To be on MN even though I don't have children?

(110 Posts)
IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 08:32:34

I know this argument has been done to death, but still on so many threads I see people being questioned as to why they're here if they don't have DCs and aren't/can't ttc.

I'm not a regular by any means but I ended up here after a Google search threw up one of the funniest threads I've ever read (Medieval Mumsnet - I'm a historian and it tickled me). I signed up because it's such a busy forum full of highly intelligent women around my age and I've since seen some of the best relationship advice and arguments for feminism I've ever read.

And as most people are parents it's not like I'm trying to infiltrate an exclusive club. I'll probably have kids one day but even if I don't, I will still be surrounded by them because they are a huge part of human life!

But if anyone has any genuine objections as to why it's wrong/odd for non parents to be here, I am interested and open to them.

CuriousMama Wed 09-Jan-13 08:34:39

Never seen that tbh? There are thousands on here though so don't take a few weirdos to heart smile

YorkshireDeb Wed 09-Jan-13 08:35:36

Nope. I'm on here because I love reading the threads. Not sure if I'd have found it if I wasn't a mummy I think it would still be entertaining reading. x

Trills Wed 09-Jan-13 08:36:17

Do you?

I don't have children and I haven't seen anyone questioning it on a thread for aaaages, apart from specific "why do people come here if they don't have children?" threads.

I say if someone can't see anything on MN that would be interesting to read/talk about if they didn't have children then they are clearly reading different threads to me.

TaggieCampbellBlack Wed 09-Jan-13 08:40:12

I'd rather not have my children sometimes.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 08:43:49

Not at all - like you say, there are some very interesting threads, regardless of whether you have spawned or not.

I am still tickled by a comment someone made to me years ago that what I wanted to discuss was not suitable for a parenting website! Think it was euthanasia or something. So no doubt there are people who would rather it was only ever about breastfeeding and nappies - but from what I have seen they are a minority.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 08:46:18

I'm not saying it's rife, but I've seen it several times in the past and it cropped up again on a thread yesterday. Got me wondering if there are other people who wonder why the DCless are here but are too polite to ask!

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 08:49:20

Ha, ok i've just reread my OP and I said I see it 'on so many threads'. That was my natural tendency to exaggerate coming to the fore...sorry blush

Yanbu, there are plenty of us! I haven't had it in a while. But then I trend to avoid child dev threads because of it these days!

DeepRedBetty Wed 09-Jan-13 08:56:13

I found MN when looking for advice about a minor family crisis at two o'clock in the morning, but looking back at what I've talked about in the four years since then, less than half of it has had any direct relationship with rearing children! As far as I'm concerned the more the merrier, apart from trolls of course.

SomersetONeil Wed 09-Jan-13 08:58:39

Are you talking about the person who's complaining about everyone turning to parenthood and the proliferation of babies and children in her FB feed? If so, I'm a bit bemused as to why she, individually, is here...

Everyone else - not so much.

I don't go into any of the actual parenting sub-forums, so the fact that I'm a mother is neither here nor there as to why I come on here. I come on here for the craic, and the craic is definitely to be had away from the dullsville parenting issues. smile

Loquace Wed 09-Jan-13 08:58:48

I think there is more to mumsnets than the "mums" bit.

If I wanted something wholly parent/child centred I'd go elsewhere. I'm here becuase there are brillant opportunities for arguing the toss with random strangers debate, thought provoking posts in areas of which I have little to no experience, hilariously funny threads/posts/posters and by and large enough going on to find at least one thing of interest if I need distraction, entertainment or the chance to avoid going to bed cos "somebody on the internet is WRONG,".

I don't think there is even a case to be made that the childfree have nothing to add to discussions about being a parent or children's issues. There is something to be said for the sort of objectivity that comes with not being emotionally involved on some level.

I don't think you are immaginaing things. Just a couple of days ago somebody was disagreeing with me and asked the "do you have any children?" question.

I do as it happens, although how that was relevant to the (most excellent and simply the rightest ever wink ) points I was making, is beyond me.

RedToothbrush Wed 09-Jan-13 09:01:09

I saw it crop up on a thread yesterday too.

But then I tend to think people who say that are blinkered fuckwits. No different from any other blinkered fuckwittery that goes on, on any forum though.

YABVU And should be shot at dawn... but then so should I! grin I was pulled in by aibu and never left.

