Dear Smug Mommy Blogger, You’re The Reason That People Hate Parents

Plenty of parents have lamented a growing anti-family sentiment that makes mothers feel guilty for ever leaving the house and fathers feel embarrassed about taking an active role in their child’s life. Banning young kids from restaurants, the proposed child-free sections on airplanes and constant pressure from employers to put the job first all contribute to putting parents on the defense. Even when my daughter is perfectly behaved in public, I feel anxious and stressed. What if she throws a fit? What if she offends someone? This terror at the thought of being one of those parents, the ones with who are glared at disdain when their kids act out, has kept me home on nights when I want to eat out. It’s made me second-guess my travel plans. And if I’m being honest, it’s made me a little angry.

But ya know what it hasn’t done? It hasn’t made me believe that every childless person with an opinion is a horrible, ignorant piece of crap. It hasn’t forced me to judge every person without kids the same way that all parents are often grouped together. It hasn’t forced me to be a bitter, smug writer who condemns every piece of unsolicited parenting advice they’ve ever received. Unfortunately, the constant parenting pressure seems to have gotten to a mommy-blogger over at Babble.

“Mommyfriend” at Babble has written a piece called, “Dear Know-It-All People Without Kids, Shut The %$#@ Up.” In it, she gives a slideshow of thoughts for all those horrible child-free folks who dared to share an opinion about her parenting abilities or her children’s behavior. These little gems include, “I feel sorry for your future children,” “Please don’t tell me how tired you are,” and “I wish you a difficult child.” It’s filled with all the you-can’t-possibly-understand condescension that makes mommy-bloggers such a despised group by many non-parents. It accuses the rest of the world of being selfish, while staying completely blind to the self-centeredness of parents who want the world to bow to them. It’s rude, and once I got done reading the whole thing, all I could think was, “This is the reason that everyone else hates parents.”

Two of my very best friends happen to be child-free. They’re intelligent, strong women and I frequently call them and ask for advice when I face parenting problems. They may not have given birth, but they are fully capable of discussing behavior problems, schooling questions and daycare concerns. They reassure me when I’m nervous and they talk to me about my discipline decisions. If my daughter grows up to be as amazing as these ladies, I’ll be thrilled. Why on earth wouldn’t I want their opinions? [tagbox tag="mommy bloggers"]

Possibly the best example of how much it doesn’t matter if you’ve had children of your own works right here at Mommyish. Our fantastic Deputy Editor, Koa Beck, hasn’t had kids yet. Thankfully, she still shares her insightful opinions about issues that affect children and mothers. Koa has written about the need for everyone to care about childrearing, saying, “Not everyone wants to parent, which is a choice that should be respected for both men and women. But if we only choose to interpret compassion for children as parenthood, we seek to dismiss the interest and efforts of many who are invested in the well-being of our kids.” I trust and value Koa’s thoughts on motherhood, whether she ever chooses to have kids or not.

The thought of someone telling my friends or my editor to shut the %$#@ up simply because they don’t have kids is offensive to me as a mom. It’s judgmental, which only makes the relationship between parents and childfree adults worse. If we’re feeling like people hate parents, this type of response only fuels that fire. The idea that you have to have kids before you can comment on parenting practices is wrong, plain and simple. And generalizing that all chidlfree adults with an opinion are rude, interfering jerks is just ridiculous.

Sure, I understand that parents feel a lot of pressure. I know that it’s hard to feel like the world wants you and your little ones to stay out-of-sight and out-of-mind. But responding by condemning all adults without children isn’t going to help anyone. Telling everyone else to shut up won’t make your message any stronger. If parents really want to confront the harsh judgment of society, they need to welcome everyone’s viewpoints. We need to encourage conversation, instead of trying to limit it. And we need to communicate our opinions with understanding, instead of snarkiness and anger.

Everyone’s opinion matters, whether they’ve had a dozen children or none at all. Parents aren’t the only ones entitled to have thoughts on parenting. Thank goodness, because I don’t want to miss out on the knowledge I’ve gained from listening to women like Koa and my dear friends.

I’m sorry Mommyfriend, but the problem with “parents vs. childless by choice” isn’t that the other side has opinions, it’s the idea that there’s any battle at all. We all should be in this together.

