A Bone To Pick
I’ve got a little bone to pick with non-parent types.
I work with several people who have never had the honor of raising children. Some of them by virtue of choice, some not. Some because of lifestyle and timing and some, to be frank, because same-sex parenting is only now becoming something accessible to the masses (a post for another day).
While many of my child-free coworkers are nothing but supportive, understanding, and respectful, there are those who make my lip curl and my mama-bear emerge on a regular basis. It is those people to whom I direct my rant.
It is those people to whom I say: STFU non-parents.
First, there is the pity. when I come to work and I’m tired, and flustered, and feeling overwhelmed the LAST – and I mean the last – thing I want to have is someone who has NO FREAKING IDEA of what my life entails to give me a sympathetic look and say, “you need to get some rest…” or “have you tried yoga?” or even just “oh you poor thing.” you know what? STFU. I know you’re well-meaning and this makes me a terrible person but I don’t care. Shut it.
Next there’s this weird assumption that we, as parents, are somehow constantly mourning the things we no longer get to do. When I told a coworker the other day that I just don’t watch TV, she responded that *surely* I could find a half hour in my week for *this* particular show… Well yeah. I am sure I could. but hey, here’s the thing: I DON’T WANT TO. In the list of things that I have on my plate, TV is not something I am willing to make time for. Playing blocks on the floor? Yes. Reading an extra story? You bet. SHowering? … ok well sometimes. But you get the idea. Yes, things have fallen off the priority list. Things I used to really enjoy even. But they’ve all been replaced with things that I enjoy even more. Sure, I lament from time to time that Masa and I have seen one (1) movie together since Gus was born… but to be honest, it really doesn’t bother me, and both of us would way rather bust out the soccer goals at the park and play with our boys for two hours than watch a movie. So go ahead and take your “grown up” activities that you imagine I miss, and STFU.
Oh and that leads me to the eye-rolling at all things baby related. The further assumption that a) I’m completely immersed in my children and therefore don’t care about myself anymore and b) that this is somehow a horrible state of existence and c) that taking extra time to do things for my children is not worth it if it means overextending myself a little. Or even a lot.
Yes. believe it or not I find being a parent important. It is more important than anything I’ve ever done and it’s more important than anything that you’ll ever do. I have willingly taken on the responsibility of raising and forming a small slice of the next generation of humans. In so doing, I have made how this world moves forward a completely personal issue. You wonder why I stress out about elections? Their names are Gus and Jude. Of course I care about other children and my nieces and nephews and all that and I cared intensely about politics and the state of the world before kids, of course I did… but my kids? Nothing touches that. You want to know why I have pictures of them all over my cubicle? Because it HURTS, physically aches, to be away from them all day long. Because while I’m talking to you, and taking in your weird non-parent judgement, I would 1000 times over rather be in their company than yours. My three-year-old can be annoying and my baby exhausts me, but don’t think for a SECOND that I wouldn’t ditch your ass in a heartbeat if given half the chance.
Everything I do, I do for my children. Everything. Even the selfish stuff. Even things I do for myself I do because I know it will help me extend my patience. It will help them understand that taking time for yourself is important. When I go to work, I do it so they can have every opportunity in life. So I can send them to college and take them all over the world. I do it so they can learn that two partners can work together to make a household function, and that one person’s role is not defined by his or her gender.
It won’t always be this way. As my boys create their own identities and venture out into the world more and more independently, so will I. I’m sure that I’ll become more familiar with popular movies and primetime TV again in the future. But the fact remains that for now, for these precious few years when they are my whole world, I’m going to go ahead and soak it up. And if that means spending a sunday making baby food,or spending a night comforting a puking preschooler, or spending my breaks and lunch hour pumping milk for the baby: all of it is more important than anything else I could possibly be spending my time on.
I am the last person to try to convince someone to have children if they don’t want them. It’s freaking hard. Harder than anything I’ve ever done. I would never push this choice on someone whose heart isn’t in it. I respect people who know enough to know they’re not into it. I really, really do. But these types that seem to not have the same respect for *my* choices? I say to those people: you try loving something this hard. You try taking on this kind of responsibility for shaping such endless potential. You try giving everything you have to someone and only wish you had more to give. After that, we can talk. Until then? STFU.
Oh and while I’ve already ruffled the non-parent feathers? Let me say that I do happen to think that pictures of my ridiculously adorable kids on facebook are much less annoying that pictures of your food. So there. Suck it.