“Where did all of my friends ago?”
It was a question I found bouncing around my head during the entirety of my first few years of parenthood. It seemed they had all vacated from my life. A mass exodus. It’s not like I really had the time to socialize like I once did- I had a kid to take care of that was a hell of a lot more of a handful than I’d ever imagine when he was drop-kicking my bladder from the inside, but I hated not at least being included. I felt hurt, abandoned, and lonely.
Once my kids were sleeping through the night
for a few years and a bit of my sanity returned, I began to see things a little differently.
I’d declined so many invitations over the years that people stopped inviting me. The UPS guy always banged on my frickin’ door the moment the baby fell asleep, waking them up and creating Kathy Bates level misery in my house for the remainder of the day. People loudly drove down the street. Telemarketers. Door to door solicitors. Randomly loud commercials. The entire world was out to get me! Only… it wasn’t.
Sure, some of my friends absolutely abandoned ship once I had a kid, never to board again, and that’s pretty shitty. I also started sucking at keeping up with a lot of people, letting my friendships fall to the side because my world revolved around this new tiny human I’d created with my genitals, and that was pretty shitty, too. Not that there’s anything wrong with putting baby first, but my world revolved around them, I had a baby, not my friends. Not the UPS man. Not the telemarketers, and certainly not the randomly loud commercials.
There have been a lot of articles being passed around the internet lately that don’t seem to quite grasp this. I don’t want to point fingers, because I’m certainly not innocent- but when justifying your actions as a parent (the missing of events, the rage at the person ringing the doorbell, etc.) turn into pointing the finger at someone else, as though the fact that we became parents suddenly makes us better than everyone else, and the rest of the world should just understand and accept it, I get this insatiable urge to scream NO! YOU’RE MAKING US ALL LOOK BAD! PLEASE STOP!
But I don’t. Because I know the feeling. And I know that, for the most part, these parents mean well. They don’t realize how they sound to the people around them. I’m positive I’ve been guilty of the same (with 7 years of blogging under my belt, it would be impossible for me NOT to be guilty of this every now and then). It’s sad to see parents and non-parents alike ripping each other to shreds. One things the other should be more accommodating, while the other side thinks the same thing. So, what’s the right answer? Is there a solution here that is satisfactory for everyone involved?
For that, I think we all need a little more understanding of one another. And for that, I turn to the girl from the Old El Paso commercials:
For real, y’all.
As parents, we have to realize that the world kept revolving without us- NOT in spite of us. No one’s out to get us, or to make our lives hell just because we have kids (with a few exceptions for the nutjobs out there, I’m sure). I know we all wanna bite the UPS man’s face off like we’re high on bath salts, but would you rather them just not deliver the mail? It’s their job.
As non-parents (and parents who hate those coming off as the holier-than-thou, my kid shits rainbows types), cut us a LITTLE slack. We’re basically crazy. Sometimes we don’t realize how we sound to other people. We think we’re being helpful, standing up for the pooped-on parents, explaining and justifying our actions so people don’t think we’re complete a-holes, when really, we’re just tired and stabby due to lack of sleep and endless amounts of back-sassery. We’re not better than anyone else just because we have crotchfruit tagging along behind us. Creating human life is awesome, but it doesn’t suddenly catapult you to “EVERYONE BOW DOWN TO MY GREATNESS!” status- even if for some reason, we at times think it should give us a pass. Nothing does that. Sorry, Kanye.
Maybe we can’t all get along, be friends, sing Kumbaya around a campfire while holding hands- but we CAN manage o not be assholes to each other.
My son went through the terrible two’s with much vigor. My daughter is currently trying to leave a legacy. I, well I have fallen straight into the terrible thirties. It is my turn damn it!
Will someone please wake me up in the morning by singing me a lovely song and then carry me to the table where a large plate of chocolate chip pancakes and a glass of milk with one of those fancy straws awaits me? After I strategically throw several pieces on the ground and spill half of my milk from blowing bubbles… I will take two bites and announce that I am done. Just because I can. This is the terrible “thirties” phase and that’s just what happens. I’m not alone. All of my peers are going through the same exact thing.
We will then venture to my closet where I will be presented over twenty clothing options before I finally arrive at something I deem acceptable. Once I am finally dressed I will immediately spill an entire cup of water down my shirt and we will start the clothing selection process all over again. Don’t even think about getting frustrated with me or I will take even LONGER to pick out shoes.
When we get in the car I will proclaim that I don’t need any help buckling my seatbelt, but don’t worry about being late. My fine motor skills are impeccable so it will only take ten minutes. Coffee? That sounds amazing! At Starbucks I will weave in and out of all the strangers in line and then turn into a wet noodle if someone tries to pick me up. Then when my carmel latte comes out exactly how I ordered it, I will throw myself on the floor and demand nonfat milk instead. If it is not fixed immediately I will then pee my pants “accidentally” on purpose. No worries, a clean outfit will magically appear along with my nonfat latte and I will be rushed back out to the car where I will take another ten minutes to buckle my seatbelt.
Time for a nap? That sounds incredible and I am beyond tired. But Nope! I would rather get my exercise in by getting in and out of my bed twenty times before the white flag is waved and Real Housewives of Orange County is turned on for me. I will be extra cranky later in the afternoon because I didn’t get any rest, but I am happy as a clam eating my chocolate chex mix and sitting on the couch.
Swimming? I love swimming! Perfect afternoon activity to pass the time! My favorite part is to play chase when someone tries to put sunscreen on me and then scream and flail when they catch me. I don’t mind the floaties. I will put those on, no problem! They do serve their purpose though, so don’t even think about getting close to me in the pool…or getting me out when it is time to go. But I will fall asleep on the three minute drive home to then wake up while being transferred to my bed.
Five course supper? I’ll pass, but I will have some chocolate chip ice cream right after I take my bubble bath. That way I can smear some on my face and then push it back into my hair. My top knot hair-do works much better if it has a little product in it from the night before.
Bedtime. Seriously, I should have been in bed hours ago, but I am so overly tired it is hard to fall asleep! Just rub my back for a good forty-five minutes and I will be down for the count…and then wake up at two in the morning to come screaming into your bed so you can rub my back again! Ulk! I hope I grow out of this phase soon.
I am not as smart as I thought I was.
Until I had kids, while not regularly patting myself on the back for being a Nobel Prize contender, I knew I was bright.
I married a smart man.
And we had babies.
Who ended up smarter than we are.
That was not in the plan.
My then husband said, when I suggested a third child, “We have to stick to the man-to-man defense. If we move to the zone, we’re outnumbered. And oh, by the way, they’re smarter than we are. So even though we look evenly matched by the numbers, we’re the underdog.”
Flash forward a few years and many dollar signs later . . .
My oldest has graduated from a gifted school. He is bright but prefers to keep that under wraps as he mumbles something about “not cool” and “no wedgies”.
My youngest, however, relishes in his intelligence. He loves nothing more than a challenging conversation.
Just this morning, for instance, on the way to school, as I’m trying to shed my bleary-eyed look and contemplating caffeine, he pipes up from the backseat. “If pro is the opposite of con, then what is the opposite of progress?”
My thoughts were not quite so esoteric.
I was more focused on which Keurig cup tasted better and if I had remembered to replenish our toilet paper supply.
I cleared my throat and asked him to repeat the question to stall for time.
“Well, I’d say ignorance is an opposite of progress. Not strictly speaking, mind you,” I barked desperately.
“That doesn’t make sense, Mom,” he said.
Yep. I know. Busted.
We were in a construction zone. “Construction!” I yelled triumphantly. “Construction is the opposite of progress. At least this morning.”
He was not buying it, nor getting my joke.
He sighed. “Really, Mom. Be serious. This is bothering me.”
I knew what he was looking for—a word that meant the opposite of progress and began with “con”. He likes things in a neat box, this one.