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    • TheHappyPappy22

      This reminds me a lot of a post I read on someone’s blog where they argued that it’s better to take parenting advice from someone who’s well-adjusted but childfree, than someone who has kids but is a sh*tty parent. I’m starting to identify as childfree but that has nothing to do with my opinion of children in general. Actually it’s BECAUSE I like children so much that I choose not to have them. I can handle kids on a short-term (8 hours or less) basis but having one 24/7 would drive me nuts. It’s for THEIR SAKE that I don’t have any myself. I love them and want the best for them… Which is why I’m not poppin’ out any of my own.

    • Catharsist

      Actually, we dislike parents because our rights and preferences are always overlooked “for the children”. I don’t have kids, so why should I have to change my life for people who wanted that problem? If mommy can’t make it to work, why should I have to pick up her slack? My life is unencumbered and free, and I dont think that should change because someone’s condom broke. As I have always said: your kid, your problem. I’ll become a part of “the village” when I get the tax credits that parents get.

      • Callmekatie

        I remember when I used to work at a call center, on a small team of 4, I went around and around about preferring certain days/ times off because someone else had a kid, etc., etc., but I had to have a “reason” if I needed a certain day off–since I was unmarried and had kept my legs closed (yes, it’s true!), I had NO right to have a schedule preference be given serious consideration, even a random day off.

        I should add that NO ONE else’s schedule had to be changed or threatened by this; our work could get done any time of day at all. The boss was just very…something about allowing me to continue having Thurs. off. (I worked Saturdays.)

      • LetsComment

        I had a similar experience with a job I had a few years ago. I was in a lot of pain and needed dental surgery. I was fairly new to the area and finally found a dentist that had the room to see me. My boss had a problem with me taking the day off from work to get the surgery because she wanted to go and see her niece’s dance recital and didn’t want both of us to be absent from work that day. I can understand wanting to see a family member’s recital but it really bothered me that she felt I should cancel my appointment and come to work in pain. (I quit the job not long after that)

      • EEB

        WORD on the tax credits!! I don’t understand why people owe LESS to the government for creating something that costs society money– it’s completely backwards.

      • Cate

        Yeah.. You don’t have kids, so why should you care about them at all? It’s not like you’re ever going to get old and need those people who used to be children to care for you. Oh wait…. BTW At least parents are creating future tax payers, so really they’re making a much bigger contribution to society than you are by paying more taxes. You can dress it up however you like, but at the end of the day it’s just misanthropy.

      • John Doe

        Oddly enough a lot of those children won’t ever pay taxes, given that the poorer end of society seems to have the most children.

        I am caring for myself by saving for my retirement-the people caring for me will do so because they are paid to.

      • JW McCabe

        Exactly my SIIP ( non government pension) and investments pay for us. We have no reliance on pay it back methodology. Many, Many childfree couples and singles operate this way. I can guarantee our joint tax( forced contributions) rate out strips that of at least 4 people on a ”normal or average wage’.

        I see nothing for my contributions bar minor road improvements and a shoddy NHS.

        We have preferred care whereby we can go private in almost any nation in the EU and we may add the USA bolt on if we acquire a holiday/rental home there. These magic children will be ”paid” to do a service.

    • Cat

      Thanks for this. It’s parents who expect the rest of us to cater to them, put up with it when they let their kids run around and scream or even hit us, that make it a battle. Your courtesy, in the form of teaching your kid how to be polite in public, is appreciated. We understand kids aren’t perfect. We just also expect you to get to as private a place as you can to deal with it, where we don’t have to be along for the ride. My parents did that with me — as well they should have. I’m in favor childfree areas, because I’m willing to pay extra for it, and why shouldn’t I? But I understand that’s not possible everywhere. Thanks for putting in the effort, and for this piece.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kosanya.deakotz Kosanya Deakotz
    • http://www.facebook.com/christophermast Christopher Mast

      Well said.

    • http://www.facebook.com/larissa.oneiros Larissa Oneiros

      Thank you so much for what you wrote. As a child-free woman who does not hate kids but doesn’t really feel all that comfortable around them all the time (due to lack of exposure among other things) I am regularly judged harshly by family in particular. It is nice to know that there are folks out there who understand that not everone has to be baby-crazed, and that’s okay. To those of us on this side, it seems like we’re definitely in the minority, and it is completely politically incorrect to not be in love with babies and kids. Especially if you’re a woman. Like you said, there are lots of people and lots of opinions.

    • Holz

      The difference for me is whether the advice is solicited. If I ask for advice, then I appreciate it whether or not the advice is from someone with kids. If I don’t ask, and am judged, then it does piss me off. What people without kids don’t have to deal with is the stress,and that can make things emotional and difficult.

