Child’s birthday party that I wasn’t invited to: Oh, sorry Stella, I only invited the people with kids. OR I didn’t think you’d want to come since you don’t have any children. This has happened to me. That sucks.
“So what’s going on with you? What’s new? How’s dating?” my friend Jill asked, after a lengthy monolgue on breast feeding in public. I had listened attentively. Nodded my head at the right moments. Added my input on different occasions. But I had listened. Her 3 month old had been remarkably quiet during the conversation and her 5 year old was running around in the background. Now it’s my turn to share and BAM! 3 month old is screaming…. 5 year old is hungry and Jill has to get off the phone. “Look, Stella, I gotta go.. the kids..” Jill says. “Yeah sure.” I answer, “No problem, just call…” she’s already hung up. We don’t talk again until 3 weeks later, when I call her back.
“Well,Connor is writing his letters and singing his ABCs” Syllvia said, we all sat down at the restaurant for a girls’ night. “That’s so great! ” Agnes replied, “Bella started right around the same time”… the 7 of us sat around the table.. eatting, drinking, laughing.. and sharing stories about our lives. All are moms, except me, so most of the stories deal with babies and toddler and preschool. When it’s my turn, I realize 2 of my friends have tuned out to continue their very important conversation about teething strategies and I’m 100% sure that the look Syllvia is giving me reeks of pity. But I share anyway about dating and travels. Embelishing some of my stories to make them funnier and chopping some stories shorter cause I can tell I’m not holding all of their attention. I wonder if I’m just getting the pity listen so they can go back to their more important conversations. I finish my stories quickly, get a squeeze of reassurance from Kelly and then the topic turns back to, Kids. I find myself zoning out a bit after the realization that no one seems to care about my life at all.
“You’ll understand when you’re a mom.” “You don’t get it because you aren’t a mom.” “It must be nice to get to travel/sleep in/get your nails done… I dont’ have time!”
Dear Mama Friends,
The preceeding situations have been embellished (a bit) and names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent but adored, women in my life… but they’ve happened to me. And you need to know that they don’t feel good.
First things first, I adore you. Each and every one of you. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t be friends. And your children, I love them as well! I love to see their photos and hear about their milestones. I listen when you complained about feeling fat and tired. I bought you cute things off your registry and offered to take photos of them when they finally arrived. We went on pedicure dates together, cried about infertility treatments/miscarriages and laughed when little Connor said, ” Shit” as his first word.
And then, I see you post things on the internet about how us childless women don’t get it, or you don’t invite me to little Joe’s 2nd birthday party— ya know, because I don’t have kids or you don’t call me- EVER and I’m tired of having to read that shit and not having the opportunity to respond. So here it is:
I get it, despite what you think, I do. You’re a mom now. I know you’re busy. I know you have these amazing little humans that you are now responsible for and your time is not your own anymore and just because I’m single (again) and don’t have children doesn’t mean I can’t understand that or that I don’t want to hear about it. I can and I do… but I’m going to ask you to keep a few things in mind:
Just because I don’t have children doesn’t mean I’m not busy. I also have responsibilities. It doesn’t mean my life is all glamour and shopping sprees. And it doesn’t mean that my time is any less value than yours. Yes, we are using our time differently, but I’m not making judgements about yours. So please refrain from making judgements about mine.
We’re friends. And friendship is a two way street. I listen to you and all of your stories because I’m your friend and I care about you. If you’re my friend, than you should also want to do the same thing for me. You don’t have to call me every day or every week.. but you should want to call me or see me.. if not, maybe we should rethink this friend thing.
I matter. My life, though different than yours, matters. Ask about me once in awhile… without me just having to volunteer the information.
Not having kids does not make me selfish or a bad woman.
No, I’m not a mom.. but I’m human and am capable of emotions like love, loss and sacrifice. So yeah, I might not be on the same playing field as you, but I’m the fucking queen of empathy and that comment is condescending and hurtful.. no matter how you meant it.
And on a personal note, FUCK YOU!! Cause I wanted to BE you but getting a divorce sorta threw a giant fucking wrench on those plans which I try despearately to put aside for the silver lining of all the other good things I have in my life. When you say these things/act this way…. it cuts straight through and I have to restitch myself back to together.
So to all my mamas…please be a little more gentle with your single and/or childless friends. We have feelings too…