One of the Worst Bingos

I’ve got a bingo!

“So why don’t you have kids? Afraid of being a bad parent?”

First of all, in my experience, it’s the people who were sure they’d make great parents, had no doubts, and went into parenting without even considering they might not be up to it who make the worst parents. People who have doubts are far more likely to make good parents. Thus, even if I was afraid of being a bad parent, that would be a good sign, not a bad one.

What does it say about people who use this bingo, though? Do they really assume that if you don’t do something, you’re not doing it out of fear? Does that mean that stay-at-home-mommies are afraid of going to work? Fear they won’t be any good at it, would get fired or have to answer to someone? Does this mean that if someone had kids instead of say, finishing their undergraduate degree, are “afraid” they will fail their classes? If someone doesn’t go to law school, does that mean they are afraid they’d make a terrible lawyer? If someone doesn’t master Guitar Hero, does that mean they are afraid they won’t win?

I’m not a mother. I’m also not a lawyer or a Guitar Hero player. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid I’ll suck at any of those things. I’m just not interested in any of them. It’s not fear of failure, it is plain old disinterest.

Besides, there are plenty of things I am not very good at, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. I’m really not very good at crochet, but I like to do it. I have a lot of lopsided afghans around my house. Yes, laugh and point at me – crocheting isn’t much more than counting stitches but I even fail at that somehow! But it doesn’t stop me from trying. I’m a mediocre cook at best, but I love to cook and bake, and most of what I make is good, but not great. I love to write novels, but nothing I write is great fiction, and that’s okay. I don’t avoid something just because I might not be good at it. If I’m interested, I’ll try, and if I like it, I’ll keep at it, even if I’m no good at it.

I suppose the big difference is that if you have a kid only to find out you’re no good at parenting, it’s pretty difficult to back out of it. So perhaps if one is afraid they could be a bad parent, it is not a good idea to try and goad them into having kids anyway! Perhaps that makes this one of the worst bingos. People don’t say, “So why don’t you have kids? Afraid of being a bad parent?” in a nice way. There is no nice way to say that! It’s basically a put down, either as an immature insult, “You’d be a sucky parent, anyway!” or as a dare, as if to say, “Nyah nyah! Prove me wrong!” Oh, sure, THAT’S a great reason to have kids — just to prove something to an idiot!

Anyone who actually gives a damn about kids would NOT use this bingo. So keep in mind, you wouldn’t hear this bingo from someone who is actually a good parent themselves.

How about this: Don’t Bother

Another one from Australia:

How to stay friends with parents

I won’t quote the whole article, but I’ll show you a chunk of it. Take a gander:

Here’s my five rules for dealing with friends who are parents.

Rule 1: 5pm to 7:30pm is never a good time to call. And if you want to drop around be prepared to be ignored for at least some of that time. During these hourse I need to get two children fed, bathed, dressed in their pyjamas, read them a story and get them to sleep. It’s not easy and it’s no time for chatting. Parents call this time the “witching hours” when even the best behaved children can turn into attention seeking monsters who cry at the drop of a hat because they are tired and hungry.

Rule 2: If you are organising a party please don’t be dissapointed if only one parent turns up, particularly if the event is at night time. Babysitting is expensive, can’t be organised at the last minute and sometimes it’s just too hard.

Rule 3: Fancy restaurants and children never mix. I’ve lost count of the times our family has been invited out with the line: “We’d love to see the kids” but the venue chosen is entirely inappropriate. We did try it once. It was a disaster. We took turns taking CJ for walks outside and cruising the hallway. Never again. If you want to see the kids and have them behave, then it’s always better to discuss the venue with parents to ensure it’s age appropriate. Otherwise you may end up back in Rule 2 – only one of us can come.

Rule 4: 9:30 to 10pm is my bedtime. Don’t phone me after that, I won’t answer. If you have invited me out for drinks and I’ve made the effort to come, I will probably stay later than 9:30 but I get really tired and I’m not really up for 2am dancing because I have to be up with the kids at 6am. I will pike out early. Don’t call me names, just be grateful that I managed to come at all.

Rule 5: If I don’t call you back don’t take offence. It’s most likely because you broke rule 1 or rule 4, not because I don’t like you. Parents forget things a lot. Just call me and remind me that you called.

That’s all fine and dandy, but if you’re going to be so uptight and demanding, why not simplify this for everyone and make just one rule:

Rule 1: Don’t bother dealing with friends who are parents.

Problem solved.