There is more to mn than the parenting bit. Have fun.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 09:07:07

Thanks all smile I felt slightly guilty the other day when someone was offering me advice on a thread and had assumed I had DCs to be taken into consideration. It was totally fair enough on her part as most of you do, but twas mildly awkward.

Psammead Wed 09-Jan-13 09:08:34

YANBU. It's a fun place to hang out.

slug Wed 09-Jan-13 09:08:54

Mumsnet is one of the very few women friendly places online. It's a place where you don't have to apologise for having an intellect while in possession of a vagina. It's not surprising that you want to hang out here, children or not.

KnitFastDieWarm Wed 09-Jan-13 09:11:02

I don't have DC yet, but plan to in the next few years, all things being equal! I also stumbled upon MN by accident and was instantly drawn to the no-crap, honest and occasionally filthy attitudes of the posters ;-p I've been hooked ever since. I think MN is an incredibly valuable community and as someone with no older sisters, it's a great way to learn what to expect when DC do make an appearance. I have a morbid fear of the media stereotype 'mummy friends' and it's reassuring to know that there are lots of ballsy mothers out there who give me an idea of the kind of mother I want to be one day. Thanks all!
(insert mawkish go-sisterhood emoticon ;-p)

Loquace Wed 09-Jan-13 09:14:50

wot slug said.

Is damn good summing up.

HoneyDragon Wed 09-Jan-13 09:16:42

Sometimes occasionally people comment about people without children, or people who possess a penis posting on here. Their comments are not positive. These are usually the sort of people who refer to adult females as Mummies, and expect adult intelligent women to act as brainless vacuous care givers who should know their place as nurturers. It is best to pay them absolutely no heed. They eventually get bored and go away.

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 09:21:35

Agree that people without children have every right to be on Mumsnet.

I also read the thread yesterday where people were asking why the OP was on Mumsnet, but I thought her thread raised a valid point

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 09:23:45

Also, I don't have children. I am on Mumsnet because I enjoy reading the threads about things such as horse riding, the style and beauty section and the relationships section, which genearlly don't have anything to do with kids.

It's a good place to get quick responses from intelligent women of a similar age and background to me, regardless of whether they have kids.

Labradorwhisperer Wed 09-Jan-13 09:27:04

I don't have children and I have been lurking for a while. I don't really post (mainly cos I keep forgetting my log in details!).

I started looking on here about a year ago when my little nephew arrived because I wanted to be as much of a support as possible to my lovely brother and sister in law (wanted to avoid saying things that wouldn't be helpful, wanted to find a nice gift for SIL after she had the baby, wanted to know the etiquette for things like sharing pics of the baby on Facebook). I haven't really seen anyone have a problem with people without children posting on here.

I do get a bit sad when it is referred to negatively though. I love children, although I don't see myself having any, and that can be a difficult enough conversation to have with someone face to face, it is harder to do on a message board, because without the "tone of voice" to go with the words, it can be easy for people to misunderstand and assume that their own choice is being somehow criticised. If that makes sense.

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Wed 09-Jan-13 09:29:40

I know the thread you're talking about iWantaPetFox. Don't take it to heart. I've been on MN and happily DCless for years. I enjoy the company of people who can have discussions on interesting things. Now that a DC may be on the horizon I have no doubt I'll continue to enjoy it.

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 09:31:57

This is probably VERY controversial, but I actually think they should scrap the 'Mumsnet' name - as most of the stuff on here is not to do with kids or being a mum. And there are Dads on here too grin

I worry that if my DP catches me on 'Mumsnet' he will get the wrong idea (!) or that my colleagues at work will get the wrong end of the stick if they see 'Mumsnet' on my computer, so I always scroll the screen down to hide the 'Mumsnet' banner at the top!!

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 09:34:24

And people without kids can still have valid opinions on things to do with kids. Even if we are not parents most of us will have some exposure to children in our lives so still have views and ideas. We were all children oursleves once as well!

Although I personally don't go in the bits of Mumsnet which are about kids, just stick to the sports, health and beauty stuff.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 09:38:42

I don't have children so tend not to post much on child-specific threads, unless they're about education. I still find plenty to say though!

I wonder what Mumsnet could be called instead? Adultsnet? Quite the wrong image!

MrsHoarder Wed 09-Jan-13 09:39:45

One of the advantages of here is that its not assumed that all mothers think about is nappies. Its one of the advantage of MN over the other site.