      • Ziggy

        Child free people have stress too…….just as bad as those with kids. Its this attitude that needs to disappear. Its not a competition of ‘who is most hard done by!’
        I suffer from anxiety, my entire day is stress, and I get very easily overwhelmed and can be turned into an emotional crying, snappy ball of stress with not much provocation. So yes, I DO know stress, thanks. I rescue animals. Try having someone contact you and basically emotionally black mail you that if you don’t drop everything now and come and collect their pet, they’ll kill it. Then have that happen regularly, knowing you can’t accommodate all animals and some will actually be killed because you said no.

        Then tell me how much more stressful your life is than mine.

      • content generating machine.

        Oh yes, I forgot parents have more stress then us childfree people! JFC.

    • lisa

      Thank you for being one of the rare (on the internet) voices of reason regarding this issue. Being childfree is very, very difficult, sometimes it feels like I am at war with everyone – or rather that everyone is at war with me. I’ve noticed over the years that those who are least judgemental of either choice seem to be those who are happy with their own hoices.

      Happy parents, when discussing the childfree, usually shrug and say “I totally understand why you wouldn’t want kids.” Sometimes they may say, with true concern, “I really think you’re missing out”, but they say it as friends who care about me, not as enemies who are disgusted with me. Happy childfree people are usually excited to play with their nieces and nephews, and are often devoted aunts and uncles, including playing those roles for the kids of their close friends.

      It’s only the unhappy on either side of the fence who get angry and judgemental.

      I’ve noticed something interesting in the blogosphere tho – the biggest childfree blogs are no longer updated very often. It’s as though everyone got over it and moved on. Interesting.

      • Ziggy

        I have to agree there. The people who are comfortable in their choices have no need to aggressively condemn others. I’m happy not having kids, so frankly, I don’t care if someone else wants to have them; its nothing to do with me and Im happy enough that I’ve made the right choice so I don’t feel threatened by them making a different one. I do suspect there is a lot of resentment floating about from some parents, perhaps a part of them really wishes they didn’t have the kids, if only a tiny bit of their mind, and they resent seeing people like me in their 30s and happily living my life how I want to, without the bind of a child.

        I’ve actually met a number of parents who have told me, quite frankly, that they adore their kids and wouldn’t want to be without them now BUT……if they could go back in time, knowing what they know, they would not have had children. I wonder if thats a more common attitude than most people like to admit..

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    • matilda81

      This a refreshing piece. I have always liked children, and respected moms, but, lately, as a childless woman the respect is not reciprocated. Current mothers, including friends, have lost a sense of common courtesy by dominating conversations with tales of potty training and graphic childbirth. I don’t tell stories about my bathroom habits, because no one wants to hear that. The sense of entitlement among today’s moms is prevalent. My husband and I experienced this when we got married last June. My friends were actually shocked that we did not want children at our formal ceremony, which was followed by a reception that was similar to being in a night club. Why in the world would anyone think it is appropriate to bring children to our ceremony? We did not want our vows interrupted by a cry or a coo, which has happened at every single child friendly wedding I have ever attended. It’s our sacred day. That should be respected. The reception had a night club environment. Why would anyone think it is ok to bring their children to a night time event, with an open bar? Why would anyone expect us to pay for food that their children would not touch? It is not acceptable to bring your children into an adult environment, complete with intoxicated guests. Having to deal with upset parents brought on unnecessary stress. The fact that people are so disrespectful towards their friends during their wedding is one of the more telling aspects of the modern parenting attitude. It’s nice to see that influential moms are not embracing the entitlement.

    • Miranda

      It wasn’t all that long ago that small children were, as a rule, expected to be “seen and not heard.” I have two kids, and I’m pregnant with my third. Is it just me that hates hearing kids scream in public stores? I don’t even like hearing MY kids scream, let alone anyone else’s, so if I’m at all able to do so, I’ll always take my kids outside the store if they start up.

    • Sick of the Mommy Club

      “the self-centeredness of parents who want the world to bow to them”. Perfectly put. I sit next to a new mother at work who can talk of nothing else and seems to forget that she’s in a workplace for the few hours a day that she isn’t making excuses to leave (and let everyone else do her work for her. It makes me loathe my job because there’s not getting away from it. See also: mothers mowing down other shoppers at Christmas time with their strollers and other self-centered parent behavior.

    • Dotty

      Hi Everyone, I have a question, hopefully I can get some guidance. I am a child-free adult by choice. I chose my career and partner, thats what I always wanted. I do enjoy being with children, but I know well enough that I am not cut out for the job.
      I would say that almost every friend I have and/or persons in my life that I have daily contact with actually have children. I also have neices and nephews, so I would say that all those people are decent parents. More than decent and all thier children are pretty good as well. Aside from a few tantrums no biggie, they all have them.
      All except for one parent. The one parent that happened to be a good friend of mine. She was this really fantastic person, great head on her shoulders, smart, just a great person all around. She got pregnant and everything changed and Im not going to sugar coat this, she is so full of SHIT!
      She has this whole way about her now. Better than the masses, knows its all and don’t even think about offering an opinion that does not support her way of thought. She will be a down right bitch and remind you of your inferior status because you are without child.
      Her parenting is the worst that I have seen, she does not take her child to a doctor, EVER. Even when she has called me concerned that (Child) has a fever, running bowel movements, not eating. This will go on for days, I try very hard to carefully word my responses to her. But Nope, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
      Her child looks very sickly, yellow colouring all the time. And no its not Olive skin. She does not vaccinate her child, I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. I don’t know the pros and cons of it. Don’t need to.
      The child is 2years old, does not speak,(not even one word) only screams, still eats baby food, hits and throws everything, bites a lot, including her and the family pets, very destructive, does not get on well with other children, does drink alcohol(not joking) is around a pot smoking with dad.(as in, its in dads mouth) She does not feel it is important to potty train the child until at least age 3 and her idea of it is “if it sticks”. She won’t push it. The child will know when the time is right. She honestly feels there is nothing wrong with this and she does not want to force the child to do or be or act in anyway that isnt natural for the child. She has even gone so far as so say that a childs behaviour is based on thier sex and this is acceptable for the sex of this child. There are no rules for this child at all. She will never use the word no. She does not re-direct either. The child has no sleeping schedule to speak of. Child goes to bed at 11pm or later, sleeps till whenever. The idea is that she can sleep in more.
      She does not believe her child needs to go to school but home schooled instead.( I don’t care for the pro’s or con’s for either, but this is her reason) This is bc she fears school shootings and has developed a dislike for anyone who isnt white or Christian (not joking). She claims she is proctecting the child from possible harm or discrimination. She was NEVER like this before.
      She also puts her child on a leash. This I have a very strong opinion about, and not a good one and thats for another day.
      She has on many occassions told me how bad her child is and rattles of a laundry list of things that happened that day. I do my best to pussy foot around it, I don’t agree with any of this, but I also don’t want to hurt her feelings.
      But I finally had it and I gave it to her….. sort of. She again was complaining about the bad behaviour and I took it from there and made straight forward suggestions to her. All of which was met with. YOU ARE NOT A PARENT, what do you know?
      I do know that I was once a child, I had parents, most of my friends are parents, I am around children a lot. I think I have a pretty good idea about basic parenting 101. At least the do’s and don’ts
      I don’t know who she is anymore, and why she has become this way, she has almost no friends anymore. I wish I could type more, cause there is so much more to say.
      I guess my question is, did I overstep? Should I have kept my mouth shut? Is this child neglected? How would any of you handle all this?

    • gk pyxis

      Great post! I’m child-free and really don’t like kids at all. This knee jerk angers many people even though it really doesn’t effect them, because women in our society are expected to love kids or be viewed with disdain. I don’t hate parents, but mostly I choose to associate with other people who don’t have kids and I avoid situations where I will be exposed to small children if at all possible.

      That said, I’m much more sympathetic to certain parents more than others. Many parents are just going about their lives in public without many expectations or fanfair, and I can respect that. Some parents however act like they should be the center of attention at all times in all places and those people and their kids are particularly annoying. For instance, I despise mothers who “baby stalk” me, particularly when I am in public reading or otherwise minding my own business.

      No, I don’t think your child is cute. No, I don’t owe you attention just because you are used to getting it from strangers and feel entitled to it. Please don’t glare at me just because I am reading and don’t appreciate having your toddler hanging off my chair and squealing. If your child comes up to me and starts with the repetitive “hi, hi, hi” nonsense, please get the child under control and distracted rather than encouraging the kid to harass me because you are determined to “win” by forcing me to interact with your kid even though I am giving clear signals that I’m not interested. How about teaching them that the world doesn’t revolve around them instead? No one is owed attention from strangers because they demand it. I am frankly not under the obligation to communicate with strangers children in any way. Period.

