Author Topic: "You obviously don't have children."  (Read 7939 times)

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Raintree

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"You obviously don't have children."
« on: October 03, 2012, 06:39:17 PM »
Yes, we get it, parents of young children often have their sleep interrupted. And we get that parenting is a huge amount of work. But do they get how tiresome the "You obviously don't have children" phrase is, whenever anyone without children mentions sleep, being tired, etc etc?

BG: I have been really exhausted lately. Looking after elderly parent (and yes, I am often woken up in the night with his needs). A million appointments, errands on his behalf, meals, haven't had a weekend to myself (or even a full day for that matter) in months, plus I'm trying to balance this with a new job and getting some of my own administrative needs attended to. I have also been waking up too early and never feel fully rested after a night's sleep.

So last night for some reason I got a REALLY good sleep, and posted something about it on Facebook. Immediately a parent (who doesn't know anything about my situation other than I don't have children) chimed in, "You obviously don't have children."

Now I really don't hold this against him as he didn't mean any harm and was perhaps just expressing envy that anyone can get a good night's sleep ever, but honestly, I've heard that one before, and it's getting old. The other one is when you mention being tired, and someone always chimes in that you can't possibly know what tired is until you've had children.

(By the way, my friend who is balancing children with several very elderly people plus a relative in a mental institution - I don't know how she does it - states that her children are a breeze compared to the demands of the old people).

Also, it's a good thing I'm not upset about not having children. A great many women my age are, and that kind of comment would be even more tiresome in that case.

Aren't non-parents allowed to be tired? And would it have been rude to reply with something like, "No, but just wait until your parents get old and dependent on you." ?

Knitterly

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 06:50:47 PM »
(((hug)))

I am a parent of a small child and I would just like to say that parents don't have the market cornered on tiredness.  You're welcome to say so, too. 

Those kinds of comments bugged me before I had kids and they still bug me.  Lots of people have their own perfectly valid reasons for being tired.  The university student who is working a part-time job while going to school full-time and working under a deadline crunch to get 5 or 6 papers written while studying for exams is certainly tired.  I'm sure the nurse who just came off a double shift is tired, too.  And parents of small kids can get a great night's sleep and wake up feeling perfectly refreshed.  I usually do.  So does my husband.  And my friend whose 3 month old slept 12 hours enjoyed her full night of sleep (her 3 year old doesn't get up in the night anymore, either).

Parents sleep well and non-parents don't.

If other people can be so forward on facebook, I think you're welcome to be forward right back (not rude, just standing up for yourself).  I even think you're welcome to be a little snarky on facebook without actually being rude.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 06:55:43 PM by Knitterly »

Piratelvr1121

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2012, 06:55:49 PM »
I say this as a parent, I get so annoyed when parents pull the "I have kids and you don't" card on those who are childfree/childless. You never know what another person is dealing with, and someone could turn out to have a much better reason to be tired than those with kids. 

And you, m'dear, have a good reason to be tired!  So no, parents don't have the market cornered on being tired.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

ChiGirl

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2012, 06:57:17 PM »
Ah, don't you love those folks who need to brag that their life is worse than yours? 

I'd probably just roll my eyes and ignore it, simply because a person who hijacks your status update to implicitly complain about his own situation is likely to take any response as an excuse to elaborate on his own misery.

Or, you could go with the ultra cheerful, "no, I don't have kids!  And boy, did I ever enjoy my good night's sleep, non-drooled-upon clothing, and extraneous spending money!"  (Maybe not.  This might be considered retaliatory rudeness.)

Hmmmmm

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2012, 06:59:42 PM »
I don't think I'd post anything about dealing with your parent, but only because I'd be concerned my parent would learn I had made a slight complaint.  Instead I'd use it as a teaching moment.  I'd PM the poster and say you know he wasn't trying to be mean, but his response seemed pretty glib when you are dealing with some really difficult situations with an elderly parent and before playing the parent card he might want to think about the challenges others face daily.

As a mom of two, I absolutely hate responses about how hard raising kids is. 

WillyNilly

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2012, 07:03:42 PM »
I don't have kids.  But I have been there, done that with elderly relatives, twice in my life. There were some wonderful aspects to it but it was exhausting, emotionally and physically and very time consuming, which I'm sure parenting is too but here's the big difference between the two that strikes me: as a parent everyday your kid gets better, smarter, stronger, more capable.  And as much work as they may be you look forward to them growing into competent adults. But with an elderly relative everyday they get weaker, more forgetful, frailer, less capable. And yet you don't want there to be an end in sight because the only end to that daily decline is their death. 