So long as someone can face the standard robust critism that MN comes with, and don't come across as disapproving of motherhood and all that entails*, then alls fine.

* with the possible exception of Xenia

msrisotto Wed 09-Jan-13 09:44:35

I'm here for the same reasons as you petfox! And What Slug said too. I love this place. Agree that the name nowhere near encapsulates the diversity of the place but "mums" is practically a derogatory term in the media so I think it's a good name if only to counter crap myths about yummy brainless mummies.

Absy Wed 09-Jan-13 09:44:40

This old thing.

MN was named about 12 years ago (IIRC) and I don't think at the time Justine et al thought it would turn into a monstrous behemoth what it is today, and they can't exactly change the name now to ""

For one, it's not as snappy.

threesocksmorgan Wed 09-Jan-13 09:45:42

doesn't bother me if people arn't parents and on here, as long as they don't tell me how to parent

everlong Wed 09-Jan-13 09:45:51

Never give it a moments thought tbh.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 09:47:45

That's a great point msrisotto! I don't think the name needs changing at all. I kind of wonder whether it also puts off a lot of the general internet idiots and trolls.

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 09:47:58

Yes not sure about renaming it 'Adultsnet' would be a good idea........

Was thinking something to do with women, although there are men on here so that could be sexist.......... it is mainly women on here so that might work, something to do with being a discussion board for intelligent women .......can't think of a good name.

Mumsnet is too narrow

Loquace Wed 09-Jan-13 09:48:34


Far too near AdultCheck phontically, if you say it quickly, for my liking grin

Do not wish to give people the entirely wrong impression when I explain I have been up half the night on a website.

It's never bothered me. Infact I keep trying to get my friend to join and read because I think she'd love it and she's not got dcs. It never occurred to me that she shouldn't.

everlong Wed 09-Jan-13 09:50:09

Hmm. I disagree fingo primarily MN is a parenting site.

Thumbwitch Wed 09-Jan-13 09:51:40

YANBU. Plenty of people on here have lots to offer but don't have children; glad they're here, tbh!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 09:55:58

doesn't bother me if people arn't parents and on here, as long as they don't tell me how to parent

OK, but what about if they give advice on a thread you asked for advice on? A lot of non parents actually know a great deal about children, through work or family or friends. Would you discount some valuable advice they had given if you found out they were non-parents?

HeyHoHereWeGo Wed 09-Jan-13 10:02:02

I recently reacted badly to someone who does not have children starting a thread moaning about why a large family should get child benefit for all their children.
That sort of petty small mindedness makes me wonder why non-parents come on here - I mean I wouldn't be here reading about CB and nits unless I actually have children.
But then as you say, some topics are amazing, anyone would be inspired by feminism, by pedants corner, etc
So no, YANBU.

(would you like a child or four for a few days? trust me you will spend a LOT of time here then!!)

Labradorwhisperer Wed 09-Jan-13 10:02:17

I do think it is very sad that there are people who assume that those without children have no contribution to make on issues of child rearing. I think it's assumptions like this that do lead to confusion as to whether people without children are welcomed by everyone on this site. Whilst I may not be able to comment on every aspect of raising children, I would like to think that I could have a view that would help someone who really needed a second opinion, and I am sure there are many parents out there who would agree.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 10:03:47

I recently reacted badly to someone who does not have children starting a thread moaning about why a large family should get child benefit for all their children. That sort of petty small mindedness makes me wonder why non-parents come on here

That's not an opinion which is confined to those without children. Plenty of people with children hold it.

msrisotto Wed 09-Jan-13 10:04:37

Non parents can be childminders, nannies, teachers, social workers etc. Can have young siblings/cousins/nieces/nephews/friends with kids etc.

Advice can be had from non parents. Some people are sensitive to criticism though.

I'm not a parent and have no desire to be one. Think I followed a link to a thread in AIBU and got hooked, now I meander over to Chat, Books, Feminism and so on. I tend to avoid the threads explicitly about raising children as they hold little interest but it's a big site.

I am a Brownie leader and have picked up some tips along the way and have found myself much more thoughtful in supermarkets etc when I hear screaming babies. I don't automatically go into tutting, impatient mode - not always.

Although the other day I saw three thread titles in a row about pregnancy and thought oh bloody hell who wants to read about that then remembered the site I was on blush

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 10:15:27

Thanks for the offer HeyHo but, erm, I'm busy...forever grin

I know several child psychologists without children. I think they have quite a lot to contribute on the subject.

