Messy diapers, sleepless nights, mom-shaming—there are a lot of things about being a parent that people without kids just don’t understand. To give non-parents an inside look at what life with kids is really like, Buzzfeed surveyed parents on what they wish their friends knew. Here are some highlights from what they said.
“Maybe it’s that you just can’t hang like you used to. Or perhaps it’s that sometimes it seems no one understands you like other parents,” the popular site wrote to members of the BuzzFeed Community on January 7. “Whatever you want your friends who don’t have kids to know, we want to hear it.”
Of the 23 top truths that BuzzFeed shared based on the results, with feeling judged or shamed was one of the major themes. “Don’t judge my parenting decisions. There are many things I said I would NEVER do when I had kids that actually ended up saving my sanity,” writes one parent, while another adds, “Please don’t ever tell a parent not to complain. Raising kids is a blessing, but it’s also hard. Really, really hard.” Parents also wanted friend without kids to stop comparing their pets to human children because it is really not similar at all.
Many parents also commented on how they long to feel included among their childless friends despite having kids. “We still want to be invited to things, even if we can’t go 99% of the time — it makes us feel like we’re not forgotten about and that we’re still part of the circle,” says one parent. However, they also stress the struggle of finding a babysitter and how their friends should understand that they are parents first.
And unsurprisingly, the most common theme was the extreme exhaustion that comes with being a parent. “Yes, you’re tired, too. But maybe the new mom who hasn’t slept more than two consecutive hours due to nighttime feedings isn’t the best audience for your complaints,” says one mom. Another warns, “Do not call or text after 8 P.M. Our children have aged us. We are asleep.”
But not all of the responses were related to the downsides of parenting. Some were more positive, like the mom who wants to remind her non-parent friends, “We actually like our kids and want to spend time with them.”
Are parents choosing to spend time with their children over their friends without kids? That’s a big — a very obvious — yes.