A non-mom’s response to thebump.com’s 10 non-mom faux pas(es?)

Over at MSNliving is a pictorial blog entry contributed by the writers at thebump.com that provides a list of 10 faux pas(es?) committed by non-moms.

See the original list here. Read below for the original points (in brief) along with replies.

1. “They act judge-y.”

That is, non-moms say things like “gross” when they see a woman breast-feeding in public.

(The rest of this reply has been edited for clarification. After reading it as if I had no idea what I truly believed, it bothered me to see that I came off as anti-breast feeding outside of a locked closet. Not the case!)

This isn’t a non-mom-specific reaction. Some people just don’t like to see it and wonder why moms can’t wait a few minutes, forgetting that a baby needs to eat when it’s hungry.

For those mothers who make little effort to cover up (and I’ve only heard of this, but never witnessed it), believing that because breast feeding is natural there’s no reason to not help everyone watch, is it perhaps a mom faux pas to think it’s appropriate to whip out a nipple anywhere and everywhere without using a blanket or other small cover-up because it’s about to go in a baby’s mouth?

There are breast pumps and bottles that can be filled with milk for feedings during times it might be less tactful to lower or lift a shirt.

Urinating is natural, too, but we don’t do it on sidewalks. (I’m not comparing urinating to feeding a baby, but saying “it’s natural” doesn’t always make a strong case.)

Modesty is always nice.

2. “They flaunt their splurges.” More specifically, “…it stings when you have to hear about all of the sweet new swag your baby-free friends can buy (because they’re not forking over money for organic baby food and over-the-top preschool fees).”

Your displeasure at hearing someone speaking does not equate to that person “flaunting.” If you lament that you can’t buy things your child-free friends can, remember that you made a choice. It’s not a non-mom faux pas to enjoy her purchases – it’s your faux pas to suggest she should keep quiet about them so as not to incite your envy.

3. “They compare their basset hound to your baby.”

This is a common annoyance of moms. “Your cat isn’t a child!” Well, I do love my cat. And I feed my cat. I take my cat to the vet. I worry when my cat is sick. I freak out if I think it got into my floss. I take pictures of it. I know its personality and how to piss it off or make it happy. No, it’s not my human child, but it is my cat-child. And because I don’t have children, the only relating I can do when it comes to this kind of thing is when I use the experience I have with my cat. You worried when your kid slipped and fell? God, I totally know what that’s like! I remember the time my cat fell off the loft wall…

We’re both caring for creatures we love. Why can’t we have that in common? Is claiming superiority or special status really that important?

4. “They ask lame questions.”

You mean we ask things we don’t know the answers to because we don’t have kids and we don’t know the answers, so we ask you thinking maybe you, as a parent, will know the answers?

You’re a lame question.

5. “They whine about how busy/stressed/overextended they are.”

You’re right. How rude. How could we possibly be busy if we don’t have kids to take care of? And, even if we are, how could we possibly think to complain to a mother, who believes only SHE can complain about how busy/stressed/overextended she is after she deliberately chose to have a child and introduce yet another source of busy-ness and stress into her life? I mean.

6. “They accuse you of being a bad friend.”

I don’t know that this happens in real life. However, this point as written on the website is actually very helpful and offers good advice: everyone should try to understand each other and carve out some time to connect.

7. “They extend last minute invitations.”

Sorry. I’d probably be guilty of this. We non-moms who don’t live the mom lifestyle will probably very easily forget that parents really can’t just pick up and go. Oops.

8. “They begrudge you your precious little free time.”

This is not non-mom behavior, this is selfish-person behavior. Big difference. Please note and correct.

9. “They offer parenting advice.”

Well, to be fair, #4, under “they ask lame questions,” went on to say, “…know that your friend isn’t trying to bug — she just genuinely isn’t fluent in the ear-splitting language of a newborn yet. Your best response: ‘I wish I knew too!'”

See? You’re a mom, but you don’t know all the answers, either. You’re learning it as you go, taking chances and making guesses every day. It’s all brand new to you, which means that, technically, we have as much experience as you, in that respect.

But we also remember being someone’s child and how different discipline tactics worked or didn’t work on us, what we appreciated about how we were raised, etc. So, I wouldn’t entirely write off our input just because we haven’t given birth.

10. “They can’t sympathize.”

How is this a faux pas? Why is it our duty to sympathize with you? When’s the last time you sympathized with a busy, stressed, or overworked non-mom? (Oh – wait…)

12 thoughts on “A non-mom’s response to thebump.com’s 10 non-mom faux pas(es?)

  1. “9. They offer parenting advice.”

    No one, parent or non-parent, should offer unsolicited parenting that isn’t along the lines of “OH MY GOD YOUR TODDLER IS PLAYING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD YOU SHOULD GO GET HIM BEFORE HE’S HIT BY A CAR!!!” No one.

    Other than that, these whiners should totally shut up and get over themselves.

    • That is an excellent point about not giving unsolicited parenting advice, no matter what. (In fact, most unsolicited advice of all kinds is unwelcome. It’s just so hard to not offer it sometimes…)

  2. Please know that not all mothers – I don’t know a single one, actually – feel this way about their friends who do not have children. It’s too bad that we’re letting this dribble polarize us.

    • I don’t believe for a minute that all mothers feel this way. I hope you know my reply was to the writers and the writing, not to moms everywhere.

      But I hope any mothers who do feel that kind of separation from their child free (or even childless) friends will happen upon this and get a different perspective.

  3. Thanks for this rebuttal. The original article was so whiny and infuriating. Particularly the “you don’t know love because you just have a dog” and buying nice things one. I guess i shouldn’t dress nicely or enjoying spending my money so as not to bother any moms out there.

  4. THANK YOU! I know a few Moms (and Dads) who carry some of the same attitudes mentioned and it drives me up the wall. I had bought an expensive luxury item for myself and come across one of these individuals as I was bringing it home and was actually told ‘must be nice to have no responsibilities, but I have kids so…’. Wow. Just wow.

  5. Man…is it just me or does the entire list from that site seem to have an envious tone? The whole undercurrent of it is jealousy of the childfree. Good rebuttals. Why can’t we all just get along? :P

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