A while back, I spent time with some friends plus their friends, whom I’d never met. The friends of friends had their kids with them. We were hanging out in the great outdoors, a long walk from a bathroom and running water, when one of the kids freaked out about something on his hands. His mom suggested he rub her water bottle to use the condensation to try to clean off. I reached into my bag and pulled out some wet wipes.
This caused the kid’s mother to gasp and say, “Wow. I’m a MOM, and I don’t even have those in my bag.” I found the comment odd but didn’t dwell on it. Surely she wasn’t suggesting that only a person who has given birth could have the foresight to bring something to clean one’s hands.
Later in the day, the kids were playing and one screamed as if a limb (body, not tree) had just been chopped off. I looked around, saw the kid was fine and then returned to my glass of wine. The mother said, “As a MOM, I’m used to children screaming. If there’d been a problem, I would’ve known.”
Now keep in mind, I heard the scream, turned my head, quickly evaluated, then turned back around. I didn’t raise my eyebrow or make a comment or at all suggest this chick wasn’t watching her kids. But this behavior continued the rest of the weekend. Everything was “As a mom…,” “When you have kids…” or “Wow, you’re so organized!,” as if women my age who didn’t procreate are slovenly girl-women.
Perhaps after listening to this chick rattle off the litany of things she had going on with the kids that week, between soccer practice, doctor’s appointments, iPad upgrades and the like, I should have responded with, “I don’t have to plan out my time because I CAN DO WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT.”
Being a parent is an awesome responsibility, and I respect the effort that goes into raising children. And, not being a parent, I’m sure I don’t truly get the sacrifices, joy, fear and wonder that go into creating and nurturing another human being.
That being said, this lack of experience doesn’t make me a lesser adult. It doesn’t mean I go tripping through life, half-buzzed and looking for the next party. Parents aren’t super-human, and non-parents aren’t sub-human. We’re all just people, doing the best we can with what we have.
Paid for by the “We may not have kids but we do have a monkey that we like to dress up, which is almost the same” PAC