parent opinion

HOLLY WAINWRIGHT: The 15 most annoying things non-parents say to parents.

I don't want to start a war. But shots have been fired in my workplace and I demand permission to defend.

In the Mamamia office - a place that exists both IRL and on a multitude of video hang-outs daily - a conversation has been brewing between my excellent young colleagues about just how ANNOYING the parents they know are. Specifically, in the things they say to non-parents.

You know, doubtless infuriating things like "You're tired? You don't know tired!" and "You haven't really experienced love until you've had a child," (I do not believe anyone ever says that, but friends, the word is out that they do).

Read the other side here: "As a mother..." The 14 most annoying things parents say to non-parents.

It fired me up, this sledging of my people. I refuse to stand idly by.

Watch: Things mums never hear. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Here is a non-exhaustive list (some from me, some crowdsourced from my parent friends and colleagues) of the really annoying things non-parents say to parents. I would apologise for the snark in the tone of this list, but... I like it.

Number 1: "I'm so tired."

I know, this is a cliche. And I know you are tired, people. I KNOW you are. But also, unless you have significant caring duties at home (and many people without kids do), you are not tired because of someone else. Someone else who you are contractually obliged to keep alive, whose nightmares/feeding needs/bed-wetting/4am wake-up stage you have to attend to no matter how tired you already were to begin with. 

For years, and years and years. Being tired because of someone else who you can't divorce is a special kind of hell.

Number 2: "That kid's being noisy in a [insert public place here]. Why isn't his mum taking him away?"

Because, Karen, she's trying to live her life/doesn't want to make a scene/lives with this level of noise at all times and is now deaf/is in a queue/is on a plane/has a sick child/has a tired child/needs to get this one thing done/is in the middle of tantrum training. Deal with it. And also, why "mum"?

Number 3: "Oh, I wish I could go on maternity leave, I'm so jealous. I could really use a break."

Yes. Nothing as relaxing a holiday that starts with another human bursting from your body, moves into 24-7 sleeplessness and morphs into the existential realisation that you are now 100 per cent responsible for the well-being of another human life. It's so relaxing.

Number 4 (related): "Enjoy your day off!"

When you work part time and have kids (particularly tiny and small ones) at home, the day you are not in the office is not your day off. I hate to tell you, but the days in the office are the days "off", however busy you are.

Number 5: "Your kid's kicking the back of my seat. Can you control her?"

Controversial, I know. But sorry, she's two. I'll tell her not to, but she mostly doesn't listen. Because she's two. If I knew how to control two-year-olds, I'd be a billionaire.

Number 6: "Must be so nice to have a cute little baby to stare at all day."

Because that's what parents do. They sit around with all the time they have, staring at their children.

Number 7: "Are you having another?"

Unless the parent you are talking to is visibly, unquestioningly pregnant, practically bursting at the seams, there is no answer to this question. Maybe. I hope so. 


Would you like to sit down and hear a long and involved story about my fertility history, past miscarriages or my partner's sperm count? Didn't think so.

Listen to Mamamia's parenting podcast, This Glorious Mess, hosted by Holly Wainwright. Post continues below.

Number 8: "I'd never let my kid eat sugar."

This should only ever be dignified by an ear-splitting, long belly laugh. Yes, you will. You definitely will.

Number 9: "I will never let my kid have screen time."

See above.

Number 10: "Can't you just drop them off with their grandparents."

Not sure who needs to hear this, as the internet cliche goes, but children are not pets. And anyway, Grandpa's at pilates.

Number 11: "Is Dad babysitting?"

No. I refused to pay him for looking after his own children.

Number 12: "Don't become a baby bore, will you?"

And yet, they will happily talk for hours about their dog, partner or job without drawing breath. Say what you mean: 'Please don't talk to me about subjects I can't relate to. It makes me uncomfortable if I can't be part of the narrative.'

Number 13: "At least you can park in the 'parents with prams' spots!"

As if that's anything like compensation for having to go shopping with a small child.

Number 14: "Make sure you are still getting some 'Me Time'. Put your own oxygen mask on first."

The only way you're allowed to say this is if it is immediately followed by an offer to babysit/cook dinner/take you out drinking (after organising a babysitter)/take you for a massage (after organising a babysitter) or take your children away for some time so you can lie on the couch with your oxygen mask on. And by oxygen mask, I mean a sheet mask and Bridgerton.

Number 15: "Where did they learn that kind of behaviour, though?"

When a child is ramming their own head into a wall/on the floor kicking their legs in one almighty tantrum/hitting another kid with a sand-spade. From me, clearly. I behave like that all the time. What's your point?

I think I have snarked enough. Please, I know you will have more. Send them on in.

Read the other side: "As a mother..." The 14 most annoying things parents say to non-parents.

Feature Image: Instagram / @wainwrightholly

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