Jun. 14, 2015

7 Appeals to Women Without Children from Moms

I recently read an article via Huffington Post regarding "7 Appeals to Moms from Women Without Children."  It was an interesting article and given from a perspective that many of my friends have.  I have multiple friends without children, some by choice and some by chance, and have heard them mention many of the bullet points of the article throughout the years. I can honestly admit that I am absolutely positive that I have put my foot in my mouth upon numerous occasions to my friends without children. I didn't mean to.  Honestly.  I love my kids and am thankful for them. My freckled faced princess and my tiny ball of terror make my world go 'round, seriously they do, but there are other days that tell a completely different story. There are days that I feel like I have been captured by enemy forces and am rotting away in a room with concrete walls making tick marks on the wall with each passing sunrise. The article in The Huffington Post portrays women with children as inconsiderate souls who don't consider the feelings of others before they speak or act. I encourage you to read the article and I have provided the link at the bottom of this blog posting. The Huffington Post article has a detailed list of what-not-to-say to women without children...here is my rebuttal.

7 Appeals to Women Without Children from Moms

1. We aren't really stupid; our kids have stolen our brain cells and are holding them hostage.

If we ask you why you don't have any kids, it isn't to isolate you or make you feel inferior.  We are asking because we are wanting to get to know you better.  It is part of your story.  If it's too painful to talk about, then say so. Maybe someday you will trust us enough to share that piece of your history.  If it's because you didn't want them, then say so.  You should feel confident enough in your decision to be able to tell us.  If you think it's none of our business, for God's sake, say so. What you don't understand is that even when our children aren't with us we are distracted.  It is a constant worry regarding their well-being and safety. Is the babysitter about to kill them?  Are they maiming another child in day care with their T-Rex impersonation? Are they being bullied at school?  Women with children can't escape...ever.  Even on the beautiful island of Bora Bora there is absolutely no way to quiet a restless mind worrying about our offspring.  Trust me.  It's no cakewalk.  I equate it to having several TV's turned on in one room, each of them tuned to a different channel with Phineas and Ferb, Girl Meets World, Paw Patrol, Dora the Explorer and Barney.  (Of course you don't realize what a nightmare that would be because you have one TV tuned to something fun like Real Housewives of Orange County or Scandal.)  It is literally impossible to remain focused when you have children.  Please allow us a little bit of grace.  We don't mean to offend.  

2. We don't pity you...we secretly envy you.

Every woman on planet says that parenting is the most amazing thing they have ever done.  It is amazing.  It can be fun.  I can be an adventure. It is literally and potentially so many wonderful things. What it is also is ENDLESS.  This isn't a job you can quit.  This isn't a vacation that ends.  People compare parenting to a rollercoaster.  That's complete bunk.  YOU CAN GET OFF OF A ROLLERCOASTER. My mother still worries about me.  My mother still comes to my rescue.  I am 42 years old.  That means that for the last 16,000 days my mother hasn't had one single 24 hour period in which she was able to focus solely on herself. (And I am a person who makes good decisions.) Can you imagine what it would be like if you were the mother of a child who is in and out of trouble?  Excruciating.  All I am saying is that next time you receive a look from a woman with kids, maybe you are reading the situation wrong...maybe it is a look of longing and not one of pity.

3. We aren't judging you, we are remembering.

Oh yes...I remember when I could go out dancing with my husband and stay out as late as I wanted to.  I remember sleeping in on Saturday mornings. I remember being able to go hiking alone.  I remember being able to travel on a whim. I remember having the ability to dedicate myself to my job. I remember a lot of things...Ahhhhhhhh.  It's nice to remember...now that third glass of wine on Saturday means that I will be miserable until Wednesday because my 30-pound alarm clock will be wanting breakfast at 7am.  He is literally a slave driver.  There is also tennis practice for my 12 year old and shopping for new outfits so that she can look new and fresh at every social event.  Yes, I can still go hiking but what you don't know is that on a hike someone is always hungry or thirsty or has to pee.  I never see wildlife because children have a scent about them that sends even grizzly bears into hiding for fear they will be destroyed. A trip that used to cost $2000 now costs $5000 and let's be honest...that is a huge jump in cost.  When our friends without children are talking to us over coffee about their lives, we are living vicariously through them remembering a time when we could do things that interested us and us alone.

