I have a demanding job, but I do not have children. I consider myself a helpful person, and I love
it when people in my ward approach me to help them in some way. But sometimes, people ask
for my help by saying, "Since you don't have kids, I'm sure you have time to . . . ."
Like I said, I like to help people. But it really irritates me when people assume that I'm always
free because I have no children. How should I respond?
In other words, people keep saying that you have nothing to do with your time because you have
no children. This, understandably, bothers you. It also makes you want to refuse to help them
whether or not you can.
The only thing you can say in protest is, "I'm sorry. I can't." Do not elaborate further, no matter
how awkward the silence or what they ask about your plans. You may feel odd refusing without
elaboration, but once you are used to it, I think you'll find it liberating.
Do not respond with a snappy comeback. The point of a snappy comeback is to make someone
feel stupid and embarrassed by pointing out his bad manners. This is, in fact, a very rude thing to
do. If you snap back, you will escalate a thoughtlessly rude remark into an actual confrontation.
And your rudeness will then be used to justify the original remark.
I suggest that you try to overlook such thoughtless remarks. People are rarely deliberately
hurtful. You'll be better off if you chalk up their comments to inadvertent thoughtlessness
instead of malice, no matter what their real motives were.
However. I would just like to point out that the people I know with kids have way more time
than the people who don't have kids but do have jobs. I had no free time when I had a job but no
kids. I was working all the time. All non-work activities, from shopping to reading novels, had to
happen on Saturday.
It's completely stupid to assume that people without children have gobs of free time to
chaperone dances and drive to and fro and go on pioneer treks. I personally feel that the parents
of youth, for example, should supervise youth activities. But that's another topic.
you have a quandary, conundrum, or sticky situation in your life?
Click this button to drop Cyndie a line, and she’ll be happy to
answer your question in a future column. Any topic is welcome!
Cynthia Munk Swindlehurst spent her childhood in New Hampshire and her
adolescence in San Diego. She served a mission in Manaus Brazil. She
graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and from
Duke University with a law degree.
She practiced law until her first child was born. She enjoys reading, tap
dancing, and discussing current events. She and her husband live in
Greensboro, North Carolina with their two sons.
Cyndie serves as first counselor in her ward Relief Society organization.