      In fact, interacting with strangers children is a legal liability which is why more and more people are saying to hell with the idea of “the village”. There was a woman who was prosecuted for not jumping into a river to save a child, because her (very minor) prior interaction with the kid made her a “temporary guardian” according to the court. Not worth it.

      Anyhow, I am however much more sympathetic to parents who don’t act like the world owes them attention and can acknowledge that the people around them have lives too. For instance, I was sitting in a cafe studying for my graduate exams when a couple with two small children came in and squeezed into the table next to me. The kids were rambunctious and I thought, “Oh, crap. Why did they have to sit here when there are plenty of other tables?” Just then the father said in a friendly way, “Hey kids, pipe down! That lady is trying to study.” I smiled and thanked him, and was much more tolerant of the kids since the parents made an effort to acknowledge me rather than immediately assuming that I am there simply to stroke their egos.

      There is a huge difference between good parents who are able to mind their own business, and parents who see every outing as an opportunity to attention whore. I have respect for the former and disdain for the latter.

    • Ziggy

      I think its less to do with whether you’ve given birth or not, and more to do with what kind of person you are generally, and how much respect you have for others.
      I am childfree by choice, I have no maternal instinct and I like my freedom too much. I also like who I am as a person too much to give that up; I don’t want to lose everything about me that makes me ME. And even parents tell me thats what happens. So no. Its not for me.
      But I have a dog, a very high energy, drivey, working dog. And he can be a real handful. As a young puppy, I honestly saw little difference between him and a baby: I had to get up every 2 hours in the night to let him out for wees for toilet training, then he would cry for another hour after that because he wouldn’t settle back down to sleep, and this went on for weeks until he grew up a bit. It was exhausting. And, as someone else said, I had the added challenge, and still do, that he cannot and will not ever understand english, or why he has to behave in certain ways. I can’t explain it to him like one can with a child.

      But I am incredibly aware that, when we’re out, he must NOT inconvenience other people, as much as possible. I don’t let him bother other dog walkers and their dogs, I don’t take him into places I know he’ll be loud or bothersome to others, I make sure he behaves in public. And if I know he is likely to NOT behave, I won’t take him to that place. Not for my benefit, or his really, but for other people. I chose to have a dog, I chose to have a ‘difficult’ breed, and I chose to have a breed other people tend to prejudge and fear. I take that responsibility on fully, because I CHOSE it.

      But even with dogs, you get other owners who seemingly don’t give a crap how their dog behaves, who let them run up to any other dog who is playing and minding their own business and yap in their face, or steal my dog’s ball and run off, or even try to nip and bite him, and the owner either thinks its ‘cute’ to see the big doberman being chased by their tiny dog, or they think as a dog owner I should be cool with whatever their dog does.
      Its not that they’re dog owners that makes them this way: its that they’re selfish, oblivious, arrogant people who have entitlement issues and don’t care how they affect others. They’d be that way whether they had a dog or a child, or neither. Having a kid or having a dog doesn’t change you from a considerate person to a selfish one: you’re already one or the other from the start.

      I have friends with kids, and they are not at all preachy or condescending; they’re just getting on with their lives. But I know others who think they must get all in my face at every opportunity to tell me what Im ‘missing’, or thrust their kids at me as if that’ll change my mind (it doesn’t, it makes me more convinced of my opinion!) or think I should be totally fine with their kids screwing my day up. They don’t even consider that one of the reasons I don’t have kids is because I don’t want to be around them or deal with them or interact with them, so I certainly don’t want to be responsible for THEIRS! There are people on earth who genuinely can’t get their head around someone not liking kids. Its such a big part of THEIR life that they can’t understand why not everyone would want it. Hey, I rescue rats, I have 44 rescued rats and they’re my family and my kids, and I love them to death, but I don’t get up in the faces of people who choose NOT to own rats :P

      And they’re just selfish arses. Thats all. And they’d be the same way whether they had a kid or not, it’d just come out in a different form.

    • RachaelMall

      Mothers only irritate me when they flounce their egotistical, condescending attitude: I’m a mommy so I’m better than you, I’m a real woman, and you’re a pitiful excuse for a human being.

    • Telecat

      Um, no, we should NOT be in this together. Breeders should go it alone with no help from anyone.