Personally, I've never been on any of the parenting-related threads, and esp not benefit or nit-related ones. Why would when there are far more interesting and important things to debate the merits of Richard Armitage dressed as a dwarf for instance ?

fluffyraggies Wed 09-Jan-13 10:21:57

By parents for parents

Is what's at the top of the page.

I am a parent, to 3DCs, but i didn't find mumsnet through that fact. I found it by accident while googling about a hundred years ago.

While i find there is an undefinable integrity surounding the idea of a 'parenting site', i do find it sad that the name may be alienating men and people with no kids. I actually tend not to read many of the directly child rearing posts.

On the fence about the namechange therefore. Adultnet sounds porn'y to me, sorry grin

Personally i think it's much more than a 'parenting site'. When you take a look at all the topics to choose from - at a glance i'd say that, ooooh, only 10/20%ish of them are parenting related. Roughly.

For my money, anyone's welcome. (except under-bridge dwellers of course)

TraineeBabyCatcher Wed 09-Jan-13 10:26:34

I guess that its easy to forget that everyone doesnt have children/are trying for, with it being a parenting website by name, and also if you have used other parenting websites as there are few non parents on them.
I'm guilty of it, for sure. I'm not trying to say you shouldn't be here, we all have as much right as each other, I just forget that just because I came here because I'm a parent, doesn't mean others have.

I have previously asked why others are here but only out of interest as to how people have come across it.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 10:27:01

I don't think the name of the site is such a problem. A glance through the threads by anyone with half a brain tells you it's very diverse and that most of it has nothing to do with kids. Plenty of companies start out small with one idea then expand to the point where their original name and aim become irrelevant. I think it's quite nice really!

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 10:30:55

People without kids can have an opinion about child benefit - we are taxpayers who are funding it after all!

slug Wed 09-Jan-13 10:53:42

As can parents FingoFango. We pay taxes too hmm

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 11:00:14

I'm not sure that fingo was denying that, Slug!

Let's not start a debate about who pays the most taxes smile

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 11:02:37

Yes, let's not, because this is MY thread and I know nothing about taxes blush Actually that's the reason I don't post on child benefit threads, not because I don't have DCs.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 09-Jan-13 11:04:00

It did start as a parenting site, but it's so much more now.
It would be far too late to change the name though, it's a 'brand' now, for want of a better word.
I have one teenager, but I never go on the parenting topics.

jumpingjackhash Wed 09-Jan-13 11:15:30

I'm not a parent and have been on MN for a few years now - I like the wit on some of the threads and the though-provoking nature of others. I tend to stick to certain areas of the site to match my interests.

I do however sometimes feel like a second class MN-er when some posters suggest opinions non-parents have aren't valid when it comes to threads about children (whatever the focus). This pisses me off a bit and is thankfully not the norm.

On the whole I think this site is a great place to come, share and seek advice and support for all sorts of things.

FingoFango Wed 09-Jan-13 11:22:25

Was trying to make point that people without kids do have views about benefit as someone above implied they didn't / couldn't.

Yes I know parents pay taxes too. I have parents myself and they both do

KellyElly Wed 09-Jan-13 11:24:16

Of course you're not being unreasonable. The ones without children on here who are unreasonable are the ones who get judgey about toddlers throwing strops, children behaving a certain way in public when they haven't experienced it themselves. When you have no experience or understanding of a situation you shouldn't come on a thread and judge IMO.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 11:26:57

But kellyelly, how can you know that just because someone hasn't actually given birth that they have no experience of toddlers throwing strops etc. You can't. Someone else has said upthread that the childless may work in a nursery, be a teacher, have little brothers and sisters, have little nieces and nephews. They could well be perfectly qualified to offer opinions, which is what they are often doing when accused of "being judgey").

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 11:35:54

I see where you're coming from Kelly and I do think MN has given me a bit more of an understanding of how hard having children can be. It's given me a tendency to think about what might be behind certain behaviour rather than just judging - but that might have come with age and experience eventually anyway.

Another non-parent poster here. I had to look up some things for work, read two threads about facebook and hated it, then read a few more (probably AIBU) and got hooked.

