Advice

Parenting Truths: 8 Things Non-Parents Just Don’t Get

It’s said that parenting is the easiest thing to give an opinion about. No truer words have ever been spoken!

It is also true that parenting is one of the hardest things to do. Parenting changes every aspect of your life, from your worldview to your daily life.

And unless you have children, you have no idea the patience, hard work, and dedication it takes to navigate the inevitable ups and downs of parenting.

This is why many well-meaning, childless friends and family members will unintentionally judge or say some silly and downright ridiculous things to parents.

Let’s explore some of these parenting truths – the things non-parents just don’t get and the things they say to parents.

Things non-parents say that prove they just don’t get it 

“Just bring the baby”

Late dinner? Wedding? Hanging at the bar with the girlfriends? Yeah, sure, just bring the baby!

Non-parent friends and family seem to think it’s no big deal, just bring the baby and stick them in the corner with a bottle, in a bedroom, or on a couch, no biggie. If they’re tired, they’ll sleep through anything, right?

Wrong! While every tot is different and some can truly sleep through anything, it’s not a given they’ll behave the way you expect them to. Tots can be fussy, easily overstimulated, and unpredictable.

So, while well-intentioned, no, we cannot “just bring the baby” to a late-night event. No one wants to bar-hop with a baby, thank you.

“You should sleep when the baby sleeps”

Easier said than done! Not only is every bub different, but every situation can be different.

While it is great advice, it may not always be feasible to sleep when your tot sleeps. Many times it is a battle between catching up on sleep or catching up on chores, work, or simply taking a shower or getting some alone time.

Instead of telling the exhausted parent when to sleep, offer to watch their tot so they can catch up on whatever they choose to do.

“Just skip a nap”

Sorry. But Skipping Naptime is Not an Option.

Non-parents don’t understand the importance of nap time. They don’t seem to get why parents plan their activities around their kiddos’ sleep times.

Before having my little guy, I never understood why my cousin would be late to a get-together saying they had to wait for their bub to wake up. Or when they would opt out of a gathering because it was smack in the middle of their nap time.

Now, I completely understand the importance of a child’s nap time! If my little guy missed his nap or if I disturbed him while he napped, he became fussy and difficult to manage.

In that case, it was best to simply cancel any plans since taking a grumpy child along wouldn’t be enjoyable for anyone.

“Let them go to bed a bit later tonight” 

This is one you often get when you admit you have to leave a gathering early or can’t come at all because it interferes with the bedtime routine.

Non-parents just don’t get it. They think we’re just being difficult and rigid. But we’re not. Bedtime routines are so important! Having a bedtime schedule is not only beneficial for your tot, but it is a form of self-care for parents as it allows them mummy or daddy alone time as well as parent-together time.

So, ignore the judgmental comments and eye-rolls and do what you need to do for your tot and your sanity.

“Shouldn’t they be potty trained by now?”

Yes, parents are well aware of the expected milestones. We are reminded of them during our tot’s wellness visits. However, every child is different and gets to those milestones in their own time.

Many childless parents seem to think your tot would already be potty trained if you just tried harder. But the truth is, your kiddo will potty train when ready and not any sooner.

In fact, the more you force it, the more difficult and reluctant your tot will become.

And while many, including their grandparents, will have their well-intentioned comments and suggestions, only you know your child and what they need.

So don’t let others’ expectations overwhelm and stress you out. You’re doing just fine!

“I would never put a leash on my child”

We’ve all seen a parent at a busy store, airport, or playground with a child on a leash and thought it bizarre. I mean, they’re a child, not a pet!

Yes, child leashes are without a doubt a bit controversial but don’t judge until you become a parent of a runner.

Being in a wheelchair, I wanted the freedom to go out with my toddler without the fear of him running away from me. Yes, it felt strange to have him on a leash and I did get stares, but I knew I was playing it safe knowing I wouldn’t be able to run after him if he decided to take off.

And my kiddo was a runner! All I had to do was elude to someone that he was one when he would suddenly say in a playful voice, “I’m a runner!” as he tried to take off.

As an added bonus, tot leashes come in cute, colourful, cuddly backpacks they can snuggle with and carry snacks or their favourite toy.

My little guy’s was an Eric Carle blue elephant. It was adorable and later served as a fun backpack plushy.

“Just force them to eat the entire meal”

Non-parents think that kiddos should eat everything, and if they don’t, then you’re just being manipulated or being too soft on them.

I used to think it was bizarre my nephew only ate chicken nuggets and mac and cheese for the longest time.

Now, having a child with food texture sensitivity, I understand that not every child is the same and that not every approach works for every child.

More importantly, you cannot force your little one to eat something they don’t want or cannot handle yet. It only leads to a bad relationship with food down the road.

“You know screen time is bad for your child, right?”

Yes, as parents, we are aware of the negative impact excessive screen time can have on our children. However, there are times when screen time is not only necessary but helpful.

We’ve all seen parents who allow their children to have a tablet or phone while they shop or go out to dinner. And while we may cast a judgmental stare, it is best to understand and allow the parents some grace.

Oftentimes, it is the only way to get something done. Moreover, in certain situations, it may be beneficial to grant a young child access to screen time, especially if they have autism, are prone to sensory overload, or are simply unable to sit still.

Yes, there are many things non-parents just don’t get about parenting. While they may have well-meaning intentions and suggestions, their comments and suggestions often come across as silly and sometimes even judgmental.

The best thing to do is to offer them some grace and not let their comments or expectations bother you. After all, they are simply unaware of how parenting changes your entire life.

For a twice-weekly dose of Mum Central, subscribe to our newsletter here.

More parenting truths 

Avatar of Gloria Ramirez

Gloria Ruby Ramirez is a writer, mother, and lover of coffee, twinkle lights, and rain who believes in the magical power of words. She is passionate about parenting, mental health, and the environment. She is a former agricultural microbiologist/plant pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. Born in the desert of northern Mexico, she is mum to her beautifully energetic son and Shih Tzu, Gerty. When not writing, Gloria can be found spending time with her son and family, reading, or embroidering.

Write A Comment