When it comes to pet peeves against parents, one of those we hear all the time is that parents love to complain.
In fact, if you listen to the childless masses, parents complain all the time.
Is that true? Well, we can’t really say for sure not having access to that kind of data. But while we can’t tell you whether it’s true that parents complain, we might be able to shed some light on why they complain. Parents, tell us if we’re right, and non-breeders, consider this a little insight into the unfamiliar world of childrearing.
1. Parenting Is More Public
Parenting now isn’t like it used to be. Back in the day, mothers had close-knit groups of other mums in their small town or village. They were a support group, and people complained and sought advice within that group of other parents, people who knew what they were going through. Now, parenting happens in the public eye. With social media, much of what parents do, and say, is online for all to read. This means that the close-knit circle of parents has stretched, and the place you go for advice also contains a lot of other people who aren’t parents. Our world is changing and everyone is working to catch up, parents included.
2. We Love Competition
In our eyes, there are two sides to parenting. Either you have the ‘perfect’ parents who teach their toddlers to read, decorate their house to look like the inside of a style magazine, and generally appear to float through life. Then you have everyone else. Well, while the perfect parents are bragging about whose toddler made the more artistic painting, the everyday parents are competing too, with complaining. So while the number of vomits you cleaned up or the small hours of sleep you got don’t seem like anything worth competing on, we love the competition so much that they are.
3. Misery Loves Company
Has there ever been anything truer said about the nature of people? Misery does love company, and when it comes to parents, hearing that someone else is also struggling can be such a bridge builder. Listening to someone tell you the story of their terrible child who broke something expensive in a shop or screamed for four hours straight is wonderful, because frankly, hearing about how perfect they are makes us feel terrible. So when someone brags, instead of celebrating their success, parents often feel insecure of even ashamed at their own failures. But when they hear about how horrible something went, well, that’s something we can all relate to!
4. People Notice The Negatives
This is not so much about parents as it is about people. Have you ever read an online review? The people who take the time to write positive review are often the ones who have been encouraged in some way to do so. People rarely step up to write a positive review just because. But you know what we love to write? Negative reviews. Why? Well, it’s just human nature to focus on the negatives. In the past, if we didn’t pay attention to things that went wrong, our survival could very much be on the line. In the present, it’s not so much about survival, but our focus on the negatives mean there’s more fodder in the complaining cannon.
5. Parenting ISN’T Easy
You know how they say “Anything free is worth what you pay for it”. Well, if you twist it a little, the same thing can be applied to parenting “Anything easy has a smaller reward”. Parenting is hard. The early mornings, late nights, tantrums, breakdowns, misbehaving, messes. They’re all hard. But they’re also so, so worth it. In a way, it’s the effort of getting through them and raising good, kind children that makes it worth it. But because it’s worthwhile, we can’t expect it to be easy. The reward of raising amazing kids is a big one, and just like running a marathon, there’s a lot of effort involved. Considering parents are raising the next generation, we’d say that’s worth a bit of a complaining free pass.