“I’m going to have to think on that one, sweets,” I said, smiling.
“No problem, Mom. You can help me with an easier one instead. If a Rubic’s cube had 12 sides instead of six, would there be double the number of possible ways to solve it or would the options multiply exponentially?”
Forget man-to-man defense because I think our quarterback just got sacked.
And that, my friends, is the opposite of progress.
For years, I shied away from making “mommy friends”- the people you would never have met had you not both had a baby ripped from your nethers. Mommy friends aren’t easy to make. It’s intimidating. In a world full of judgment and high-horse sitting ass-clowns, walking up to a fellow parent and saying hello at times doesn’t seem worth the possibility that by talking to them, you’re automatically entering yourself in the Mom-lympics. I don’t play that game.
When you finally find a mom that you can REALLY relate to, and not just on the “we’ve both cleaned up seedy projectile poo” level, but on a real “I’d like you even if you didn’t have crotchfruit!” level, it’s a magical moment. A bond that should be held onto. Cherish that shit! You never know when you might find another, or if you will.
One of these rare unicorn mom-friends I have made could not be more different than me. What makes her even more awesome is that despite our differences, she still respects me as a mother and if she judges any of my choices, she would never say anything. She’s the kind of woman who I don’t think ever really judges anyone. Yes, she’s that awesome. She has more kids than me, but has more patience in her pinky than I do in my entire body. She is calm, and caring. She homeschools her kids (they’re learning Latin) and they are all smart, and respectful, and ridiculously adorable. She is kind, and giving. She always looks adorable. She does all kinds of amazing crafts and takes her kids to playdates and is always out and about and all over the place.
She is exactly the kind of mom I’d love to hate for being SO damn perfect… but she’s not a “perfect parent”. She never acts like she is better than anyone else, even if she might be. You can’t hate her. You can’t even mildly dislike her.
She is the epitome of a super-mom. If you looked that shit up in the dictionary, I bet you’d find her picture.
As much as I’d love to barf over how amazing she is, instead, I admire her.
(And if she is reading this- hi! I promise I’m not about to poop on you with my words)
Even though she would never judge, I look at moms like her and I think (even if I don’t believe) “well, shit. I suck.”
I will never be a mom like her. I don’t have the patience to homeschool my turds. I would rip out my hair. I’m not crafty… I fear burning the house down or leaving disfiguring scars. I still have trouble getting my 6 year old to speak proper English. I ain’t teachin’ him Latin. I’m not into playdates because … well… children annoy me. I can’t feel bad about that because they both go to school and that’s all the socializing that is necessary if ya ask me.
I have friends who are sports moms. They’re here, there, and everywhere- sitting out in the elements for hours during games. Cheering. Being the chauffeur to and from games, carpooling, foam finger waving, the whole bit. My kids are interested in sports, they’re more interested in the arts (for now, anyway). I don’t even like sports, so I can’t complain, and sitting out in the elements watching people play these sports that I don’t like sounds like misery to me. I could never do that. They are super moms, and I will never be like them.
All of these wonderful women I admire for being so amazing, and then there’s me. The not-so super mom. My kids are healthy and happy and in the end, that’s what matters, but we all want to nurture our children. We want to give them the world, and raise them to appreciate it. We want them to strive for the best. To achieve their dreams. Most of us help them do these things by supporting them. Whether by homeschooling, playdates, sports, crafts… but what do I offer? Am I the crappiest mom of all my friends?
Trust me, I don’t need a shoulder to cry on. I’m not upset, and I’m not feeling bad about myself- but I always do have to wonder about these kinds of things (and I can see how this would be devastating for many women to feel like they are the crappiest parent out of all of their friends.) What exactly do I have to offer my children that makes their childhood special? Unique? What am I doing to support them if they aren’t in sports, or learning Latin, or going on educational trips outside of school?
