Letters is a bi-weekly series on Just a Trace where I write out my feelings to the people, places and events in my life via letters. Each post in the letters series will contain a new letter on a new topic, and although these thoughts and feelings come from me, don’t be surprised if you can relate. Read all previous Letters here.
Dear Friends With Kids,
I’m one of you now. It’s only been a few month since I’ve been in this club – the “adults who now have children” club. Before pushing a seven pound baby out and gaining official entry into this club, I have to admit I wasn’t really a huge fan of kids. Yes, there are some incredibly cute and sweets ones out there, but truthfully I didn’t get kids. I didn’t know how to converse with a toddler or how to properly hold a baby. I was the person that silently begged God not to let the screaming kid sit near me on the plane or stepped over your toddler melting down in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store.
I have to admit I made judgements about you. Judgments that looking back I see were completely wrong and 100% shaped around me having no clue about what having a child is really like. I judged you when you cancelled plans or when you stopped coming out to girls night. I wondered what the heck you did all day at home with a baby. I always told myself that when I was on maternity leave, I would have endless amount of time and I’d workout all day and try new recipes. I laughed when you told me you sometimes didn’t leave the house for days. I’d think, but with all the time in the world why wouldn’t you just take your baby out?
I owe you an apology. I get it now. I understand what its like to not feel like going out because you’ve been up all night with a screaming baby and you’d rather just go to bed at 8:00PM instead of trying to squeeze into skinny jeans and rush out for girls night. I get that even though you’re home all day some days you’re lucky if you get to change out of your pjs, and even if you do, its just into a pair of yoga pants (that probably have drool or milk stains on them). The endless amount of free time I dreamed up does not not exist and frankly if it did I would be far too exhausted to workout all day. Trying new recipes now means what can I make that I can eat with one hand, or “the baby will be asleep for another twenty minutes how much food can I shovel into my mouth before she wakes up?” I’ve gone five day stretches with not leaving the house and when I do have to go somewhere with my child I’m already tired before I get out the door. So for these judgments, I am sorry and I understand now.
However, if I’m being honest…which I always I am, I do have a few bones to pick with you. Although I silently passed judgement, I was always respectful of where you were in life, but you weren’t always that way with me. If I had a dollar for every time you said, “When are you having kids? Are you trying? You need to have kids soon,” I would probably have a small fortune. As someone that now has a child, I realize what an insurmountable responsibility it is. You made me feel less than because I didn’t have a child and I have learned from that experience that I will never make anyone else feel that way.
When I finally did get pregnant you told me, “you’ll get the drugs,” (which by the way, no I didn’t), “you’ll never sleep again” (which scientifically if that was true, I’d be dead right now), or “you’ll never have any free time again” (there’s definitely less of it, but it still exists if I’m writing this right now, doesn’t it?). These statements were not only untrue, but also hurtful. Welcome new moms into the parent club with acceptance, love and guidance not with an “I did it first so I did it right” mentality. I am writing to tell you that its okay that you talked to me that way. I am a tough person and I could take it. In fact, thank you for speaking to me in that way. It gave me the fire to prove you wrong and the compassion to treat other moms with respect and care.
I have a few friends who are about to enter this crazy world of parenthood. When they ask me what its like I tell them that its hard, but its amazing. That some days are a struggle, but its so worth it. I always tell them they can do it and that if they ever need advice to talk to me because I guarantee that I’ve been there. This is the rhetoric we need to be using with each other. Lift each other up, be each other’s cheerleaders, because frankly none of us actually know what the f**k we are doing and the sooner we can admit that the happier all us moms will be.
To my friends with kids, I think we can all agree that until you have a child of your own you truly cannot know what its like to be a parent. Now that I am one of you, I get it. I can really appreciate all the times you made it out for a cup of coffee or remembered to say happy birthday, because the struggle IS real. I applaud each and every person out there with a child because it sure isn’t easy, and at the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make it through another day.
A Friend with a Kid