I like that it's mumsnet, and the whole 'by parents for parents' thing, because that really is the site's primary aim, that's what the books are about, that's what the advice is about etc etc. It's only in the talk section that everything goes mad! (and I mean mad in a good way smile )

I hope it's still going strong if/when I have littleuns. I was scared to post at first, and tbh would still get quite excited if any MN royalty commented on something I said, but I think that is probably due to being a newbie and nothing to do with not having DC's myself...

Well, I've spawned but you'd rarely be able to tell on here. I use MN for loads of reasons, but parenting advice is not high up that list. I don't know who has/hasn't got DC on here, and I don't much care <other peoples reproductive choices are>

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 11:45:19

Arf at "spawned".

Lottapianos Wed 09-Jan-13 11:50:15

Great thread smile I agree with you that there has been a bit of extra snideyness on some threads in the last few days about just why on earth people without children would be on MN. To use a very MN word, they are being 'precious'. Ignore them.

Personally, I am an Early Years professional and I came on here to find out how parents manage things like potty training, sleep, weaning and setting boundaries so that I can better advise parents I meet in my job. And I stayed for the fabulous Style and Beauty tips and the always interesting AIBU section!

I totally agree that some childfree people have lots to contribute on the topic of parenting. I have worked with young children for 12 years and I know a hell of a lot about early development, if I say so myself wink Obviously I don't know what it's like to be a parent from the inside but I have given advice on some threads that other posters seemed to find useful. Of course, the parenting sections are easily avoided - there are so many other things to discuss. As a feminist, it's a great place to chat with other women and you can pretty much always find someone who shares your views or someone who will challenge them in a thoughtful and interesting way.

Lottapianos Wed 09-Jan-13 11:51:30

'But kellyelly, how can you know that just because someone hasn't actually given birth that they have no experience of toddlers throwing strops etc. You can't'

Agree 100%. In fact, some childless/free folk know a lot more about children than some parents do!

Itsjustmeanon Wed 09-Jan-13 11:53:18

I joined three years before first child, from a random google search. I go through phases of using mumsnet all the time, to not logging on for six months.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 12:00:51

Well this thread has completely put my mind at rest and I will ignore all snidey 'but WHY are you here?' comments from now on! Actually ignoring snidey comments in general is probably a good rule to live by.

<waves at Lotta> grin

Proudnscary Wed 09-Jan-13 12:08:07

I am a proud mummy of 2 precious angels...

Oops sorry thought I was on Netmums there for a moment...

I've got two dc but threads about parenting are probably the ones I least visit - I love Mumsnet for the humour, advice, wisdom, intelligent thoughts, views and bunfights.

I started a thread about how mumsnet had changed me a few months ago and hundreds of posters said the same - in the four years I've been on here it's relighted my interest in so many things and broadened my knowledge.

I've not seen the snide remarks you mention but I love that non parents are on here too. More the merrier.

About Mumsnet's name. Don't forget that there's a whole sight out there with articles and advice etc that's mainly aimed at parents. It's not all about the talk boards you know. except it is for me. grin

I agree there's so much more to Talk than parenting and also agree that those without children have just as much to offer about parenting as those with dcs.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 12:21:01

Theonewiththehair I'm afraid I had forgotten that entirely and have never read a single thing on it grin

KellyElly Wed 09-Jan-13 13:30:36

ArielThePiraticalMermaid because the many children act up a lot more with their parents than they do at school or with a child minder so unless you have been a parent yourself and in that position how can you judge. I'm not saying don't offer useful advice as a teacher, nanny, aunt etc.

KellyElly Wed 09-Jan-13 13:31:08

ignore the random the in my first line!

KellyElly Wed 09-Jan-13 13:36:19

Agree 100%. In fact, some childless/free folk know a lot more about children than some parents do! General theories which apply to children in general you mean. That would be a silly to say that a random childless person would know more about the behavior of an individual child than their own parents. Each child is different you know smile

Pinkerl Wed 09-Jan-13 13:36:48

I don't have kids - the reason I'm here is simply because I don't know a better forum where that has more discussions on just about anything

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 13:43:40

Pinkerl me neither - if there was such a forum I would be there like a shot!

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 13:55:40

Lotta, yes I'm sure you may well know a lot more about very young children than some parents exhibit but having a greater understanding of 'parenting' due to your profession is not the same as an awareness obtained from experiential learning.