4. Don't assume we like kids just because we have them.

Yes, we live with children and most of us love our own children.  We feel great joy listening to the laughter of our children and seeing happiness in our homes.  It's a ton of fun.  Listening to your daughter battle the drama that accompanies middle school, getting to know her friends, watching her with her crushes, helping her with projects, shopping... the list of the greatness of all of these things goes on and on.  Seeing your preschooler learn to read and watching him torment his sister... hugs with dirty hands...giggle after giggle...it truly is priceless.  I am so thankful for my life and my kids. They are amazing. However, you ask me to chaperone a party at Dave and Buster's, I almost go into panic mode. Not all kids were created equally.  Some kids don't have any respect for authority.  Some kids are troublemakers. The larger the crowd of children, the higher my level of disdain.  Six Flags on a Saturday in June?  I would rather have dysentery in public.  Seriously.  It took me a while to realize it but just because I like my kids doesn't mean that I like all kids. 

5. Don't exclude me.

So many times I hear my friends talking at work about things that they did over the weekend.  Festivals, races, sporting events, concerts, and parties...they all sound like things that I would like to be part of.  Unfortunately, something happens when you have children.  At first, your friends without kids continue to invite you but after a while the invites just stop.  I understand why.  It's because they asked so many times and were told no that they eventually just stop asking.  Women with children can't go anywhere without getting a babysitter.  Babysitters cost money.  Depending on how long the even lasts, parents can count on tacking on an extra $50-$100+ just to go out for an evening or an afternoon.  Having said that, babysitters aren't easy to find.  Sometimes they are all unavailable.  Then there are weeks when work has been demanding and we don't get to see our kids at all.  Those are the weekends that we can't go because we have that maternal need to spend time with our families.  All we ask is that you keep on asking.  Yes, you will probably be told no but it makes us feel good to have been asked to participate.  We promise to invite you to kid things and give you the opportunity to decline if you promise to ask us to adult things for the same opportunity.  Eventually our kids will get older and we will become much more available.

6. Don't only see us as mothers.

Many mothers have jobs outside of the home and love that part of their lives.  Many mothers focus solely on their work at home.  Many mothers volunteer countless hours at shelters, at schools, at libraries, theaters, etc.  The point is that we do not want to be seen only as mothers.  While being a mother may be our most important job, chances are that there are many other things that we are.  We often lose sight of that.  It would be such a great service to us if you could help remind us that we are more than "just moms".  Help us remember that we are smart, beautiful, women behind the yoga pants, ponytails, and carpooling.  We need that from you.

7. Don't be rude.

Here is a list of things that you should avoid saying to women with children:

"You don't really understand what it's like.  You have kids now." 


"You should have more children. You're such a great mom." 


"Not having kids was the best thing I ever did."


"Who will take care of your kids if something happens to you?"


"It really doesn't matter what you look like because you have kids now."


"It's okay that you have those stretch marks, you have kids."


"I would invite you but there are no kids allowed.”

“Please.  You don't have fun anymore you're a mom.”

“You can't be dedicated to your career anymore because you have kids."

 

So there it is...my rebuttal. Most of this is pretty tongue-in-cheek, taken a little to the extreme and meant to be funny.  The last line of the article is one that really rings true for all women and so I will use it to close this blog entry:

"We are all beautiful women with choices or circumstances that have put us in this place of being with or without children. Let's not waste any time judging each other. Let's support one another. We can lift each other higher if we stand together."

 Here is the link to the original article (you will have to copy and paste)...ENJOY!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/helene-tragos-stelian/women-without-children_b_7300970.html