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Mothers' Hideaway: Parents vs the Childless

Monday, June 21, 2010

Parents vs the Childless

Pop Quiz:

You're in Target and you see a mother carrying a screaming toddler in a football hold as he screams "Nooooo!!! Down! Down! Mommy NOOOOO!!!" while she has a newborn in the basket in his car seat crying for one of the many reasons a newborn cries. What do you do?

a) Smile at her with the "It's ok...I've been there" smile
b) Obviously roll your eyes while giving the mom the stink eye and think "Why won't that mom shut her kids up????"
c) Turn on your heel running in fear and think "Holy crap, there's my birth control for the day!"

I've been that Target mom. I was lucky because I got more people that answered with "a" instead of "b" (although my sister did say "c" to me later that day). That was a good day and I was able to leave Target feeling a little less ashamed of my disheveled appearance and screaming children. A feeling that lasted for ohhhhh 5 minutes.

When you have a child your life changes. Your world is flipped upside down and inside out and no one can truly prepare you for what comes with it. Oh the beginning is easy. Your newborn sleeps, eats, and poops. They sleep in their car seat while you go out with your husband to a much needed dinner. Maybe a little peep, but nothing a binkie or a rocking of their car seat can't fix. Life is good.

Then one day that sleeping child wakes up. They want to look around. They want to make noise. They want to grab that spoon, that fork, that salt shaker, that pretty little vase with the silk flower that resembles something of a centerpiece. Suddenly before you even sit down at the table you assess the table, remove any potential meltdown makers, and whip out the hand sanitizer. Suddenly your not quite one year old wants out of the high chair, they want to crawl/walk on the floor, they want to scream and discover their voice, they want to make their needs known to the entire restaurant, and want to hide from the stink eye you're getting from the other restaurant patrons. As you're trying to hush your child while simultaneously trying to melt under the table you realize that the other restaurant goers don't have what you have..........a child.

Now that I have joined the parenthood posse I've realized there is a large and quickly growing abyss that separates the parents and the childless. The childless glaring at the parents and the parents glaring at the childless. As a parent you're judged all the time from anyone and everyone. You're judged by your parents, your in laws, your siblings, your friends, other parents, other people that have no idea what it means to be a parent except that you have this slobbering ball of drool and mucous that wants you to hold them all the time.

People without children will be the first to tell you "Stay home!" or "You have to make sacrifices when you have kids." I have made make sacrifices. Lots of them. I haven't had my body not be carrying or feeding a child in 3 years (except for 3 months). I haven't been to a baseball game in 2 years because I can't bring my son and I haven't been able to find a sitter when we wanted to go because they were going to the game. I haven't been able to travel as often as I'd like without having to worry about all the logistics. I haven't been able to sleep in just as long. Do not tell me I can't take my child to a child-friendly restaurant. I have the right to not have to cook for ONE night!

When you get married, you lose some of your single friends because "you've changed" and you must now consult with your new husband about your plans for the weekend/night. When you have children, you lose some of your childless friends because "you've changed" and you must now plan your get togethers around naps, babysitters, and schedules. The childless don't understand the ins and outs of parenthood and they won't until they become parents themselves. It's the way the world works.

I understand both sides, I really do. My husband used to be that childless guy that would say "What's wrong with that parent for doing this or that?" While I always would say "Give them a break. It's hard keeping an 18 month old entertained." Then again, I was also the person that didn't think having a baby was going to be bon bons and butterflies. Sure, it's easy to judge the kid's parents, but we don't know the temperament of the child or what that child needs to be happy, if anything. I admit, I like to see that the parents are at least trying to keep their kid quiet, but I understand that at a certain point parents learn to tune out the annoyances. I am positive that it's a self preservation mechanism otherwise the parents might decide it's a better idea to eat their young.

So childless people of the world....what would you like for us parents to do? Get out of the house to maintain our sanity, or lose our minds and eat our young to get through the day?

Discuss with us at Mothers' Hideaway today!


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