I take that back, I do care about your kids in that I hope they stay safe, I hope they grow up to be successful, I think they’re cute, I like hearing the interesting or funny things they do and say. I especially care if they’re constantly doing some of the crazy shit that my kids do, because then I don’t feel so bad. The key word in all of that is interesting.
That said, I don’t care that Johnny refuses to eat school lunches. I don’t care that Susie gets nervous on timed math tests, or that you’re reading Thoreau to your seven month-old. Can you warn me before you start in on the twenty-minute diatribe about how Timmy’s coach doesn’t give him enough playing time on the soccer field? Because I’m going to use that time to mentally organize my sock drawer since that’s more interesting than listening to the injustices inflicted on a seven year-old. If you tweet every sordid detail of your daughter learning to “poopie” on the potty, I will unfollow you. If you start in on an analysis of all of the fourth grade teachers, explaining why you wrote a letter to the principal, school counselor and superintendent about why Marcie must get Mrs. Jones this year, there’s a good chance I will fake a case of irritable bowel syndrome as a pretense to extricate myself from the conversation.
My Tuesday office space seems to be Starbucks. Today before I had a chance to put on my headphones, I had the pleasure of listening to three ladies discuss their kids ad nauseam. Every time I had to stop the music or take my earbuds out, they were still at it. Rocket Math, Girl Scouts, science projects, school schedules, enrichment activities, lost backpacks, play dates, piano lessons, PE teachers, reading assignments, bus stops. It’s enough to make me want to go bury my head outside in the dirty snow.
I understand the need to discuss certain things with your friends once in a while, but there is nothing that makes me sadder than when intelligent, funny, creative women completely lose all focus on themselves when they become a mother. Maybe I’m the oddball here, but the rare occasions I have time to spend with my friends, the last thing I want to do is have one kid-centric discussion after another.
Moms, it may feel like it at times, but your kids are NOT your entire life! Save yourself. Get together and talk about books, world politics, Charlie Sheen, music, sports (not of the Little League variety), old times, that freak at the library that looks like the Unabomber, vacations, work, saving the planet, the best pranks you’ve ever pulled, TV, cheesecake, your neighbors, anything! There’s a whole world out there. The sooner your kids learn that they are not the center of it, the better off they’ll be.
Besides, which story will make you and your friends laugh until your sides hurt? The one about your son acing his fifth consecutive spelling test? Or the one about the time you had to take your grandma shopping when you were hung over, and puked inside of a Keds shoe in Walgreen’s while she was in the next aisle because you didn’t know where the bathroom was?
(For the record, that was NOT me.)
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011