There's no doubt that people who don't have children can offer some sound advice but on some subjects you can theorise all you like but as a parent you come to realise that your child is the teacher on how to parent them and that often the generic stuff just provides the foundations. Equally, that small concept of 'Love' makes acting on 'parenting' advice more complicated- if you're not a parent the advice you give on these threads can only go so far.

Spero Wed 09-Jan-13 13:57:42

Yes, just ignore the snidey. Or respond in a polite calm way, that seems to upset them even more.

jumpingjackhash Wed 09-Jan-13 13:57:59

Sometimes I even see the odd post which makes me happy I don't have DC! grin

<joking, kind of>

RedToothbrush Wed 09-Jan-13 14:00:13

Erm, just a thought as childless idiot who knows nothing,

But surely you are only experienced in parenting YOUR OWN children. And you are never experienced in parenting someone else's.

Whilst you have a certain level of experience, it doesn't mean those skills are ever directly transferable no matter what the situation.

Advice is only ever based on your own experiences, and they can still be limited to a certain extent even if you have children...

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 14:20:00

Yes but other parents (not all of course) are able to relate to problems and joys that are unique to being a parent- for example the mixed bundle of emotions you feel when they first start school, potty training coupled with the demands of a baby sibling and sleep deprivation. The feelings of guilt, guilt about having DC2, taking attention from DC1, returning to work or not etc. These experiences, quandaries coupled with the 'love' side of it make it a common understanding amongst parents about a relationship that you are developing with your child. That is not in textbooks as it is unique to your child but there is the common ground as a parent that I mentioned above.

RedToothbrush Wed 09-Jan-13 14:25:03

Relate. Only relate. Its totally different to be experienced with a skill, in the same way as you would be if you had two car drivers for example.

And perhaps sometimes there is something to be said for taking the emotion out of it, when expressing an opinion over a lot of things.

To say that an opinion only has value because it contains 'love' or 'emotion' is wrong. Especially when humans are so loaded with complicated baggage too.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 14:29:43

Added to this whole very complicated mix is the hurt caused inadvertently by threads like this to the many women on here who are desperate to become mothers but can't be.

AmberSocks Wed 09-Jan-13 14:33:42

i did wonder why someone would come on mumsnet if they dont have kids,but not in ahorrible way,its just that pre kids i would never of been drawn to anything that wasaimed at parents.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 14:35:46

Goldenbear but to be fair, none of those things you describe in your post are exactly news to me. They are not mystical things that only parents can understand and empathise with. Childless/free people have imaginations and parents and siblings and friends with children...we understand love and family relationships.

KellyElly Wed 09-Jan-13 14:39:21

Advice is only ever based on your own experiences, and they can still be limited to a certain extent even if you have children... Of course but if there was say a thread about babies that don't sleep and how knackered the parent is if you have a child and have experienced that yourself (which every parent has - no newborn sleeps through the night) you can empathise and offer advice from the point of view of someone who has been in that situation, as opposed to a person without children who would sympathise. Most children go through the 'naughty toddler' stage and very few parents escape this, so again you know what it's like to be in the middle of the supermarket with a child screaming the place down because you've said they can't have a toy etc. When it comes to something more general like discipline then it's about individual parenting style obviously.

jumpingjackhash Wed 09-Jan-13 14:45:28

Added to this whole very complicated mix is the hurt caused inadvertently by threads like this to the many women on here who are desperate to become mothers but can't be.

A very valid comment - although as someone in that position I find parts of MN very supportive. I wouldn't have been able to get through fertility treatments and subsequent mcs without the perspective, reassurance and 'sanity-giving-properties' of large swathes of MN.

However one of my favourite features of the site is the 'hide thread' option!

KellyElly Wed 09-Jan-13 14:51:57

They are not mystical things that only parents can understand and empathise with. Childless/free people have imaginations and parents and siblings and friends with children but parents don't have to imagine these things Goldenbear is talking about or see them through friends and relations. They have experienced directly the emotion of the first day your child goes to school, the first time they walk etc. It's not a put down of people without children. I had ideas, theories, ways I was going to bring of my child, what sort of parent I'd be prior to DD (and I was a KS1 teacher so had an understanding of children), then she came along and all that went out of the window. I found a lot of comfort and guidance from talking to other parents in RL about how they sleep trained, potty trained etc as well as reading the practical theory and then made my own choices from that.

