Hints from Well-Intentioned Rude People

Why is it that when you vent about something going on in your life, “helpful” people must always chime in with obnoxious comments intended to make you feel better, that actually end up having quite the opposite effect?

And thus, The List of Things I Will Never Ever Say:

To a high school student:
“It only gets harder in college.”
“You have no idea what ‘a lot of homework’ really is.”
“You couldn’t pay me to go back to high school.”

To a college student:
“Just wait until you’re out in the real world — it’s SO much harder.”
“Yeah, but you still have your parents to fall back on.”
“You think life’s tough now? All you have to do is study and party. The rest of the world has to WORK.”

To a person complaining about their boyfriend/girlfriend:
“Marriage is so much harder than what you’re dealing with.”
“When are we going to be at your wedding?”
“When are you going to dump this loser?”

To a newlywed:
“So I guess the honeymoon’s over?”
“Never thought it would be this hard, did you?”

To a pregnant woman or expecting couple:
“Enjoy it while you can, because once that baby gets here you won’t be able to … [insert whatever activity they enjoy]”
“In a few months, you’ll understand what tired really means.”
“In a few months, you’ll be wanting to put that baby back IN.”

And now… the ones I’m living now, with commentary…

To the parents of a particularly difficult toddler:
“Enjoy these times. You’ll miss them.” Honestly? I don’t think I will. People told me I’d miss the baby stages. I DO NOT. I don’t like babies. At all. Never really have. I enjoy snuggling with them when they’re sleeping. I enjoy the freshly-washed baby smell. But the rest of it? Don’t miss it at all. I don’t expect that I ever will. And aspects of my children’s personalities that are specific to their ages? I’m sure I’ll miss the phrasing and the funny comments they make. But the continual droning of my name and the constant begging for things when I’ve already said no about fifteen times? Not going to miss that. The way I feel around 5pm every day? Not going to miss that. The way I dread getting up to face another damn day of it? Not going to miss that.

“She won’t go to college in diapers.” Thanks for that. I know that. I just want her to go to freaking PRESCHOOL at this point, and she can’t go THERE in diapers either.

“She’s just testing you.” Thanks. Your profound statement has changed my life. I see it all so clearly now.

“Just wait until she’s a teenager.” Thanks. I’m already having nightmares. You don’t have to remind me.

“Don’t blink. It flies by in an instant.” I’m sure when I’m on the other side of all of this, I’ll agree with you. But right now, I’m stuck in the trenches of preschooler hell, and I hate it. I keep praying for that instant you keep mentioning, and one day I’m sure I’ll be sorry I didn’t “cherish” these times, as you suggest, but right now? Right now I just want to get through the day without ripping my hair out. Or hers. Or yours, for SAYING that to me in the first place.

I’m sure I’ll add to this list.

But don’t be one of those people. Erase these phrases from your vernacular immediately, and STOP telling people stuff like this. It’s irritating. CRAZY irritating, to people that are insanely frustrated already.

Don’t add to the insanity. Thanks.

12 thoughts on “Hints from Well-Intentioned Rude People”

  1. After a lifetime of ridicule for being homeschooled, or not going to college, or what have you…

    …I have to remind myself that people who will say the above are people who don’t give a damn about me and don’t know me from Adam’s housecat and therefore are worth little to nothing as opinions go.

    Great post.


  2. Maybe you and I can send our kids to boarding school in Switzerland…now. I hear ya, E! And I ditto your post!

  3. From someone else who does NOT enjoy children under the age of 2, and will not miss my 5-year old’s bratty selfish attitude…

    I’m sending you a virtual high-five!

  4. Oooh! I get the “you can’t put the baby back in” one ALL. THE. TIME. It doesn’t lessen the nausea, or stop my back from hurting, or make me enjoy the pregnancy thing any more.

    Besides, I bet if I tried REAAAALLY hard, I could put the baby back in.

  5. Sarah — as someone who had the baby jettisoned out of me like a rocket, leaving irreversible damage that I will live with every day for the rest of my life, be very gentle and don’t try to put the baby back in. It’s better on the outside. Seriously. At least on the outside it’ll make you giggle sometimes. On the inside, it’s just annoying. Except for the kicking, flips, and occasional hiccups. But I’m with you. Pregnancy? NOT MY THING.


  6. Frankly, I don’t know why people do it.

    (I needed that in writing somewhere, lest I succomb to the “pregnancy amnesia” I see so many women go through.)

  7. The prize at the end IS ultimately worth the suffering you go through to get there (really, it is. It is totally impossible to explain to a first-time mom, but you will fall more deeply in love than you ever thought you could. Not instantly, maybe not even for a month or two, but you will. It took me a while to bond with Helen because I was so medicated for so long afterwards, but I did)…

    At the end of your pregnancy, you will find that people you have never spoken to (and who you won’t be speaking to — people you see across parking lots, as you pass them in the grocery store, in line at the post office, wherever) start weirdly smiling at you. They don’t say anything, but they get these goofy looks on their faces. It’s because they’re remembering. And once you’ve been THROUGH that portal, you’ll suddenly understand why all the world smiles at pregnant women. Not because they’re snickering that you’re about to be denied sleep and they’re vindictive and horrible, but because they know the joy that’s coming. It’s a wonderful thing to watch.

    My brother and SIL will never have children, because my brother doesn’t want them. She did, but he does not, so she has changed her path and accepted that. When Helen was 10 weeks old I saw them and she told me all of this, and I was up all night long fretting about it. The only thing that brought me any peace about that whole situation is realizing that she did not know — COULD not know — what is being denied to her. Because she hasn’t experienced it. She was an au pair, so she thinks she knows, but it’s not the same. A stepchild is not the same. Until it’s your kid (natural or adopted), it’s just not the same.

    People go through the pregnancy to get to the joy on the other side. Some women feel great pregnant — I did during 2nd trimester, but 1st and 3rd stunk both times. Even the childbirth trauma with Helen wasn’t enough to prevent me from having another child; that alone should tell you something.

    My kids may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love them more than I love myself.

  8. Oh my, I’d almost forgotten about the “he’s testing you” remark until it was used on me just this past week. The people I hang with routinely know better than to point out the obvious, which is why I like hanging with them so much.

    As for the other reminders, thanks for the refresher course. I don’t think I’m too guilty as charged (except maybe for the remarks to the family with their first one and I say “soak it all in, savor the goodness of it all”).

  9. Great comments! OMG, I laughed at the post, giggled at comments, a couple tears have been shed. You are a beautiful writer, Elaine. I’m happy to have closed the factory (it possibly shouldn’t have been open in the first place!) And, I’m truly sorry for telling you that 3 is worse than 2 … 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *