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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.

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!

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.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Wed 09-Jan-13 21:15:56

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

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

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.

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>

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.

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!

KatieScarlett2833 Wed 09-Jan-13 18:38:50

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.

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...?

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.

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.

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 16:55:31

Sorry should be 'lose' not 'loose'.

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.

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.

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.

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.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Wed 09-Jan-13 15:39:14

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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).

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.

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