About a year ago, I wrote a post detailing the frustrations I felt towards some of the statements moms with multiple children make to me, the mom of an only child. It was a ranty post, with shades of anger, but I stand by it. It drives me crazy that motherhood has basically become a competition; competing for the smartest, most accomplished children who are impeccably dressed with perfectly healthy, organic, balanced, and nutritious lunches cut into all sorts of fun shapes that they eat before they spend hours of crafting and playing in their perfectly clean, Pinterest worthy home.
(Which begs the question, who are these mothers? How do they do it? Because I can’t keep up with that, y’all, but I’d really like their secrets.)
And in this game, the more kids you have, the more points you get, effectively making you a better mother. I say that’s all horseshit and not simply because by those standards, I am an epic failure of a mother. I am about as far from a perfect mother as one can get but my kid is happy, healthy, mostly well adjusted (would I really be doing my job if I didn’t give her at least a little bit to talk to a therapist about?), and creative. She also know she is loved. Which is really what matters most.
It makes me sad that we still see our worth in terms of our kids’ successes and accomplishments, and we, as women and mothers, are so competitive about it. And let’s not even discuss how poorly we collectively treat women who don’t have kids (I can’t stand the word “childless” and refrain from using it whenever possible).
And I’d like to change that. Starting with this post.
- I will not ask you, ever, why you don’t have kids. It’s none of my business, it’s your choice, and I don’t feel that you need to explain yourself to me. We can be friends even if you’re not a parent. I’m a mom but that’s not all I am and we can bond and connect on that level.
- I will never ask you when you plan to have them. Same justification as #1. Also, maybe you never plan to have them or you can’t or you simply don’t want them. Actually, you know what? If you don’t want them, and you know you don’t, I commend you for not bowing to any sort of pressure.
- I will never tell you your life is incomplete without children. While my life is certainly better because of my daughter, that doesn’t hold true for everyone (well, with their own kids. Not my kid. I’m pretty sure your life is just fine without her). There are plenty of people with fulfilled lives that don’t involve children.
- I will do my best not to shove too many pictures of my daughter down your throat. I love her and I think she’s the cutest thing ever but I’m pretty sure you don’t. So if you’ll indulge me for a few minutes, we can put that behind us.
- I will do my best not to talk about her all the time and/or bring her up in every conversation. I get that it’s a boring subject. I have other topics to discuss. Like what’s going to happen on the next season of Sons of Anarchy or the amazing recipe for buffalo meatballs I made over the weekend (with buffalo sauce. Not actual buffalo) or the books you’ve been reading. So we can talk about that instead.
- I will not judge you for treating your pets like they are your kids. Because I get it. I have pets, too, and they do become your furkids. I will not mock you for dressing them up, sending them to daycare, or taking 84792 pictures and posting them to Instagram. Maybe even though I have a human child, I still do that with my dogs (my cat is another story. She can be kind of an asshole sometimes).
- I will try really hard not to be jealous of the fact that you don’t know who Sam and Cat are. Or that you don’t have the theme song to The Haunted Hathaways stuck in your head for days. Or the fact that you have no clue about the “plots” of kids’ shows.
- I will try to refrain from using my kid as an excuse for why I can’t do things with you. Unless I truly don’t want to do something but can’t think of another reason not to do it, in which case using her is fair game.
- And, finally, I will support any and all decisions you make regarding children. I will not offer unsolicited advice on this topic, I will be an ear to listen, and I will completely understand if you choose not to throw (or attend) kid friendly parties.
And a bonus promise: I will try to never start a sentence with anything on the variation of “Oh, you don’t have kids, you don’t understand”. That’s just a bitchy thing to say.
Friends without kids, I want you in my life. I like you in my life. And I don’t want the fact that I have a child to interfere with our friendship. I will do my best to uphold these promises and in return, I ask you for one thing.
When we’re out together, no matter where we are, please, please let me pee alone. It’s probably the only moment of solitude I’ll get all week.