I never wanted to be one of “those” parents.
You know, the type that’s always complaining about how hard parenthood is, lamenting about their lack of free time, and wistfully looking back at the carefree days of youth when they didn’t have to evaluate the cost-benefit analysis of a night of drinking.
But I’m there. I’m so there, it’s painful.
And like it or not, I can’t help but be one of those annoying parents who want to be sure that non-parents get their facts right about a few essential pieces of information about parent versus non-parent life.
7 Brutal Truths Every Parent Wants Non-Parents To Know
1. Freedom is your most priceless gift.
There are times (usually only daily) that I genuinely wonder how I spent all my time pre-children. I mean, what did I do all day without four people constantly needing me to feed them, bathe them, and toilet them?
Did I just stare out of the window and think absolutely nothing? Why didn’t I relish all of that free time and like, save the freaking world or something?
I honestly wish that all non-parents could get a taste of life with kids just once if only to appreciate the beautiful freedom that’s being able to take a sh*t when you want to.
2. We’re a little intimated by you.
Sometimes, on the rare occasion that I go out in public without my children, I always feel like I’m dressed in some kind of ridiculous disguise. It’s like I imagine I have a big rubber stamp of “PARENT” displayed across my forehead that forever marks me as a bumbling, somehow always sweaty, frazzled mother of four who’s unfit for society.
I wonder how to function with childless people. Do they know what’s happening in the world? Will they smell my children on me and run away before I show them a picture on my phone?
Do you think we’re all stupid parents who have nothing better to do than talk about our children’s bowel habits?
3. We don’t judge you.
No, really. A lot of people think they “know” what kind of person I am because I happen to have four young kids (read: crazy cakes), but of course, they really know nothing about me.
And contrary to popular belief, I don’t, in fact, believe that all people everywhere should procreate and that a woman’s ultimate purpose in life is to be a biological mother. Actually, I kind of envy people who are so firm in their stance to never have children.
Not that I don’t want children, but I admire people who know themselves well enough to know exactly what they want out of life. We parents couldn’t care less if you have kids or not. But please, return the favor and don’t judge us for our reproductive choices, OK?
4. Diaper changing is an important life lesson.
I’m not saying that non-parents don’t lead important, meaningful lives, but I AM saying that changing a diaper at least once in your life changes you.
It’s hard to take yourself too seriously or think too highly of yourself if you’ve smeared another’s poop across your own hand. A little bit of humility goes a long way in life, that’s all.
5. We kind of/sort of want you to understand what it’s like.
Again, it’s YOUR life and you have no obligation to join my oft-thrown pity party of the parent life. However, that being said, it’s human nature to just want to be understood, right?
In the midst of writing this, I was texting my 27-year-old brother, who, after watching two of my children for approximately 1.5 hours the other day, is still recovering.
“Props to u for even returning my texts,” he wrote me. “I couldn’t do anything! I had to hold my bladder even!” Validation, meet your hungry mother.
6. We’re grateful for you.
I’m not going to waste my time comparing whose life is harder; at the risk of sounding redundant, that would be a total waste of life. Everyone is different and every life is different.
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I fully believe that parents can do anything they want to, but I can assure you that caring for kids does take a lot of time, energy, and attention that could be otherwise spent. And because of that, I, for one, am grateful for any non-parents out there who are working in areas of life that I’ll probably never touch with a limp wet wipe.
7. We don’t want you to be scared.
This all being said, as hard as parenting can be sometimes, I never want to portray parenthood as an endless, soul-sucking black hole of death that it can sound like to my non-parental peeps. Because it’s not.
It’s the best/worst thing you’ll ever do, and if you want to join our ranks I’ll be the first one to congratulate you. Promise.
Chaunie Brusie is a young mom of four and the author of the book, Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming Your Life, Preparing For Your Baby, and Moving Forward in Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy.