Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where Do We Go From Here?

The other day with nothing to watch, I found some episodes of the old show Yes Dear on my On Demand. I’ve always had a fondness for Anthony Clarke, ever since I saw him perform at a comedy club in Boston where he was (in my humble opinion) high as a freaking kite and laughing so hard at his own jokes, he could barely get through a set.

Anyway, the episode began with a joke about the main couple played by Clarke and the chick from Uncle Buck trying to shove videotapes and anecdotes of their little boy on a couple friend of theirs who had no children. The couple invited Clarke/Buck to a concert, and they confessed to already having tickets to a concert of their own: Barney and Friends.

You guys, the LOOK that passed between the childless couple…I’ve had that look. Even since I’ve had Wee ‘Burb, I confess I’ve rolled my eyes a time or two having to listen to a couple going on and on about the genius of their little booger-eater.

So imagine my shock and horror when I realized, I’m becoming one.

All joking aside, it’s been bothering me quite a bit. Recently I’ve been in several situations where there have been a few moms and then a single or childless (also, that word? Sounds stupid. It’s the most succinct word I can come up with for someone married with no children, but seems to suggest a barrenness that isn’t accurate) woman in the mix.

The moms, of which I am now a part, talk of development and share charming anecdotes, myself included. But inside, my gut is bursting to say “DO WE NOT HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TO TALK ABOUT??!!”

Again, seriously, I am just as much to blame. Because I don’t.

It’s like when you start dating someone new and you try, you really try to CONSCIOUSLY not mention his name at every turn, but the more you concentrate on it, the more you end up saying “well New Guy says this” and “the New Guy and I did this” and it’s so obnoxious and your head is screaming STOP IT, DUMBO! But you can’t, right? Because at the moment, it’s the all-consuming world you live in.

I keep wondering when did this happen? When did this become IT? When did I become the person who can only talk about her kid?

I’m noticing it with this blog, too. Having set out to eschew the “mommyblog” moniker, I avoided blogging about my pregnancy and kept going for awhile with only mentioning Wee ‘Burb in passing, as an intro or exit to an anecdote.

It’s like I want the option to not blog about being a Mom, and yet…well, I’m not sure where I’d be without that topic. Because that is my world right now.

I plan to do something about this, about it being my world. Scott and I didn't restrict talk of Wee 'Burb on our recent trip without her, but we did try to reconnect on topics outside of that I recently read our Community Ed brochure and found several tempting adventures. One was a Thriller Line Dance class, which, come on, is tempting.

And then even that is stereotypical in some way, right?

Sigh, we’re the couple who can’t do anything but talk and think about our kid, so we’ll just go sign up for wine tasting or cheese making or something as an excuse to have something to talk about. Incidentally, that’s where the episode arc took the characters: they enroll in a wine tasting class and find out they’re just fine with being the couple that only talks about and thinks about their baby.

The truth is, we’re not that couple at the core. Scott and I do have outside interests and discussions. Mostly about work, which is a relatively verboten blog topic and frankly doesn’t make for the best group topic either because it ends up turning into an unhealthy vent session when all the person asked was the equivalent of “still working?”

Cooking is something Scott and I talk a lot about. We’ve taken classes in the past, but (not to sound snotty) a bulk of them were a bit below our level, geared more toward people who needed to learn the basics like cutting veggies while your pasta cooks. And a few of my friends have this topic in common, so I am lucky there.

I feel like so much of my life and blog is centered around this one person. And I’m just not sure there’s an escape. And I am wondering if I am destined to not only never make new single or childless friends, but to lose the few I do have now. And that? Scares the crap out of me.

Okay, so weigh in! If you’re single or don’t have kids, do you get annoyed when you’re out with mommies who clique it up about their kids? Or as moms, do you gravitate toward women with kids? Do you slowly only end up with other parent friends, or is there a point at which you begin to develop other interests, too?


Amanda @ It's Blogworthy said...

This is really interesting to me and hits very close to home. I, too, was that childless woman who didn't give two shits about other people's children. Not that the kids weren't cute, but I honestly didn't care to hear about the charming thing they did. But now that I have a kid, I don't mind hearing those stories (unless it turns into a competition as to whose baby is more awesome, then nobody wins).

I think that it's a season. Someday when Wee Burb is grown up, you're going to reconnect with your husband and talk about other things, but right now she's the center of your world and not only is that OK, it's NORMAL. So what if you become that couple for a little while? I know that someday (with us at least) it will pass or at least lessen.

I try to have at least one conversation per day that doesnt' revolve around my child. I have a childless friend and we will chat all day on instant messenger and very rarely will I mention my baby. It's not even like I try...We just have other things to talk about. But I've known her for 10 years.

And the dreaded Mommyblog...I really resisted, too, but realized most of the things I talk about were my child. So I threw in at least one day / week where I just blog about celebrities or work or something other than the baby. It's helped me expand my topics & writing.

But my baby posts are still the most popular.

Erica@PLRH said...

Hi, I found your blog through someone else's but now I can't remember which one.

Over the years, I've found that moms of children of the same age tend to gravitate to each other. But now that my boys are teenagers and off doing their own things I spend more time with my friends that don't have kids. I've got to say that after 17 years, it's quite refreshing. Basically, the more of your time that's spent with your child(ren) the more you talk about them.

Sparkling said...

2 of my friends had babies about 6 months apart 2 years ago. I knew what was going to happen. One was going to be all about the kid and the other not so much. When I am with the not so much, we hardly discuss him. When I am with the all about, it's all about. And I am usually only with her when I am also with the not so much. Then it becomes comparison city. And I just quietly get annoyed. BUt I was prepared for this.

My other friends mostly had kids when I met them, so it's not a big deal to me when they talk about them.

It's the mother who cannot be separated from their kids that bother me the most. Those who vehemently refuse to even try to have a normal life because they now have kids. I think it's extremely unrealistic.

At least no one has ever said to me "well, you wouldn't understand because you don't have kids." That would really annoy me.

Why don't you call us non-moms? This does not offend me in the least. Un-moms sounds like we can't have kids. Non-moms sounds like we haven't had them.

Lindsey said...

I do brag about my kids, but when there is something specific, like Big Brother getting his orange belt. Other than that I figure most people will be annoyed with me.

Married In Chicago said...

I just added you to my reader!

Honestly, I think its natural to gravitate towards people who are in a similar life situation as you. I don't think its something to feel guilty about!

Elizabeth said...

Newly Married with no kids.. YET.. at first it was slightly annoying if i was the odd man out and no one to talk "non" babies with.. Now the conversation is about Having babies.. SO i am sure my friends that are not at this stage find us "trying" couples annoying!

Kristen said...

I think it's not uncommon. I really make a point of making self-development a priority. Because I'm a stay at home mom, I have to give myslf something else to talk about!

Sara said...

No I don't...but that's probably because I am thinking about starting a family and want to soak up all the information.

I've definitely had that feeling when dating my hubs that "I need to stop talking about him, I can see this person getting annoyed and I am even annoying myself" yet lacking the willpower to do it. I'll listen to you talk about your baby ... b/c I'll totally be that person soon.

Visiting from SITS Comment Hour

Laurie said...

Heck, I'm a mom, but *I* get tired of hearing about some people's kids, if it gets to be too much after a while...I have all kinds of friends: some with kids, some with no kids. some with babies, some with adult kids. I have friends of all ages, when I think about it. there's SO much else to talk about !! I do talk about the little man, but I want to talk about other things, too!

Donna U said...

As a mom of two grown sons with the benefit of hind sight, I'd say it is all about balance. A mom's life is NOT just about her children.

Sarah said...

My husband and I can't even find anything to talk about on our dates besides our kids. They are my world...and I love my world right now!

Kimberly said...

I think it's natural to become closer to people in similar situations as you. I am guilty of that too. But as moms, that's who we are and I don't think we should feel guilty about it.

The Mays said...

Oooh, I'm with you. I'm losing my single/childless friends - and I need them. Much more than they need me these days. It's a difficult thing - our little people are our biggest "project", "achievement", or whatever you want to call it... And they're stinkin' cute!

@ChiMomWriter - It Builds Character

Kari said...

Here from #commenthour. I'm not a mom yet but I talk about my soon-to-be hubby all the time. Check out our adventures at Newlyweds on a Budget.


Amy said...

Hi, popping in from #CommentHour. Looking forward to reading more!

Kimberly said...

I actually love to hear about my friends' kids. Well, at least I did, until mine started making a few bad choices. Nothing like having your friend have the perfect child, when you don't, to make you feel sad and deplorable.

Carrie said...

