Friday, August 05, 2005
Procreation does not equal superiority
When it comes to friendships and relationships, kids constitute the dividing line. I’m not just talking about the line of responsibility or the line of abrupt, complete life change that seems to (and should) accompany the creation of a family. I’m talking about the line between people who have kids and people who don’t. Sometimes it feels like a lot of women who’ve already crossed that line no longer have any interest is relating to women who have yet to reach the parental point of no return. And it’s infuriating.
Yes, I am 30 and I am unmarried. Quite frankly, I’m happy about that fact because if I were married it would be to the wrong person. But just because I have not settled down into a traditional family life complete with husband, house and children does not mean that my life choices are questionable or sophomoric.
If I seem angry, it’s because I’ve attended one too many parties recently where the guest list comprised married couples with children, and where the conversation was a little too Bridget Jones for my comfort. So here’s what I have to say to the Smug Married Parents:
You may think that I don’t notice the pity in your eyes when you ask what I do with my time, but I do. Children may be the light of your life, and I’m glad for you that they are. But you know what? I don’t envy you just because you’re bonding over bad daycare stories. I don’t feel badly for you that you have whiplash because your spirited son decided to headbutt you for the fun of it. Yes, it’s cute when Junior’s T-shirt gets caught in the cooler while he’s rooting around for ice to suck on and I’ll laugh with you, but deep inside I’m thanking my lucky stars that I can go home and giggle over the Chapelle Show while drinking a vodka cranberry and I don’t have to worry about listening to a baby monitor.
The fact is, I get a good night’s sleep every night. The only unexpected disturbances I have to deal with are cat- or roommate-related. My clothes are spitup-free. My vacations don’t have to be planned and budgeted around kids, and I can go on weekend trips whenever I so desire. Nights out with my friends? No problem—no babysitter necessary. Nights in with my boyfriend? Nothing but the cats to bother us. So pardon me if, behind your pity, I sense a reservoir of envy that you can’t bring yourself to acknowledge.
Don’t treat my relationship like it’s a silly high school romance just because I’m not wearing a ring and I haven’t lost my figure yet. I may not be a member of the married mommy club, but that doesn’t mean I’m immature or that I feel like my life lacks meaning. The fact that I’m unmarried and technically still on the dating market isn’t something I bemoan every morning when I roll out of bed. Now, when I reach the point where I’m ready to get married, I’ll know that I got every ounce of independence and growth that I could out of my single life before taking the plunge. There will be no question of maturity or impulsiveness. And when I’m ready to have children, I’ll remember not to ostracize my single friends just because we’re at different points in our lives.