Monday, February 14, 2011

My Reply to a Martyr Mom


Thank you to Amy Q. who forwarded me a link to this letter posted on a web site called Parents Connect, in which a Martyr Mom writes an open letter to her childfree friends. Read the letter and then read my response (and feel free to post your own response in the comments!)

To All My Friends Who Don't Have Children,

I love you, I promise I do, but please stretch your minds a little and try and think of what it's like to be in my position. No, I can't take a vacation for a week without my kids, just to hang out with you. I can't take a detour during a car trip an hour out of my way with screaming children just so we can sit in your not-safe-for-kids house so you don't have to get dressed and meet us at a diner.

I can't go out drinking on Ladies Night at your favorite bar, because my husband works the next morning, so I can't be hungover—I have children to care for.

Please don't call me on a weekend just to talk about how tired you are even though you slept in until 10. I've been up three times last night, and that qualifies as a good night. I also regularly wake up at six-thirty just so I can have a half an hour of peace.

Please don't complain that your house is messy—I understand your husband doesn't pick up his socks, but I just scraped dried poop off the side of the toilet and just finished a load of laundry that smelled like sour milk. I'm sorry you haven't dusted.

If you come over, realize I have young kids, so sitting with a cup of coffee and chatting isn't going to be possible. If you aren't interested in playing with them with me, don't come over. And please do not have the gumption to look grossed out when my two year old sneezes and gets snot on you. It's mucus, not poop.

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Tired of Being the Only Adult in the Room


My response:
Dear Martyr Mom,

I love you, I really do. You and I go back many years but things have really changed since you had kids, and not for the better.

You used to be a devoted friend, a great listener who was always a shoulder to lean on - and I was that for you as well. But now our friendship seems to go one way because you no longer have the time, energy or attention span for our friendship. Your entire existence revolves around your child and if I bring up any other subjects, you aren't interested (or interesting). I am lucky if I can get a word in edgewise over your screaming child.

You no longer have one hour to spend with me, let alone time for any vacations or nights out on the town, so I don't bother inviting you to those kinds of things anymore. I know it's pointless. You've made it clear that you are chained to your child and your home for at least 18 years.

Please don't expect that because your life revolves around your child that mine should too. Of course I'm interested in your child and like to be kept up to date on all the latest, but endless details about every aspect of potty training, day care centers and play dates at the exclusion of discussion of anything else, makes for an unfulfilling friendship. Please don't assume that because you have a child, your life is the interesting one and mine isn't worth anything. Show at least as much interest in me as I show in you.

Don't assume that because I am childfree, I haven't a care in the world. I am a responsible, hard working adult with a household to maintain, bills to pay, and devoted relationships with my husband, family, friends and pets. Don't assume that my life is Club Med and that I'm always free, sleeping, shopping, on vacation or out at a bar.

Finally, dear friend, it needs to be said: nobody put a gun to your head and forced you to have a kid, so get off your high horse and stop playing martyr. You willingly chose to be a mom, so stop expecting others to pity you for it.

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Tired of Moms Who Think the Whole
World Should Throw Them a Pity Party


30 comments:

The Traveling Katt said...

Great response Fire Cracker Mandy! Thanks for giving the child-free a voice. It is seldom heard over the majority.

Kristine said...

Some posts just speak for themselves. Brilliant. However, how do we get it in the hands of the people who could really stand to read it? (wink wink)

Marta said...

Amen! Perfect response!

Melissa (A Gracious Calm) said...

Really great reply!

Frugalista said...

I love it!!

Spectra said...

Amen to that! It's really annoying to hear about how you apparently aren't a "real" adult unless you have kids. But yes, I have a house, a job, a husband, pets, and many friends in my life that are frankly more interesting to me than little kids. Sorry if that offends all the moms out there, but it's the truth.

jamie said...

Can I just say that this mom doesn't sound like someone I would have been great friends with to begin with. So no big loss if I got this letter from her...

Temujin said...

"Flamencocat" also had a great response to the letter on the "Parents Connect" site.

Why couldn't the letter just come out and say it directly and save time that could be spent wiping noses? Just say that your kids are more important to you than your friendship with your childfree friends.

Lesson: make sure you're behaving like an adult before you say you're the only adult in the room.

Gumby said...

Awesome! I love it!!! ;)

Squashys Girl said...

OMG You're awesome!! love it

CFVixen said...

Fantastic reply! I agree with every word.

Shal said...

I just discovered your blog and love it! I am nearly forty and have never wanted children. I've finally me a man who feels the same way. Thanks for being a voice in an otherwise child crazy world.

marmite and jam said...

This poor little lamb sounds awfully resentful of her life choices. She seems to be seething with jealousy. The only way I can make sense of it... she is tired of being the only adult in the room because she is with her children 24/7.

Childfreeeee said...

Hi Shal - Glad you found me!!! Thanks for the kind words :)

Daghain said...

Oh, I see how it is. She shoots out a kid and now all her childfree friends are supposed to bow to her greatness and wait until she can be bothered to grace them with her presence.

And people wonder why 99% of my friends don't have kids. You can't have a friendship with someone this self-centered.

WhizzoChocs said...

It's the condescending sense of entitlement that gets me. Don't make a face if the kid snots all over me? I don't care if it's NOT poop; I don't want any of its stickiness on me.
I love my friends with kids, but without exception, our friendships change when they become parents. The ones that can deal with that stay in my life in a different capacity. The ones that can't move on, and I wish them well.

Dave said...

Great reply, as is the one by flamencocat to the actual letter in the linked website. (The only thing I wish you had addressed was the kid sneezing on you. Isn't it bad to have anyone, adult or kid, sneeze on you?)

Martyr Mom is someone worth losing as a friend, for sure. Probably wasn't much of a friend before she had her kid.

Bratzy said...

Brilliant response!
Wish I could say things like this to family who complain how tired they are or think we all owe them something because they had kids. But my dad would kill me :p

Childfreeeee said...

Here's a comment emailed to me by "Fabricleftovers":

How to deal with your child’d friends:

Do everything possible to arrange visits during nap time/school hours. Find out when their weekend/after school activities are and invite yourself over then. Can’t manage that due to ever-present kids? Jeans and antibacterial wipes for the visit itself, which should be followed by something to recover. Bubble bath. Surfing for the next vacation. Vodka. You wouldn’t go on safari or mountain climbing unprepared for the wildlife, would you?

When calling to confirm a ‘play date’ with your friend, enquire as to the health of the family: if the kids are sick (or you hear coughing and hacking in the background when the answer is ‘fine’) dinna go! Cancel ‘at the last minute’ – as your friends have no doubt done to you once the little bundles of joy arrived.

Just be clear on invites of your own: ‘if you can find a sitter we’d love to have you two over for supper Saturday night’. ‘Can I take you out for a cup of coffee before you pick up the kids from school?’.

For uber-stressed parents that you want to keep tabs on, an email with questions and answers from which to chose gives you the basic info you seek and always seems to get an answer if all said parent need do is hit ‘reply’ and delete as appropriate.

And speaking of delete as appropriate…it is sad when it comes to that, but just as you’d be rid of a former friend who found religion (in an annoying way), made damaging lifestyle choices (i.e. drink or drugs) or engaged in destructive relationships (don’t get me started) it might be time to end it. There are no interventions once the kids arrive.

But -- in a more positive line of thinking -- you can put ‘em on hold. I’ve recently reconnected with some couples who married a few years after my husband and me. The kids are in middle/high school and have lives of their own. There’s been some ‘my kids don’t need me anymore’ whining but that tends to fade fast. Yipee! Our friends have returned!

Most importantly: TAKE HEED OF WHAT PARENTS TELL YOU IN UNGUARDED MOMENTS! I’ll never forget one of my dearest friends saying over the squeals of her two girls (one miscarriage in between) that ‘nobody tells you about the loss of self’.

You told me. Now I know.

Christy said...

Splendid! And I have news for that lady---mucus is every bit as gross as feces, and has just as much capacity to cause illness. I must go read Flamencocat's comment now.

Ann said...

Beautiful! I have not had a complete phone conversation with my best friend in 9 years...little interrupters which she just does not seem to notice. I love my life!

Hannah said...

This really hit home for me. I just lost my best friend to her baby, and it kills me. But what can you do?

I wish some of you fine CF folk lived closer to me! So far my hubby and I are *it* in our social circle/age group. And parents who want to talk about things other than their children seem few and far between.

flamencokitty said...

ha ha! Thanks all. This is flamencocat, I just sometimes go by flamencokitty depending on what board I'm on. I love that all the other responses are mostly people without kids. I got a flux account just so I could respond to that nonsense. Oh, that made my blood burn!

Ms. Nancy said...

You know, I never thought of being an adult as feeling entitled to only have to consider yourself, and demanding that everyone around you not even mention their lives to you because your worries are so much more important. Weird, things must really change when your'e a parent.

blondehart said...

Thank you. You said what I've felt all these years.

J said...

Suave. Lovely response and it must be made in that fashion or else they just continue to make degrading comments... further making me realize they will be raising yet another human being with a negative, judgmental attitude. Thanks for sharing!!!

Jenn said...

I completely agree with Spectra about how people treat you like your not a "real adult" because you don't have children as if its a right of passage that everyone must choose. Thank goodness for forums like this where I don't feel like a complete freak for not wanting children.

Links said...

Ms. Nancy: "You know, I never thought of being an adult as feeling entitled to only have to consider yourself, and demanding that everyone around you not even mention their lives to you because your worries are so much more important. Weird, things must really change when your'e a parent."

Well said!

Erica said...

HA! Love your response. (Though I am concerned that I agree with far too many things on your website, considering I have my baby beside me as I type!) :o)

Angelus-Mortis said...

Actually, I think I have every right to be grossed out if her kid sneezed on me. It shows that she isn't doing her job as a parent and is just using her position as an excuse to let her kid do whatever he wants.