It annoyed me when I wasn't a mom that some of my mom friends would talk about their kids ALL THE TIME. Now that I'm a mom, I do try to stay conscious of that when I around non-moms, although at this point most of my friends do have kids so it's rare that I have to self-censor! Thankfully we do usually talk about other things, too. It's important to have other things to talk about!

Jessica said...

Oh, I can so relate to this. It took me a while to have kids, longer than my friends, and it was SO frustrating when we would go out and all anyone ever talked about was their children. They would give me "that look" and tell me that one day I would understand. Ugh. I have another group of friends and while we all have children, it's not all we talk about - and that is so refreshing.

Amy said...

I've never really been single and childless so I can't say from that angle, but I do try to be aware of my enthusiasm about kids and their 'stuff' around non-parents.


gin said...

I have been clinging to my single and or childless girlfriends since having my baby. I also have to make a constant effor to not say, "man, I remember those days..." when they talk about taking an impromptu trip or sleeping in. I honestly have dug my claws into them and made a conscious effort to hang with them; with and without my son. They're totally cool with and without him, which is a blessing.
Stopping by from comment hour with SITS. Great blog post!
gin @ Life as Topher's Mama

Katy said...

I have some friends from school that I try to hang out with so I can have some 'real' convo, but with the military life, it is easier to hang out with ppl in the same boat & understand!

new follower (twitter & GFC) from #commenthour

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that I'm rarely offended by baby talk as long as mommies make it a point to include me in the conversation. Like, we all go through different life stages/phases and sometimes it's important to be the talker. Other times it's important to be the listener. If you have that balance, you're golden.

Carli said...

I would soooo love to take that Thriller Line dancing class! LOL!!!

As a never married, single women I have had to decide to be understanding of my friends' change in status and point of view each time one of them got married or had a baby. I love to hear about their marriage and children so that helps...but there are times when I feel like an outsider when in groups of married mommies.

Jessica.B said...

Stopping by from #commenthour. I can completely understand what you are saying. In my blog posts I have noticed less mention of my Bubbie. However, when it comes to photos- most of them are of him. Conversations usually turn to my son but then again- he is usually anywhere I am.

Having only had him 20 months ago, & expecting our daughter this June- I find that I have lost myself. Only, I am hoping that once she is here, I'm done being pregnant, & once things are balanced I can find myself once again. More than likely a new version of myself but hopefully there is a part of me left that doesn't have to revolve around my kids.

Hope that doesn't sound too harsh...

Anonymous said...

I usually just brag about my three dogs. They are my kiddos. Heck, I'll break out the wallet with photos. I'm not intimated. LOL!!!

Shasta said...

I guess I would say I only really have mommy friends. When someone tells me they don't have kids it's like I can feel the connection break. Although, it's not that I don't want to connect with them but more that I'm afraid they will have nothing on common with me, and thus not like me!

Lame right?!

Holly said...

It's funny -- my husband and I waited to have kids, so when we didn't have kids, our friends did. And now that we have little kids, our friends now either don't have them or they are grown. It's been hard to find friends with kids around our age.

Meg O. said...

I must admit, when mommies start talking about their kids, including their bowel movements and spit ups, I really have nothing to contribute to the conversation -- so it annoys me. That doesn't mean it's not valid conversation because it really is a big part of their life. I'm sure I'll probably do the same thing when I'm a mom.

Stopping by from #commenthour! -Meg

Anonymous said...

I am a mom and I have NO friends with kids. All my friends are childless and I feel alone at times. I long for other moms to chat with. Who knows, maybe I'll get sick of mom chat when I actually get some mom friends!

Anonymous said...

I meant to respond to this yesterday, but my computer hates me.

I thought I’d weigh in as a married woman with no children…
My church is baby/child central. We have probably 50 children under the age of 10, so a lot of mommies. I’m very involved, so I spend a lot of time with these mommies, who spend a lot of time talking about their kids, or child-related issues.

Honestly, it doesn’t bother me at all. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really fit in because I don’t have a kid, or jealous because I want a kid, but I don’t get bothered by them talking. I view it as a chance to get some insight and early advice. But, that might be because I love children and want to be a mom someday. Someone who doesn’t want to be a mom may feel differently.

Anonymous said...

I constantly change my topic of conversation depending on who I'm talking to ... but I guess I do gravitate towards other moms because then our children can entertain each other while we attempt conversation. This sounds ridiculous, I know! But really, it's necessary.

Great post!