You’ll understand when you’re…

UGH! That phrase! It seems like you hear it your entire life!

“You’ll understand when you’re older” “You’ll understand when you have a job””You’ll understand when you have bills to pay, get married, HAVE KIDS”

And no one likes to use that phrase more than mothers: yours, someone else’s, your mom friends.  As someone who is having their first kid, I’m sort of in between the mom world and the child-free world. But I see both sides so clearly these days. And I gotta be honest, in the words of Tina Fey..”There’s been some girl on girl crime here.”

So I came up with a few do’s and don’ts for moms and their child free friends that can help us all get a long better and neither party feels shitty about the other.

  • Mothers have used “you’ll understand when you’re a mom” on their child-free friends for decades and it is shitty as hell. First, you are assuming that the child-free friend WANTS a child and second, you are assuming they can have a child.  Also, it’s patronizing, these aren’t little kids, these are your friends. If you dont feel like they are seeing things from your perspective….use your words and tell them just that. Of course there are certain things you don’t get unless you experience it. For example, I will never be President, so I don’t know the stresses that go along with it. That’s why you see ex-POTUS’s hanging out with each other, no matter what their party affiliation. They just get what it’s like to deal with foreign leaders and the press and whatever else Presidents do from day to day.
  • Child free ladies, can you stop turning up your nose at invites you get that may involve your mom friend’s kids? They are trying, okay? They want to see you but the babysitter cancelled/dad has to work/ locked themselves out of the house. I think moms more than anything NEED that shred of their “old life”. They want to talk about your life and fashion and movies they can’t see and shows they watch on Hulu while breast pumping at 3am.  So please, be patient and be ready to talk about “Empire”. In addition, please don’t stop asking your mom friends to do stuff! They want to be a part of everything, they just can’t all the time.
  • Moms, stop telling your child free friends that they “don’t know real love” because they do not have kids. That’s bullshit. It is a completely different kind of love that you experience, but it’s definitely not the only real kind of love out there. The idea that someone can’t experience love because they don’t care for a child is ridiculous!
  • Both moms and their CF friends, don’t throw your life choices in the other’s face. Moms, you get to snuggle little ones and CF’s you get to travel, party, shop for yourself guilt free and …..okay, I clearly haven’t yet embraced motherhood. But you see what I mean. You don’t have to keep reminding me about your disposable income and I won’t tell you about the acid reflux that wakes me up at 2 a.m. (I really need to start getting used to this mom thing).
  • Moms have to stop assuming that every woman wants what you have or that something is wrong with women who don’t. And CF’s…that goes for you too. Women who want kids aren’t crazy or trapped in the patriarchal machine, they just want something that you don’t. Do you judge your friend who wants a salad for lunch when you want a burger (of course you do, that was a bad example) But you get my drift.

We are all in this together, ladies. So let’s just cut each other some slack.

An Open Letter To Buy Buy Baby

Dear Buy Buy Baby,

My fiance and I registered for our wedding at Bed Bath and Beyond and within 36 hours of doing so, I began receiving emails from you for baby products. Now I’m no idiot, I understand how cross promotion works….but really? After registering for a wedding? What about a wedding in November makes you, Buy Buy Baby, think that I’m going to have a baby?! Immediately I felt violated and insulted.

Then I thought, maybe I’m crazy for feeling this way. I’m over-reacting, they’re just emails from a spambot in Denver somewhere. Then Shutterfly accidentally sent out thousands of marketing emails for new mothers and fathers….to people who are not new mothers and fathers. In fact, they aren’t mothers and fathers AT ALL. And people kind of lost it, as well they should. I didn’t feel so alone anymore in my outrage towards you, Buy Buy Baby.

First and foremost, what’s with the assumptions? You, like most of the world, are assuming that because I’m getting married I will be having children one day. Well you, and most of the world can chill the f**k out. Now I’m not saying that I don’t want kids….I might. But don’t rush me Buy Buy Baby. Maybe I just want to enjoy being married for a few years. Travel. Have a dog. Buy a house. Get further along in my career. Or maybe….just maybe, I don’t want kids at all. And that is okay. Would it be so terrible if it was just the two of us forever? And if you answered yes, then maybe you need to be questioning yourself Buy Buy Baby, not me.

And it isn’t just you, Buy Buy Baby. It’s everyone you meet. Strangers ask about babies when you tell them you are engaged. Friends, relatives, friends of relatives, they all ask “so are you going to have kids?”. Look, I know its a social nicety. They are making conversation and what do you ask a couple who you just found out is getting married? Why, you ask them an extremely personal and private question about a HUGE life decision, of course. But that sort of intrusiveness starts when you first start dating someone. You get people saying “when do you think you’ll get engaged?”. Then once that happens they want to know about kids, then they tell you how to raise those kids. It’s odd because when you get a new job, no one asks, “When do you think you’ll get promoted?”. Because that is rude and no one’s business. Yet somehow your reproductive plan is totally their business.

Second of all, getting baby registry emails from you Buy Buy Baby seems to be a comment on what society expects of women. It’s just not sending the right message, it’s saying  that we haven’t gotten any further than kindergarten: first comes love, then comes marriage, than comes someone in a baby carriage. What about revising this for the 21st century: first comes love, then comes a thoughtful cohabitation then comes marriage, then comes a period of learning more about each other as a couple and developing your career, getting a dog, then MAYBE a thoughtful and conscious decision to put someone in a baby carriage. Sure, it isn’t as catchy as the other, but it certainly makes more sense. I raise this point especially for ladies who know for sure that they don’t want kids.s. Lay off them Buy Buy Baby. Stop sending them passive aggressive emails about onesies and nipple guards. Women have plenty of other corporations trying to tell us how and when to make a baby. We really don’t need your ill-timed promotions for breast pumps and baby monitors.

Look Buy Buy Baby, I don’t want to come off harsh. You have a place in this world. People have babies every 2 seconds or something crazy like that and they need your 12-packs of adorable tiny socks and those cute towels that have hoods for after bath time. I have purchased items from you for many of my friends and I was overjoyed to do so. My friends are awesome and we need more awesome people in the world. All I’m asking Buy Buy Baby is for you to think before you send an email to a newly engaged woman. She is going to face loads of pressure in the time she’s engaged and then even more pressure once she’s a newlywed to have babies. Her mother, her grandmother, her coworkers and friends are all going to ask about her plans for the future, meanwhile she’s just trying to plan a wedding without killing her husband-to-be because he refuses to write a thank you note for an engagement present they got 6 months ago!

Just give me/her a minute! Let me get a plant first and see if I can keep it alive. Then a dog. Then maybe…MAYBE….we can talk about that stroller that is on sale for $99.99.

Best,

Becky