Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Whiny Wednesday: Ungrateful Pipsqueak June 27, 2012

The other weekend I took myself out for a quiet lunch at my local Thai restaurant. I don’t mind eating alone, in fact, sometimes I prefer the solitude of food and thought, so imagine my dismay when the hostess sat me right next to the long middle table filled with a collection of families, all with small children.

As it turned out, the children were impeccably behaved and the parents were attentive and respectful of the other diners. All except one.

This dad was a big mouth and a know-it-all, regaling his audience and half the restaurant with his worldly knowledge of everything from campers to tax evasion. Then Father of the Year went on to complain how difficult (and expensive) vacations were now that he had a “princess” (his wife) and kids, and how much easier and fun they’d been before then. And how much more he drank since having kids, and how, even though there were five other non-working adults living in their house, his kids always came crying to him in his office.

I’d like to tell you that I’m too nice a person to wish he would choke on his pad thai, but sadly, that’s not the case. I so wanted to tell him what a total git he was and that he didn’t deserve the beautiful wife and children he had. Oh how I wanted to give him a piece of my mind. But I didn’t. I couldn’t even look at him and fling him one of my best dirty looks. I just kept my eyes to myself and channeled my internal daggers his way.

I understand that parenting is hard work, and I can only imagine the changes that happen in a person’s life when they have children, but this arrogant, ungrateful pipsqueak did not deserve the gifts he’d been given.

It’s Whiny Wednesday, my friends, that glorious day when vitriol and bile are the specials du jour. What’ll you have?

 

It Got Me Thinking…About Greener Grass March 6, 2012

By Kathleen Guthrie Woods

It was early in the morning on a national holiday. I was walking to our gym when I passed one of our neighbors as she loaded kids and gear into a minivan.

“Off to the gym?” she asked, grunting as she hoisted a toddler into his car seat.

“Yup.”

“I would give anything to trade places with you.”

For a split second I paused, then replied with the only response that seemed appropriate. “I’m sorry.”

As I continued down the street, it dawned on me that for the first time in years I wasn’t feeling (a) judgmental (she was, after all, dissing her kids) or (b) wistful. So often in the past I would have thought how I would have traded anything to have precious kids of my own, but now, not so much. I was pretty happy with the prospect of spending my holiday taking care of myself, maybe even reading a book or taking a nap instead of having to read a book to someone else hoping he would settle down for a nap.  I didn’t feel sorry for or envious of my neighbor, and I didn’t want to trade my grass for her grass. The grass was perfectly green on my side of the street.

Me thinks the healing process has begun.

Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She’s mostly at peace with being childfree.