I like to think I have pretty thick skin, but I've been on the receiving end of many kid-related comments -- from both parents and non-parents alike -- that leave me alternately annoyed and speechless. To put it bluntly, there are several things you should never, ever say to a parent, at least not while they're holding a dirty diaper. Here are five examples:
"Maybe you should try [insert unwanted parenting advice here]." Nothing will rile a parent more than unsolicited advice. I know it probably looks like I'm in over my head with three small boys -- and to an extent I am -- but parenting is something I want to do on my own. So no helpful hints, okay?
"Were they all planned?" Another stunner. Not only is it a wildly inappropriate thing to ask, it's also highly personal and nobody's business when you get right down to it. I make it a point not to ask other people about their procreation habits and expect the same courtesy, thank you very much.
"Are all those kids yours?" No matter how many times I hear this question, I'm never quite sure how to respond. Okay, okay. You got me. The first two are mine, but the third, well, I'm not quite sure where he came from. He just appeared one day and was so cute I decided to keep him. Life's funny sometimes, huh?
"He doesn't look anything like you!" I know my kids look like my more-attractive better half and, frankly, that's a good thing. But comments like this make me feel like a hunchback and, what's more, like I had nothing to do with creating them.
"Are you sleeping at all?" With three children between the ages of one and six, what do you think? No, I'm not sleeping. Haven't slept for years, but thanks for asking, I guess. Now would you mind watching my kids for a few hours so I can take a nap?
Donald S. Deane is the proud papa of three little boys who provide endless amounts of joy and sleep deprivation. He has held a variety of jobs, including college English teacher, newspaper reporter/editor, internet project manager, dishwasher and dogcatcher. Don has written for AOL TV, Moviefone, TheFW, ScreenCrush, GuySpeed, and Arcade Sushi, among others.
Parenting advice is given as a suggestion only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider.