Friday, January 16, 2009

What would be YOUR answer to this naive person?

What would your answer be to the question asked in this article? I know she's asking in sincerety, but she might have just as well said, "You're just a mom?"

I think every husband who's ever joked about his wife eating bon bons all day, should read this article. And buy his wife flowers (luckily, mine has never done so. But you can still buy me flowers, dear).

My favorite line in Carolyn's respone to Tacoma is that moms are "...resisting [the] constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense."

Carolyn's response explains why I usually answer my phone messages by email. On my time, my terms. I can respond in an email whilst the fighting, etc is going on, and not have the person on the other end sound irritated that I can't give them my full attention. I should be flattered, but instead I feel guilty (for having kids!). By email I know I can be thorough, not be interrupted, or come back later if I was interrupted, and finish off a partially-written email without feeling guilty for parenting my children when they need it, or leaving for carpool etc, or prepping for scouts or whatnot when I need to.

Wow, didn't realize this was a soapbox for me. Getting off said soapbox now. ; )


Rebecca Mother of A Tribe said...

Ah, yes, I remember getting married, having kids, and then trying to hang out with my old friends while my kids dug up the plants in their apartment window and drew on their furniture. I gave up.

Anonymous said...

Still having a lot of friends who don't have children, it's not an easy balance. I DID have friends who were like this until a nice long chat, a lunch (with the kid/s) and a trip to the park. Oh she got it, and she got it real quick. I knew them before I had kids and honestly, I think that if they valued my friendship enough, they'd understand and keep in touch. Or they can give in a call in lets say ... 18 years. Wait, I may be busy with grandbabies. Oh well.....

Shelly said...

love that you loved it.

I remember being married, no kids, on the phone with another mother and wondering why she couldn't carry on a conversation for more than a minute without an interruption. Then I had kids.

We moved a year before Nicole was born so I haven't really dealt with the friends issue.

You mean you don't eat bon bons when Nathan naps? That's the only time I can sneak my chocolate. ;)

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

Hmm. Is that why I prefer email too?

Nana (Lonna)and Grandpa (Max) said...

I remember those days well. Six children left little time for friends. Yet in those days I seem to have had more time for friends than I do now as an empty nester. Now my life is so family oriented with adult children and grandchildren, that I have much less time for friends. A quick question to my closest friends brought complete agreement. We just don't hang out like we did when we had small children. We're much too busy with our families. Sometimes, a Christmas card each year is all we get. But we love each other still!

Kimbooly said...

Now that's really interesting, Mom. I didn't think about that. And after you watched my kids a whole week, helped Katie with her new baby, watched Kristy's kids for a week, and plan on watching Ken's baby for a week, I can see why you feel quite busy yourself.

So, it's just a different kind of busy? It doesn't calm down????

Don't answer that.

Anonymous said...

I've been on both sides. I didn't have my son till I was 41 so I was busy in my own career and hung with others like me. When I got around those with kids I was annoyed when the children seemed to get into everything or took away from time with friends.

Then I had my son. Wow, how can you say a real eye opener? Now I'm the one who thinks twice of taking him to parties with friends without kids because I'm worried about his energy and looks I'll get. Because this very thing did happen to me last March at a family funeral. When grandpa was being buried, my son wanted to make a snowman. I asked for help, but all I got was that 'look'. I was horrified.

On the whole staying home thing, I'm doing that now too and it's not as easy as I thought either. I've even had people say, "Why don't you call, volunteer, do stuff with me? It's not as if you are working." Grrrr.

Anonymous said...

My own mother could have written that newspaper with that question. She basically asked me that around Christmas because I was her only child and she never had a husband or a job or a house to attend to.

The writer who answered did a great job and the sentence you singled out also resonated with me.

If I had to answer in one sentence I'd say, "Children are exhausting if only because they are always the top priority and therefore you never are."

Anonymous said...

Oh, also, I recently changed my phone message to something like, "You should know that we don't often check our messages and that if you want to get a hold of us, you should email us at ____@___. We have call display so we're probably aware that you phoned anyway."

Kristy Lynne said...

Shock! I loved the response.

Tesana said...

I would say, "Look, you know when you're making dinner and you realize your missing an ingredient? Well, it's like a 15 minute trip, right? Get in the car, drive 3 minutes to the store, go in, pick it up, check out, back in the car and home?

"When you have kids your 15 minute jaunt suddenly becomes 45. You don't just tell toddlers to get in the car. In fact, no kid gets into the car on their own. They have to be chased, cajoled, forced into their shoes, herded to the car, strapped in. Then you actually get to the store and deal with all of the complications that causes.

"It's not worth it. I just order pizza. And then I stress out about how I'm not feeding my children healthy food and I'm spending too much money on junk. It's life, but to the third power."

Hopefully, I would make this "friend" so offended she would never want to talk to me again. :D

I guess I'm lucky in that all my single friends love kids and so they are understanding, validating and some give great parenting advice.

Kimbooly said...

Kim, wow, you constantly show such insight to everything you write. To be on both ends of the spectrum does sound like an eye-opener. But for someone to say it's not like you're working, oooh, them's fightin' words. Especially if it was aimed not just at your homemaking skills, but possibly because you're a writer.

Shelly, thanks for sending me the article.

Melody, I love how your friend got it reeeeaaaal quick when she went on a park outing w/ you and your kids. And it's true that if they value your friendship enough, they'll find a way to persevere (helllooooo, email and blogs!!!)

Kristy, I loved the response, too.

Mom, I love the insight you added about how you later are more drawn in to your own families' lives. At least when I run into parents at the park or while we chat at pickups/dropoffs for diff. things, we connect at that level.

Something Girl, you coined it so well; when your kids are always the top priority (because the sweet things demand it, not because you're this parent who spoils or helicopter parents them), you feel like you can't breathe or think straight. Especially me when I add on my whole ADD part of it. That's often why I end up staying late, using precious sleeping time to 'veg'--I TAKE me time, at the expense of my kids. So I need to learn better balance.

Tesana, I love how you say life with kids is like life to the third power. Even though sometimes that's a very positive thing in those special little fleeting moments that happen, the overwhelming responsibility of it all can weigh a person down.

And I totally get the store thing. What would be a quick run in and run out can become a nightmare. Spontanaeity goes completely out the door.

Tonight alone I was ready to clobber all my children because they couldn't make a simple decision between three 89-99 cent Taco Bell choices in the drive thru, arguing themselves silly over their choices, clamoring for my attention all at once, and then clamoring more for my attention when they all changed their minds after I had already ordered and pulled up to the window.

But please realize that I do love them, despite all my complaining. I really do. I just enjoyed this article because it was so validating.