One of the more odd things about my company is that a big majority of our work group is female and under 30. And a large group of these females are pregnant or just had a baby. Three people on my team are expecting before the new year, and one just came back from leave a month ago.
The boss of my boss had a surprise, virtual baby shower today. She didn’t expect it and all the people from all the teams she manages showed up and chipped in on gift cards for the new baby. It’s her first baby, and she’s scheduled to deliver on Friday–C-section.
While it was a nice thing to do, I gotta admit to feeling super odd about it and kind of cringing through a lot of the conversations. I haven’t been to many baby showers in my life. I tend to hate parties and opt not to go most of the time. One of my best friends had one, but I–of course–didn’t go because I live states away. And you know what? If I’m invited to another one–I probably will continue declining! And I probably will decline to have one, if I ever get preggers. Because holy crap.
Toward the end of the call, all the moms were just going on (and on) with tips about things. Like what your periods will be like. Like 2nd degree tears. Nipple soreness. How to avoid getting peed on by your boy child. How to get sleep. I mean–some stuff that was totally not appropriate. I’m a woman who’s pretty forthright about things, and I felt so embarrassed for the few guys who were listening in. Like stuff no one who is not your best friend should ever say to you. I love that all the ladies are so real and open–but holy crap!
As a single woman who hasn’t had a kid–I literally crossed my legs as I was listening and could not come up with anything to say. I went into headlight mode, which never happens. That awkward, oh-my-God-kill-me feeling that goes with bad social interactions. I literally told myself–don’t ever have children. Never have sex again. Button that shit up, yo.
I just don’t need to hear about any of that. Ever. No.
And now, whenever I talk to this person, I’m going to wonder about her bathroom activities with her horrific tear from hell.
Just. God. No.
A few of my friends have had children recently. I’ve noticed that a) all they talk about ever is the fact that they just gave birth and now have a child and b) they’ve kind of disappeared from their lives. Like they suddenly are moms — and moms only. They don’t listen to music. They don’t read. They don’t watch the news. They aren’t themselves. But of course–they ARE–but they just don’t share those things anymore. As their single, childless friend, I have less to say to them. I love them, of course, and like the cute photos on their FB profiles. But beyond that, yea–I’m alright planning my move and signing up for cool conferences.
Along with the laser focus on procreation and children, there is either a slant toward total venting and almost rage about the realities of being a mom. Like it’s so hard and whine-whine-whine. Just utter negativity all the time about their new roles and their husbands or SOs and babies. Or they’re compulsively chipper–constantly almost bragging about how good their babies are and how fantastic they feel. And yadda yadda yadda.
Of course, it’s pretty easy to see they’re all kind of full of shit. I just wish they knew we knew they’re full of shit.
As a childless singleton, I can’t say much about the realities of childbirth and child rearing. I’ve never done it. I’ve been a child and a daughter, of course, so I know something about that perspective. It just seems like mothers nowadays put a lot of pressure on themselves to be a certain way. Like the woman I know who is constantly complaining about never having time for herself because she can’t put her baby down. Well, of course, you can. I keep thinking I should tell her this, but of course–that’s not my place. You know–your kid can cry and he’ll live. In fact, it might be good for him to not be joined at your hip 24/7.
I won’t say much more about this because I’m sure I’ll get hate mail over it.
My mother wasn’t the best mother on the planet. She did a lot of things that scarred me–for real–as a kid. But she did everything with so much love and such joy. Just to be a mom. She didn’t complain. She didn’t think being a mom was easy, but she truly loved it. I always knew that. It’s part of the reason I find it hard to be mad at her for the things she didn’t do great. I was never a burden. It just makes me sad to know a lot of these kids will feel like burdens because their parents absolutely treat them like burdens.
Of course, it isn’t easy. Of course, childbirth sucks and hurts like Hell. Of course. Of course.
But all this bitching and whitewashing just devalues how uniquely awesome it is to create a life and help it thrive. And I wish moms knew that part of teaching a kid to be a human is being good to yourself and showing them that this is how you live your life.
I’m not a mom and may never actually be one–though I hope to be. But I will live my life in ever more full ways. And I’ll never use another human being as an excuse to be lame and sad.