It’s during these self deprecating moments that I think about how I’m always telling people- all kids are different. That’s what makes them special. They have different lives, different loves, different abilities. They’re being raised by different people who teach them different things. Knowing that– knowing that all kids are so different because they come from different homes– why would anyone ever expect any mom to be just like another? Why am I trying to compare myself to other moms? It’s apples and oranges.
Sometimes, all it takes to see yourself and your family in a different light, is taking a giant step back and looking at the big picture.
My kids go on adventures. We travel, ride roller coasters, laugh until our faces hurt, and experience amazing things together. We always come back with so many stories to tell- each one completely unique. Stories we’ll tell for the rest of our lives. That’s the kind of family we are. It’s different, but it’s us
Do I think I’m a super mom? No. But maybe my friends do, and that’s pretty damn super.
You’d think, with both kids in school, absence would make the heart grow fonder. You’d be wrong. Now that they’re saving up all their a-hole energy for me, I find them even less tolerable. I LOVE them, yes, but maaaaaaan I don’t like them very much right now.
As natural as I know this feeling to be, it’s not one I like to keep around for long. So, if the kids aren’t gonna help me redeem themselves, I’m gonna redeem them FOR them. They should be thanking me.
How do I accomplish such a lofty feat? By thinking about all the GOOD they bring to my life, even if their stinking it up with their ass-nergy (y’know… like energy… but with ass… never mind).
So, if you’re sitting there questioning your decision to have children like I find myself doing at the end of a long a-holey day, here’s a little list of… positivity… to turn that parental frown upside down! What kids are good for even when they’re not being good (or even human)
2. They’ll do just about ANYTHING for a quarter. I haven’t cleaned toilets in a year.
3. Nasty habit of forgetting to set or sleeping through your alarm? Don’t worry. Kids won’t let you miss it. In fact, they are SO efficient, that they will wake you up 10 minutes before it goes off! So thoughtful!
4. If you’ve ever wanted to go back to school or just get a little more knowledge but don’t have the time to take classes, don’t worry, you’ll be struggling through your kid’s homework right along with them in no time! Kindergarten is tough.
5. Ever wondered if your recipe is really up to snuff? Have a kid! They’ll tell you exactly what they don’t like about what you made… which is pretty much everything
6. Kids can help save you money on your water bill! You’ve never showered so fast as when you’re absolutely positive they are completely destroying the house in your absence. 5 minutes never felt so long
7. If you ever find yourself stuck on the toilet with no TP because SOMEONE didn’t replace the empty role, they might be willing to bring you another one. Maybe. Possibly after a LOT of complaining like it’s the end of the world, you might be able to bribe them into bringing you a roll from the closet that is just 5 feet away from them, but don’t get your hopes up or anything. But hey! If they don’t, at least you’ll build some beast thigh muscles from doing the squat-waddle of shame across the house!
8. Spending too much on shopping trips? Take a kid along! They may not help you make sound decisions, but they WILL complain the entire fucking time until you finally give up and go home. BAM, more money in your pocket!
9. Any time you’re feeling like a total shit parent, you will be met by a kid acting even shittier than your shit kid, and you’ll rethink the choice you made to sell them to the traveling circus, saving them the heartache of being ripped from their family, and you the money you’d have to fork out for bail and a high-powered attorney. Win/win!
Yeah… I guess the kids can stay another week. Maybe two if they’re lucky.
Super fun game I like to play pic.twitter.com/t003ZvNVpT
IMDB is my BFF for proving my husband wrong pic.twitter.com/OXL38hlG1w
"Girls Don’t Poop"- and Other Myths About Females- it's time to set the record straight. We're gross, too! holdinholden.com/2013/01/girl…
You Had a Baby and the World Kept Spinning Without You, Not in SPITE of You! goo.gl/fb/ZRK5ww
#Parenthood summed up in one simple sentence: Have you ever tried to put pants on someone who is running away?
@jglangham My pleasure! Thanks for the follow-back!
@NoDeadBeetles The only things I DON'T accept are hot-button debate topics.Too much trouble! (religion, politics, bottle bs breast, etc.)