I recently had a conversation with my younger sister who is 30, single, and childless. She griped that I had not come to see her or her new place in California. In fact, I’ve never seen any of her homes in California even though she’s lived there for four and half years!
Ever since I have had C-dawg in 2007 my sister has struggled to understand why I am less likely or able to do anything freely. I can’t jump on a plane for a last minute trip because I need to figure out childcare, husband schedules, school schedules, transportation, etc. She suggested that I just leave and my husband make all the arrangements for the kids. Ha! It is not that my husband is unable to do it, but that would be similar to me leaving my classroom when I was a teacher without lesson plans for the substitute. There are so many facets in the boys and my day to day lives that a manual would be required for a full understanding. I’m sure most stay at home parents would agree!
After I kept trying to explain, my sister then told me she didn’t know if she even wanted kids. She likes her life the way it is and to that I say “Good for you!” Enjoy the freedom!
Today I’ve decided to write a letter to all of those friends that do not have kids. I feel a need to explain why, when you do see us, we’re only shadows of our former selves.
Dear Childless Friend,
I know you’re out at some trendy restaurant with some of our mutual friends talking about what you saw last time you saw me. I know I was late, my kids had mismatched socks, and the three of us were running into the coffee shop like a tornado. I’m pretty sure I had brownie mix on my shirt and a certain three year old was trying to climb me like I’m a five foot version of Mount Everest.
I’m sure my five year old was probably interrupting our conversation multiple times to tell you that the Cubs wouldn’t win until he was on their team.
I’m pretty sure I wasn’t wearing make up, I had my hair pulled back in a greasy ponytail, and my lips were chapped (I can’t find my chap stick and keep forgetting to buy some).
I’m sure I had to take a bathroom break which may have seemed extraordinarily long as I waited for all three of us to pee or poo, wipe completely, wash hands, and investigate the air driers.
I’m sure I had nothing interesting to add to our conversation and when you asked what was new I had to resist the urge to tell you about the rash on B’s butt that I finally have under control.
And I’m pretty sure I sounded like I had Tourettes while we talked,
“So we actually got a sitter and…B bum on the chair…we’re finally going…C-dawg hold on please….to go out to that new restaurant…Yes, sweetie, you just keep practicing and maybe you will! Anyways, we’re so excited…..B please…because it’s our first time….B hold on honey….our first time out alone since we moved!”
Yes, my dear childless friend. I know I appalled you and I know what you’re saying on this night that my sitter cancelled, I’m in my pajamas (at 8pm), and I’m listening to my husband put the boys to sleep for the fourth time tonight.
“I saw Sara. She looked awful. Her kids are so cute, but they are out of control (They’re not, by the way. I have good kids). I’m pretty sure there was poop on her shirt”
Our friends will give you looks of horror and you will talk about what you’ll do differently from me when your
life sentence time comes. You will all think “Oh that poor thing. I wish she could have joined us.” Except you really don’t wish that because we have nothing in common anymore. You see, my life is consumed with all things lovable leeches kids. Kids, meals, cleaning, activities, education, volunteering in the school, and making sure my husband is happy. I am no longer the Sara you knew. I’m a new, disheveled, always late Sara.
Everything in my life takes longer from leaving the house to making plans to go out at night. I call it a victory if I even get to shower without interruption…and a poop alone that’s like I won the lottery!
You’re able to go out at night whether it be just to dinner or to party…and while I can too (with the aide and cost of a babysitter (Did you know they get paid at least twice what we used to be paid??)) I can’t recover from a hangover the next day like you. You, my friend, can sleep until noon, stay in your bed all day, and only move if you have to pee. I, on the other hand, have a breathing alarm clock set for 6:30am that needs fed and changed and entertained. No amount of hangover remedy will cure the crap I have to get done as mom the day after. No amount ibuprofen will cure the headache that goes with the boys fighting over yet another Hot Wheel.
Oh my childless friend, you have no idea what caring for two little beings does to change your life. You have no idea what it takes to go grocery shopping. You have no idea how hard it is to be a mom or that you’re judged more now than you have ever been.
Oh my childless friend, I envy you. Don’t get me wrong. I love my life. I love my children. They are my life and I love all of the warmth and joy that they give me, but please I beg you to do me these few huge favors.
Savor the moment. Savor your freedom. Savor the ease at which you can do small mundane tasks such as drying your hair in the morning. And if any man comes near you when you’ve forgotten your birth control or without a condom.
Please watch this video about childless vs parents.