I Want Parenting Advice From People Without Kids About As Much As I Want Sex Advice From A Virgin
I hate getting parenting advice or judgment from people without kids. I hate it so much. This is always a touchy subject, but one that I am not ashamed to shout from the mountain tops because it’s the most annoying thing, ever. Before you start throwing out the old stand-by argument of What about day care workers? What about child psychologists? What about (insert profession that demands interaction with children here). I’m not talking about those people. If I found out Masters and Johnson were both virgins I’d probably still trust their opinions because they had studied sex so much. I’m talking about the average person without kids who thinks it’s so damn easy to raise one because so many idiots do it. I agree that a lot of idiots do it – but it’s not easy.
There is nothing more frustrating than having problems with your kids and having some know-it-all who thinks kids are all akin to dogs who can be trained tell you what they think you should be doing. I don’t care if this makes me a sanctimommy or an asshole; it’s the damn truth. I want to be considered cool by the masses just as much as the next person, but any parent who says it doesn’t annoy them when their childless friends offer up advice or judgment about certain things is a big, fat liar.
My three-year-old has latched on to the phrase “shut up.” He heard it in a stupid, god-forsaken Blues Clues parody – and it’s basically made my life a living hell. I told a friend of mine who has no kids a couple weeks ago. Here is his brilliant response:
You need to get a handle on that. You need to show him who is the boss and that you just don’t accept that behavior. He’s only going to get older and harder to handle. Seriously Maria, do you hear me? You need to get a handle on that.
Really? Thanks, genius. I hadn’t thought of that. I guess the endless time-outs and the various ways I’ve tested out trying to deal with this situation were all in vain. I should have just said, “Hey kid. I’m the mom. I do not accept this behavior. Go make me an omelet now.” I’m sure that would have solved everything. Ugh, parenting is so much harder than I thought it would be. Cliché advice and judgment doesn’t help anything.
I understand judging the parenting of others when you don’t have kids, because I used to do it, too. For some reason, I really believed that every child could be trained to act exactly how you want them to. Bullshit. Children are not show dogs. They have their own personalities, demands, frustrations and needs. I didn’t fully understand this before kids. I just thought I could be stern and my child would listen. Then I thought I could do some time-outs and he would listen. I’ve tried a zillion things – and yes, he eventually starts to listen but it is slow-going. It’s hard. Try spending the entirety of your day dealing with frustrating time-outs or a night getting no sleep because your child has decided 2am is his new favorite time to play. Now times that by an endless amount of days.
I’m clearly just tired from lack of sleep and my tyrannical toddler, but I promise you, the more you judge parents before you have kids – the worse your karma child will be. Trust me. I learned the hard way.