We've all been there before. That palm-meet-face moment when you wish you could take back something you just said to a relative or friend, only to remember that time travel is not yet possible and that you are now screwed. Typically, these comments can be excused and marked as ignorance or plain stupidity, but there is an instance where this type of behavior is not excusable.
Before I became a mom myself, I was incredibly guilty of not understanding schedules, sleep deprivation, and just life as a parent in general. "What do you mean you have to wait until after nap time to come meet me for a drink?" Yes, that was something I said not too long ago, among many other ridiculous assumptions I had as a non-parent speaking to parents.
Why isn't there a communication plan or idiot's guide for shit like this?
Well, now there is. I realized if I myself was guilty of this nonsense, then others must be, too. So, here it is:
A Non-Parent's Guide to Conversing & Communicating: 10 Things NOT to say to New Parents
- Why are you always tired? Don't, just don't. No, it is not the same that your puppy wakes you up at 5 AM every morning to go pee. It's really not even fucking close. Instead of asking this obviously stupid question rephrase it with, "Is the baby keeping you up again? Want me to bring you coffee?"
- Be there at exactly XYZ o'clock. It's not going to happen, so don't give new parents an "exact" time. Unless it's a wedding or the Grammy's, most new parents will be fashionably three-days-late to everything. Accept it and don't make them feel guilty when they get there. Instead, greet them with a hug, bottle of wine, or small joint to celebrate their arrival.
- Just get a babysitter and come out with us! If it were that easy, every parent would do it. Instead of asking them to get a babysitter, offer to babysit so they can go out.
- You used to be so much fun! I have a family member who reminds me of this almost weekly. I know her intentions are good, but I also want to throat punch her at times (nothing but love). HOWEVER, please do not remind mom or dad about their formal, fun selves. If your friend was still the same drunken, irresponsible human he or she was in college, that wouldn't make for a very good parent now, would it?
- You've changed so much. See above comment. Also, shut up.
- What do you mean you haven't showered in a week? There were days where I couldn't get off the couch let alone even take a shower. It's hard to find time for anything, and typically showering falls at the end of the list after eating and sleeping. Breathe through your mouth for a couple days and get over it.
- Do you really have to nurse the baby in public? Read this.
- You hold that baby too much. Most newborns have to be held to stop from crying. Want to give the mom or dad a break? Offer to hold the baby you selfish prick instead of Snapping a pic of your iced coffee.
- Why does your baby cry so much? Aside from obvious neglect, this question need not be asked by anyone, ever. If the baby is crying a lot around you, chances are it's colicky, or gassy, or maybe it hates your fucking guts. Either way, the parents are clearly aware of the screaming, so don't bring it to their attention. K? Thanks.
- You guys don't have sex anymore? Is everything okay? Sex, like sleep, disappears those first few weeks or (sorry, Dads) months after the baby comes. Nothing is wrong with their relationship, it's totally normal. What's not normal is you noticing or reminding them of their dry spell. Also, read this.
When in doubt, just shut your mouth. Bring wine, or coffee, or both and just support them as much as possible. When the time comes for you to experience parenthood, you will appreciate the advice from a seasoned pro. I can promise you one thing, though, they will not ask about your sex life or shower schedule because they will know better.