The workshops will be led by certifiably childless instructors who have very strong opinions how children should be raised. Topics will include discipline, nutrition and how to hide your sick kid when your childless friends stop by for a visit and get all grossed out because your kid’s nose is leaking green ooze and you’ve got to suck it out by mouth.
Participants will also be taught how to accept the advice and criticism of total strangers with little-to-no experience with children, yet who know a lot about kids because it’s, well, common sense.
Megan Turnbull, a childless resident of Edmonton, founded the Childless Friends League in 2008. Before that, she says, there were no organizations in Alberta that facilitated childless friends educating parents how the job should be done.
“I used to get frustrated seeing so many lousy mothers who could use some advice,” Turnbull said. “I’d go to the post office and there would be a mother with a crying newborn, so I’d tell her the baby was hungry, and I’d offer a bag of peanuts. I mean, babies only cry when they’re hungry. Everyone should know that.”
Turnbull says the league is a great way for childless people to educate parents how to better discipline their children. She cites the example of being a childless person in a supermarket and seeing a kid throw a temper tantrum.
“Every childless person knows how annoying that is,” Turnbull said. “You’re standing in the checkout line and some boy is screaming, and you’re giving the mother dirty looks, telepathically scolding her for going shopping with such a rotten kid in tow, and then, in your mind, she’s taking you to lunch to say thanks for your awesome advice, and before long she’s begging you to come home with her, to spend a few days with her family to point out her shortcomings and terrible parenting.”
“But in the supermarket, this mother is totally unreceptive to your dirty looks. She’s more concerned with pathetically trying to hush her little brat than admitting to you and all the other shoppers that she’s a complete failure, and that she needs the help of her childless friends to get back on track,” Turnbull said. “That’s why I created the Childless Friends League.”
The workshops will be held at the Red Deer Public Library. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Below is a schedule of workshops:
9 -11 a.m. “Teaching your child to hug your childless friend who always remarks that your daughter must be shy just because she doesn’t jump on his back when he comes over” 1-3 p.m. “How to be more receptive to strangers’ judgemental glares when your children misbehave” 3-5 p.m. “It’s not the end of the world if your toddler skips a nap, okay?”
9 -11 a.m. “Believe us that we totally understand how tiring it is having triplets; we have three obnoxious cats” 1-3 p.m. “Don’t force strangers to be aware that your baby has pooped: why you should only change diapers at home” 3-5 p.m. “It’s totally safe to leave your young children alone at night when your best friend wants you to go to a bar to meet her new boyfriend”
9 -11 a.m. “Breastfeeding: why it’s good or bad, or both, and when is the right age to stop, according to some person on T.V., Dr. What’s-his-name” 1-3 p.m. “Spit-up: ew, gross, we totally lost our appetite when we saw your baby puke partially-digested breast milk” 3-5 p.m. “Don’t be offended when we address questions about your four-year-old to you, rather than to him; kids at that age haven’t begun to speak, right?”
The Childless Friends League is looking for instructors to lead future workshops. Candidates should be childless by their own volition, mildly impatient and quick-to-judge. All candidates should be prepared to watch dozens of hours of “Dr. Phil” and “The Dr. Oz Show” as part of their training. Send a cover letter and C.V. to email@example.com for more information.