So while its not a contest, really if it was, it shouldn't be the parents of small kids who should be smug.  (I don't know how people manage it on both ends: having kids and caring for an elderly family member.) Parents certainly don't have the monopoly on exhausted! 

Lots of people are just as tired.  Heck there were a few years of my life where I worked like a dog - I joked at people who only had 2 jobs, the slackers! I was working towards a major life & financial goal, and I achieved it, but I was doing very physical labor several hours a week, in addition to high end sales (which means a higher level of appearance maintenance and high level of customer service) for quite a few years - several family members of young kids said to me at the time my schedule and workload seemed harder to them their own.  So when people who didn't know me well would make comments like "oh you don't know tired until you have kids" I just pretty much wrote them off as self centered and lazy; they had no idea what my tired was like.

CrochetFanatic

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2012, 07:06:56 PM »
Anyone with insomnia could tell you that they know plenty about being tired, kids or no kids.  You've got more than enough reason to be tired, and for him to leave a comment like that without knowing much about you seems presumptuous to me.

Giggity

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2012, 07:10:31 PM »
"Heh heh, nice mommyjacking. Please to refrain from doing it on my wall."
Words mean things.

sourwolf

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2012, 07:15:39 PM »
"Heh heh, nice mommyjacking. Please to refrain from doing it on my wall."

Short, sweet, and to the point.  I'd go with this and delete any further comments.

Zilla

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2012, 07:18:22 PM »
As a parent, I would rather deal with kids than elderly parents so I would so feel for you.  I hate that phrase too when used that way.


And don't defend yourself, you have alot on your plate regardless what it is and ignore that comment.  You can be tired for any reason and parents of children do not have monopoly on it. 

Sharnita

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2012, 07:24:17 PM »
Mmmm, apparently they've never had the joy of changing a 120 pound adult or trying to get an 80 year old to shower when they don't want to. While it is hard to do with a 3 year old dealing with some of the same issues with a full grown adult can be a whole lot harder.  Added to that is the aspect WillyNilly brought up.  You do both out of love and accept that there are sacrifices but to have others treat that as if it is nothing is pretty hurtful.

Ceallach

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 07:35:25 PM »
I think that type of comment is incredibly thoughtless for the reasons you mentioned - it could be a sore topic for that person, and it also completely disregards any other legitimate reasons for why a person might be tired.  I loathe this type of one-up-man-ship for that reason.    It reminds me of when people trivialise a person's issues because it's not "cancer" or similar, or because they're not a starving child in Africa.  If we try to assign rank to every complaint in life, then by that logic nobody would ever be allowed to complain about anything as there'd always be somebody worse off.  And *everybody* has something to complain about occasionally.  Therefore I think people who make that type of comment are hypocritical as well as judgmental.    It's not ok regardless of how well-meaning they are. 
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


Piratelvr1121

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 07:43:10 PM »
Me too.  As a pp said, at least children will grow out of that dependent phase where they need you for everything (speaking of healthy children that is, not ones that are very ill or have a lot of special needs).  Having worked with the elderly before, I do agree that caring for them would be more emotionally exhausting than caring for a healthy child. 

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

O'Dell

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2012, 08:00:02 PM »
You don't know this person well? This is something I'd defriend on Facebook over. Not because it's a parent/childfree issue, it really could be about any topic, but because it indicates self-centeredness. He/she couldn't say how nice it was for you to get a good nights rest? Or just not comment at all? He/she had to make it about themselves. I've learned thru trial and error that people like this aren't worth getting to know.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

gmatoy

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Re: "You obviously don't have children."
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2012, 08:02:50 PM »
At one very down point, I was complaining about my pain issues with a friend. I thanked her for listening and told her that I knew mine were nothing compared to her pain issues. She stopped me and said, "Pain is pain. I can remember when I thought that what I was living through was unbearable. Now it seems like such a little thing. But I know, that there maybe a day when this will seem like the little thing. We don't need to compare. And you don't need to apologize for hating the pain!"

I feel like this is a similar thing.  Oh, and my hat is off to all of you who are doing this (elder care) long term.