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Samantha Turnbull Writer, mother, anti-princess

Happy family

‘I would never’ parents

When I was expecting, there was a group of parents I referred to as the ‘just you wait’ers.

I was a generally happy pregnant woman. No morning sickness, no heartburn, no major physical complaints.

I looked forward to the impending birth of both my kidlets with inexplicable readiness. I didn’t have an overwhelming fear of the process or the pain.

I even felt prepared for parenthood.

My attitude was one of all-round ‘I got this’.

Some people didn’t like that.

Whenever I’d express my enthusiasm, naive or not, they’d start their reply with ‘just you wait…’

Typical sentences included:

Just you wait until you don’t get any sleep.’

Just you wait until you lose your social life.’

Just you wait until your shoes don’t fit.’

Now that I’m a mum-of-two, there’s another group of parents I’m labelling the ‘I would never’s.

They might be the natural evolution of the ‘just you wait’ers, and they start too many sentences with… you guessed it… ‘I would never’.

It’s a not-so-subtle way of judging, even criticising, the parenting of others.

Instead of outright proclaiming ‘kids shouldn’t eat lollies,’ they wait for you to mention the fact your child had a Caramello Koala for afternoon tea and they respond with ‘I would never let my child eat chocolate.’Lib and cino

Real-life ‘I would never’s I’ve copped include:

I would never let my kids take plastic onto the beach’… in response to seeing my children open some Glad-wrapped snacks on the sand. We took the litter home – of course.

I would never let my kids watch a movie before they’d read the book-version first’… in response to me listing the films my daughter loves (she can’t read yet btw).

I would never take my children to McDonald’s’… in response to me recounting the details of a horrific road-trip in an electrical storm with a screaming baby. We pulled into the Golden Arches for some respite. So sue me.

Sadly, I could go on.

I understand we all have different philosophies, rules and beliefs about what’s right and wrong.

I understand that we all just want the best for our kids.

And I understand the importance of letting negativity roll off your back.

But, you know what? Sometimes we just need to practice a little more kindness.

We can all think a little more before we open our mouths.

I would never want my words to become poisonous baggage to be carried around by another.

Especially a vulnerable new parent.

 

 

 

 

19 responses to “‘I would never’ parents”

  1. Alicia says:

    There will always be someone with a disapproving look or with unwanted advice. Usually from people who don’t have kids! You can only do what is right for you and be happy. Let the naysayers get their knickers in a knot lol

  2. Lisa@RandomActsOfZen says:

    So many of those “perfect” parents around, just waiting for an unsuspecting newbie! I still get their fabulous advice every now and then, and my baby is 11. Loved this post, Samantha 🙂

  3. Lisa (@lybliss) says:

    I always say “Never is a very long time”. I used to admire these women so focused and sure of their parenting choices, while I floundered about, completely bewildered by the many decisions and choices. Now, I feel sad that they have been so stuck in their rigid decisions they couldn’t relax and just enjoy the ride. For the record, yes we have eaten chocolate for afternoon tea ( have actually served apple pie and icecream for dinner = winning 🙂 We took plastic to the beach and brought it home. Not only have my kids all had McD’s, now my two teenage daughters work there, apparently poisoning the children of the future, and as for reading the book first.. give me a freaking break ! In Yr 10 English, my daughter was asked to watch 2 versions of Romeo & Juliet before they started studying the written work. Those parents are in for some hard life lessons. Keep doing what makes your family happy xx

  4. EssentiallyJess says:

    Oh they annoy me too. Never say never, because you never know what will happen!

  5. stephanie@stephsjoy says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. I think we are all entitled to an opinion of what others do, but that entitlement doesn’t always require us to voice it either. Like you wrote – “We can all think a little more before we open our mouths.”

  6. Grace says:

    Those “I’d never” parents annoy me too. These days I think I have a lot more confidence in my parenting to laugh them off but I do agree that in those early stages where everything is confusing and overwhelming, the last thing I needed to hear was what I was doing wrong…

    • Samantha says:

      Yeah, I think we all have our ‘I’d nevers’ but it’s when and where we choose to sprout them that’s the issue. For instance, I’d never let my toddler wear mascara, but I wouldn’t vocalise that the moment a friend turned up with their three-year-old looking all panda-eyed. 🙂

  7. Jody at Six Little Hearts says:

    Haha! Last night my baby sat next to me, eating a small packet of chips at the age of 18 months. In my mind all I could hear was the disgust of the “I never” parent comments. Admittedly it was a first for me (to give a packet of chips to a baby), but it is hard to not let her share in some joy when the older ones are munching the same! Sometimes you’ve just got to drop the guard and let life lead the way. (She really enjoyed the chippies by the way! :D)

    • Samantha says:

      Dude – my 18-month-old once had chips for dinner. The crisps in a packet variety, not the hot kind. Long story, but there was a big tantrum, thrown vegetables, and he won.

      Not something I hope to repeat however!

  8. Emily says:

    I would NEVER write a blog post about that… haha. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have! Yep, people like to get their two cents in. If they feel it’s not welcome, they couch it in something else. Advice or observation. Whatevs. x

  9. Carlie says:

    Love this Amber – “Because sometimes we don’t even realise the messages we are sending out to other people. And because our words matter.” Brilliant post Samantha, something I feel I need to be more conscious of myself.

  10. Renee Wilson says:

    I love that second last line! I really, really dislike people who do this. So quick to judge. People need to learn how to think before they sleep and please there is nothing wrong with taking plastic onto the beach.

  11. Amber at Adventures of a Rainbow Mama says:

    Hahaha. I share your pain Samantha. And I won’t even start with my own list of horrors when I told people I homeschooled! 😉

    But yeah.

    I HOPE I’m not ever the one making someone feel that way. I shudder to think that I probably have inadvertently made people feel that way over time. Never on purpose – but back in the day when my kids didn’t watch tv { they absolutely make up for it now!! like crazy tv people } or when we were all vego or…

    I think this is a great reminder.

    Because sometimes we don’t even realise the messages we are sending out to other people. And because our words matter. Be kind. Yup. xx

    • Samantha says:

      Thanks Amber – do you have a blog post about why you home school? I’d love to read it

      • Amber at Adventures of a Rainbow Mama says:

        Samantha,
        I am sure I have a few on the blog and can look for you – but our boys actually started school last term! Our time homeschooling was amazing and I will always be grateful for the extra years I spent with them but coming back from our travels we decided to shift our energies… and the boys – now 8 and 10 – and settling in really well and are enjoying school 🙂

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