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 14:52:18

I'm not saying it is only of value if it contains emotion but I do think it is human nature to value an opinion or advice that is based upon experience. With parenting that experience may be limited to your own children but people who aren't parents don't have any parenting experience. For example, a lot of the parents think it is a positive thing that my DS's class teachers are parents aswell. It's not to say that the teachers who aren't parents aren't excellent but there is definitely a general feeling of reassurance, why is that? It's like when they get ex drug users to lecture secondary school children on the perils of taking drugs. Why do they do that? They do it because people value opinions that come from experience.

I think you're right in pointing out that emotions can be prohibitive in decision making but they have a place when you're talking about a relationship between a parent and a child. Being a parent is not just a set of skills to be learnt and applied to your child.

RedToothbrush Wed 09-Jan-13 14:56:22

Amber, MN ranks pretty high on google.

Its quite easy to search something and get a link to a thread on the forum. And then click on it and get drawn in that way.

Equally I think I first clicked on MN after seeing an article in a newspaper which made reference to the 'power of MN' and being curious about the political power it now actually has - which naturally has a lot of implications for any woman regardless of how many children she may or may not have.

Many issues, can affect women in different ways, even if they don't have children. Even parenting type issues as there are still certain expectations placed on you as a woman in society.

And personally for me, as someone in my thirties I find it increasingly difficult to make friends and relate to people a similar age. Previously my internet socialising revolved around music and games (and as part of that often flirting or trying to 'find someone'), but as much as it pains me to admit it, I simply don't fit into those social circles in the same way as I used to. You HAVE to broaden your horizons and look to places beyond where you'd perhaps naturally always have seen yourself before.

The Mumsnet forums like other people have pointed out, is unique in the fact its not the preserve of men (so safer from people trying to constantly hit on you) and it tends to be a slightly higher level of maturity either because its users are in their thirties or older or have the responsibility of children. And it has such a broad base or people and interests.

It means you can have a mature and intelligent discussion, that few other places provide. I think the best way to describe the forums (not site) would be that they for 'Growed Ups' (sic - cos lets face it, theres some awesome deliberate and non-deliberate immaturity that goes on).

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 09-Jan-13 14:56:26

And also added to this is the widely acknowledged fact the some parents, though not perhaps MNers admittedly, don't have the remotest clue on how to parent. Not even the slightest idea.

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 14:59:30

iwantAPetFox, you can't really imagine the complete exhaustion of sleep deprivation as a result of a very small child wanting to suck you all night. You maybe have insomnia for instance but it is kind of like that with a demanding, little irrational person thrown in to boot! Equally, you cannot ignore the situation without wandering about the long term damage you're doing. It is not to be imagined unless you have been tortured with sleep deprivation which I doubt very much with most on the UK!

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 15:07:38

Goldenbear you don't know what I can imagine. I don't think much literature would get written if people were incapable of imagining what it's like to be in someone else's shoes.

Anyway, I didn't start the thread to ask 'Do you think non-parents should give advice on threads about parenting', I asked whether they should come on here at all. Personally, if I was a parent asking for advice I would consider all the advice offered on its own merits, regardless of the background of the advice giver. And I would value the advice of an expert in a child-related field above that of a parent who doesn't seem very open-minded or intelligent, regardless of their parenting experience.

RedToothbrush Wed 09-Jan-13 15:24:12

Actually I think there are some childless people who might be able to relate if they were carers to other people in their family - perhaps elderly people, perhaps if they had to care for younger siblings in a difficult home situation.

The point is, nothing is that black and white as you are trying to make out.

I have children and quite often I come on here not to talk about them wink

There are are lots of issues that overlap too e.g. do all women suffer in the workplace because there is an assumption that they will take time off to have children.

You don't need children to have an opinion on many topics covered on this site.

For the new name I suggest SwearyNet

Latonia Wed 09-Jan-13 15:39:32

I was never able to have children and way too old now.

I mostly lurk but do occasionally post and only once did someone query why I was on this board as I am childless. The subject of the thread was pertinent to my experiences so I posted. Smile and ignore I believe is the usual advice.

PretzelTime Wed 09-Jan-13 15:52:06

As long as you are a serious adult (grin) and by serious I mean not here to troll, invade or similar, then there is no problem right?
MN is pretty awesome. There is a lack of OK spaces online for women to discuss thigs so I can def understand that it draws in people.

