life imaginable.

    Wow, totally didn’t mean to go off on a rant there. I haven’t finished my coffee yet.

  30. Danica says:

    I could not have said this better myself, Colleen!! It’s a weird norm that our society has where parents feel the need to complain about their kids and lives as parents – I really wish that would change. And yes, it really hurts to me when women who are pregnant talk about how awful they feel, etc. when I literally cannot get pregnant right now, no matter how much I want to be. I know parenting is the biggest challenge, but I think we need to reintroduce more positivity and empathy.

  31. Susan says:

    From a non-parent that desperately wanted to be one, thank you! You nailed it!

  32. Jess says:

    I’m a non parent, that would want to have kids some day (not now), and everything you say is so true! My sister keeps telling me to enjoy life because the moment I get married and have kids everything will change!

    I love my nephew more than anything on this earth, and I know the day I decide to have a kid (with my then husband) I’ll have to figure it out. Maybe I’ll scream, but isn’t that what parenting is all about? Kids melting down due to fruits instead of chips? It’s a human thing to make things look harder than they are and horrible than they look!

  33. Kelsey says:

    This was amazing. So glad that I read it. My sister had my niece when she was just 20 years old, and I’ve been up close and personal with the Non-Parent side of things. Granted, when your sister is living at home with said newborn, you kind of turn into a “parent” at the beginning. My mom and I were always there to help with close to everything, most days so my sister could take a shower and run errands for an hour to clear her mind.

    Knowing my niece now, I know I want to be a Parent someday, but being a Non-Parent for now is all good. I am almost 22, so in my mind, kids are still a long ways down the road (but who knows, that could change as well). For right now. I’m good with where I’m at, and someday, I’ll probably decide that maybe bringing the kids to the grocery store is a no-no for me, and it will be my “me time” during the day.

  34. Morgan says:

    Thank you for writing this :-) As a non-parent I’ve judged others negatively in the past but now I’m trying really hard to sympathize with them instead of ridicule them. I’m sure it’s extremely hard to deal with children and since I have no idea what it’s like, it’s not fair for me to assume what they should or should not be doing

  35. Jenny says:

    I love this post as it fits perfectly in my life right now. My husband and I have been trying for our first baby and after a few months of trying received the wonderful news I was pregnant. Sadly, I had a miscarriage about a month ago. I hate when people ask me if we are trying or why we don’t have kids yet (been married three years). It also hurts when people who are parents complain about their kids. I’m like, “I’ll take them then if they are so bad. Give them to me!” Everyone could benefit from thinking before speaking. Some people would do anything to have a baby and it’s painful and terrifying to think it could not happen.

  36. AMEN. I dont’ think some people realize how hurtful they are being when they say…. enjoy it now while you don’t have kids. We have been trying for children for 3 YEARS! I want rid of that freedom!

  37. mmmHMMMM… This right here. So much yes. We both want children, but haven’t officially started TRYING. I get so annoyed when parents talk about how hard their life is, how tired they are, how they never have time for themselves, etc. I understand it is the toughest job in the whole wide world, but gosh, the rewards! Once the trying starts ’round here, I’ll be darned if I won’t speak my mind to those complainy parents.

  38. Theresa says:

    LOVE this blog……parenting is the most amazing thing in the world!
    Let’s face it, bitching about things in life doesn’t make it better, but some people feel the need to do it anyway.
    My boys are the best – and they are 5 years apart (not by choice). People always look at me funny when I tell them that, like what the hell were my husband and thinking, when they are NOT thinking that it wasn’t in our control. We did not have the convenience of conceiving every 2/2.5 years……..
    Let me just say I am GRATEFUL for my family every day. And I am thankful for friends that are grateful for their children/families and my friends that are not parents!

  39. alicia y says:

    Having kids is extremely hard work but also the most rewarding thing ever. I wouldn’t trade my two for anything. They can drive me bat shit crazy and then all of a sudden melt my heart. I love volunteering at their school, seeing them interact with friends, play sports, just talking with them. Cuddling on the couch is the best too!

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  41. A friend and I used to always talk about this exact thing. How women sometimes complain about kids and the drama they bring (which they do! don’t get me wrong) and how we would drop everything in our lives in a second in order to trade lives with them. I can’t imagine anything better than being a mom and I can’t wait for my turn!

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  43. Esther says:

    Since the day I got married people have asked my husband and I when we would be having children. We want them, and we have tried on and off yet still no kids. (We both have some health issues that are making it more challenging to get preggo.) It is often painful when someone brags about getting preggo so quickly…and then there are my friends who complain non-stop about having kids. Yes I get that it is a challenge, but both sides of the stories I hear almost seem insensitive. I have even had a few friends tell me the don’t want kids (which I think is totally fine!!) and then they get preggo and act like it is the worst thing ever! Hello, I would adopt your baby in a heartbeat.
    I guess I feel more aware of the issues surrounding parents vs non-parents due to my work and my challenge getting preggo. I wish it a topic that wasn’t so taboo when a woman struggles to get pregnant, and that we could simply support and encourage each other no matter which path we are on!!
    Bless you for sharing this!

  44. Esther says:

    Hope the above comment was clear. Posting from my phone and the typing is a bit slow!

  45. Mallory says:

    LOVED this post!!!!!! SAME thing goes for those who are pregnant and having a tough pregnancy – it’s tough to hear about how horrible the weight gain is or not being able to have a glass of wine or not fitting into clothes or being able to do normal activities – some of us would give their lives up to experience all of those things in a split second. I think sometimes it’s easy for people to underappreciate the good they have in their lives and although they love their children – what would it be like for them to be ‘on the other side’ dealing with the grieving of a dream that may never happen?

  46. Brynn says:

    Well said. You never know what people want or have been dealt in life, sometimes it’s out of our hands. Thank you, thank you.

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  48. Beautiful post. Thank you for saying this!! <3 It is a nice reminder to those of us who are parents too, to be a bit kinder and for all of us, regardless of what we're going through, to be thankful for what we have instead of constantly complaining about what we've been handed.

  49. Great short but detailed post! People jump to conclusions, ALL THE TIME. What for? You never know what is going on in their lives!

    <3 LP

  50. Robin says:

    Perfect post! I am a new reader but I have to say you hit the nail on the head with this one! Well written, thank for saying the words I wish I could say to all my parent friends for years!

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  53. I couldn’t have said this better myself. Came across your post as I was reading The Lean Green Bean’s post on this.

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