Before my last move we lived fairly remote, and had no family nearby and evening childcare came with the high price of a sitter and either my husband or I needing to be sober because we would have to drive the sitter home. We had many, many evenings at home. I’m not complaining. I’ve never been a socialite. Truth be told, I’d avoid even arranging for a sitter because I was too anxious to even go out much to Husband’s chagrin.
In fact even in my young carefree single days I would often be found at home. I have always been so incredibly awkward and unsure of myself around people I don’t know that I do not enjoy settings where I am not familiar with either the place or the crowd I’d be with. I can probably count on one hand the clubs I’ve been to. I’m pretty sure that the grand total is 3 and they are all found in England. While I was 17. I’ve been to my fair share of bars here in the US. I may be uncomfortable in a bar, but at least I’m not forced to dance to music I hate and be felt up by strangers. In the strangest twist to this tale, I’ll throw down on any karaoke stage you put in front of me. But that is neither here, nor there.
Anyways, back to the beginning. Back in Australia, Husband and I would often invite people over to the house for a few drinks and some games. By the time we were in our last few months there most of our friends had moved away on to better things. This particular night we had over a new group of people. Most of which I had not met before, as they were my husband’s co-workers and their partners. As the course of the night went on there was one woman that was just snarky no matter what Husband or I did or said to her. At some point the game we were playing posed a question about children that got the table talking. The woman said very matter-of-factly that having children ended your life; then sent a meaningful look around the table at large. It was clear she meant that the evening was awful for her and that she would die if she were forced to live out our fate. Okay, I maybe throwing a few words in her mouth, but that is certainly the way it came across.
It bothered me at the time. It bothered me the next day. It bothers me now.
I will not pretend to say that children are perfect and life isn’t complete without them. They aren’t perfect. Life does not hinge on bringing little people into the world.
I respect and admire those that identify that they do not want to be parents for any reason they choose. Want to spend all your money on fun grown up things instead of diapers? Great! Don’t think you can hack it as a parent? Cool! Don’t want to loose sleep at night? Don’t we all! Seriously, I don’t care if someone chooses not to be a parent. It doesn’t affect me one little bit. Do you. I’ll do me.
I respect that this woman wanted to be young and enjoy her time with her partner without the complication of children. Because, let’s be honest, relationshiping when there is a child involved can be quite complicated. Hell, relationships without kids are complicated.
However, isn’t it fair to want and expect the same respect from others on my choice to be a parent? My life isn’t over. In fact, socially, my life is much more social than it ever was before I had my children. If there is one aspect of my childless years that I miss is the ability to be alone without anyone in my personal space unless I deemed it so. Now I have someone touching me or within arm’s reach more often than I prefer.
I do not want people over at my house on those occasions we invite them into our home for a few drinks just for pity’s sake. I want them there because I want to get to know them, or if a relationship is already established, because I enjoy their company. Otherwise don’t bother coming here. Don’t darken my doorstep. Go do whatever it is that young people do these days. We will both have a better time that way.
I promise the only thing that I’m jealous of is the alone time they take for granted.