Crinkle77 Wed 09-Jan-13 16:19:50

I am one of those childless mumsnet fans. I am on here as I find the threads really interesting and they are not just about children. AIBU/relationships/employment are just a few of the ones I enjoy and concern a wide range of topics.

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 16:21:39

Redtoothbrush, caring for the elderly is very different to a young child of your own IMO. Caring for a sibling who is very young enough to wake up frequently of course offers similarities. I agree nothing is black and white I was just offering an opinion as to why some parents on SOME topics would value the opinion of a parent more than someone who isn't a parent.

iwantAPetFox, well fictional views on a subject are just that aren't they, so they loose some validity on that basis alone?

Of course a professional opinion can be a lot more useful on some topics but I would say you're bound to say that as you haven't suggested that you have an understanding of the 'relationship' that has to be developed between a parent and child. If a parent isn't very intelligent I would similarly show preference for the opinion of someone working with children but this is often not the case on Mumsnet.

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 16:55:31

Sorry should be 'lose' not 'loose'.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 09-Jan-13 17:01:03

I don't agree Goldenbear, bringing up a child is not rocket science, and everybody does it differently.
So issues that are important to you may mean nothing to another parent.
My ds is 17 now, and I will listen to advice from his teachers, they've got a damn sight more experience than I do.
As did to my HV who was lovely and understanding.

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 18:00:52

I didn't say it was 'Rocket Science' in fact I'm saying the opposite- being a parent is not a science it is a relationship between a mother or father and their child and is a very seperate thing to training in a profession that is concerned with children or getting a Job that involves working with children or even the relationship that exists between an Aunt and her DN for example. So of course your son's teacher has more of a clue about that part of his Education but does he have more of a clue about the relationship you have developed with your son?

Equally, I think it is lax to be blasé about being a parent. You're hugely influential in your child's level of intelligence, their future prospects, health, wealth, happiness. Dismissing the role as 'not Rocket Science' is dangerously arrogant IMO.

crashdoll Wed 09-Jan-13 18:10:46

I'm not saying it is only of value if it contains emotion but I do think it is human nature to value an opinion or advice that is based upon experience.

I find this a strange opinion. I don't care if my doctor hasn't experienced the same health problem as long as he is a good doctor & I don't care in my therapist has never had MH problems as long as she is a good therapist.

SomersetONeil Wed 09-Jan-13 18:26:19

You don't think there is a difference between a doctor one year out of training, and 20 years out...?

Surely one is going to have a fast deal more - yes - experience, and therefore knowledge, empathy, understanding, technical skill...?

Another one who came here via the Times article. Never left since. I have DC but Tbh I post and lurk on threads that usually have nothing directly to do with parenting, except in passing.

IwantaPetFox Wed 09-Jan-13 18:44:05

Somerset I think crashdoll meant she doesn't care whether the doctor has experienced the illness personally, as in suffered from it him/herself!

RedToothbrush Wed 09-Jan-13 18:44:26

A doctor of 20 years can be ill informed of new ways of dealing with a condition.

They can equally be jaded of practice and have developed poor bed side manner.

A new doctor may actually have better empathy due to the fact they are newly trained and still doing through examinations and therefore more closely monitored by others.

LimeLeafLizard Wed 09-Jan-13 18:54:26

Hello petfox, I agreed with you on the other thread yesterday and I agree with you again today.


<Off to search for medieval mumsnet thread which sounds funny>

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 19:04:01

Being a parent is not comparable to a profession because it is a relationship first and foremost - that is the difference. You learn how to be one 'on the job', you're not given a manual before you give birth that is going to equip you with knowledge on how to deal with every eventuality, you can't have the experience of developing a relationship before it has begun.

crashdoll Wed 09-Jan-13 19:37:15

I find it quite strange that you think a non-parent can't empathise because they haven't had the experience. I would never pretend to know how to be a parent or what I would do but I can empathise. After all, I do have parents myself, so I have a vague idea of the parent child relationship! grin

If being a parent qualifies you to advise other parents why oh why do we get so many MIL threads on here! confused

Goldenbear Wed 09-Jan-13 21:41:26

Well often those differences are a result of attitudes differing between the generations. I am talking about parental instincts that cannot be learnt. These are cross generational and have nothing to do with parental styles. Of course there are exceptions to this like anything.

crashdoll Thu 10-Jan-13 07:43:57

I'm not saying I know what it's like to be a parent (because I don't) but just because you may not be able to empathise, doesn't mean others of us cannot!

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