Bouncing across the web this month I’ve found several re-postings of Jillian Mackenzie’s list of “10 Things Not to Say to Your Childfree Friends.” It is definitely worth a read.
As a conversation starter between Moms and NotMoms, this article should spark honest sharing. In some cases, that may mean using it to set boundaries with relatives…including one’s mother. Yeah, well. So be it.
#1 on the list is an easy choice: When will you finally have kids? Probing and rude beyond belief. The inclusion of “finally” feels as though my reproductive cycle is interfering with your schedule somehow.
And #5 feels very familiar, too (You’re so lucky you get to sleep in/shop/travel.). Seriously? ‘No kids’ means I’m a couch potato or independently wealthy? Not so much.
I won’t repeat all 10 “things not to say” here, but let’s just say that they each present a different level of obnoxiousness. (And yes, over the years I’ve been personally told each and every one.)
I’ve ranted about Parents Only separatism in this space before, and this list ‘s another reason why. The narrowness of mind that believes A Parent’s World Is The Only World That Matters always presents itself in thoughtless, hurtful language aimed at the childfree.
For example, I can’t die. I’m a Mom. (#8), implies what exactly? That a NotMom’s life is disposable and would be barely missed? Hmm. How might that statement be improved to be even a tad less self-serving? Here’s a sentence that can be used by anyone: “I can’t die. What will happen to my kids/husband/mother/etc.?”
Perhaps much of the world’s rudeness can be minimized by taking an extra minute for empathy and an extra hour to actually talk to the other person and share preferences and realities.