Last week, Annie and Winnie were buddies. When we passed Winnie’s house on our walks, the tan and white Corgi would waddle up to us. I’d pet her long soft fur while the two dogs sniffed each other, and then Winnie would walk with us a ways up Cedar Street. It was nice.
This week Winnie attacked Annie, barking, growling, biting. My pooch didn’t know what hit her. It was motherhood. Winnie gave birth on Saturday. The young woman who came out with her was holding a puppy, the only one that survived the troubled delivery. Now Winnie was in full mom mode. I can’t blame her. She has one tiny puppy, and she’s going to protect it with everything she has. She also probably feels sick and sore. But Annie, a spayed virgin at 11 ½, did not understand. Why doesn’t my friend like me anymore?
Ever feel that way around your human friends? They give birth and suddenly they’re not as friendly to you. It’s all about the baby.
Which brings me to the story that keeps popping up in my Google alerts. Brace yourself before you read “Childless millennials should be banned from Disney World, tired mom rants.” It seems this mother went on a Facebook rant about how childless people should be banned from Disney World, that the theme park should be reserved for “families” with kids. Say what? If I haven’t reproduced, I don’t get to have fun like everybody else? I know this mom was tired and frustrated, but we all need to think before we post.
Years ago, I wrote a post about LEGOLAND, which only allows adults without children on certain all-adult nights. I would LOVE to go LEGOLAND. So would the couple in this article who have been struggling with infertility for nine years. Come on, people. Aren’t these parks supposed to be happy places?
I’m not sure I want to mention this, but here goes. I was at a conference last weekend. I decided to duck out of one of my evening workshops to take a swim. I checked the pool on the way to my room to change into my bathing suit. Nobody there. I looked forward to peacefully gliding through the water. When I returned, less than five minutes later, at 9:30 at night, the small indoor pool was crowded with six kids under the age of six and three parent people. They took up the whole danged pool, splashing around, shouting, oblivious to this older person who needed to get down the steps and swim a few laps. Oh, I swam, but it was no fun, and I was soon back in my room, sinking into a hot bath where I could soak in peace.
Like that mom at Disney World, I was tired and frustrated. Things are not going well with my father, and I can’t do anything about it. My stomach hurt. I was tired of sitting in over-air-conditioned meeting rooms listening to people talk about writing. And now the pool was so full of children who should have been in bed that I couldn’t enjoy my swim. If the parents had thought to say something like, “Move over so the nice lady can swim,” that would have been different, but I seemed to be invisible to them.
If I were a mom person, would I have enjoyed paddling around with the little guys? I don’t know. Like Annie suddenly attacked by her former friend, I just know sometimes parents and non-parents seem to live on different planets.
Your comments, as always, are welcome.
5 thoughts on “Parents and Non-Parents from Different Planets?”
Hi Sue, sorry to hear your quiet swim was not to be. How relaxing that would have been. When I was younger, I would have argued that parents and non-parents are not from different planets. However as I’ve aged, it seems quite clear to me that this is the hard truth whether we want to admit it or not.
Poor Annie. I hope her friend mellows soon.
I’ve just read the rant from that woman, and think she brought it on herself. If she’s standing in line for three hours with a three year old, she’s doing it for herself, not the kid. How ridiculous!
I know plenty of parents who would be annoyed to find the pool full of kids at 9.30 pm. Sometimes I just think it’s the difference between polite and rude, as much as between parents and non-parents.
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I agree. And yes, if the people in the pool had made room for me, all would have been well.
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Poor Annie. And poor Winnie, she sounds very distressed.
And I agree with Mali. Any parent who had put their kids to bed, said to their partner, I’m just nipping down to have a half hour, quiet swim, before bed would have been just as p’d off as you were. And rightly so. They were being rude and inconsiderate.
I did find that close friends were distracted and not often available for days or nights out when they had a small child or two. Ten years or so down the line, as their kids are older, things are getting better on that front.
Sorry to hear about your struggles with your dad, Annie’s friend, and anything else that troubles you. I feel for you. A bit invisible. A little less “relevant.” Definitely not as important. Not all parents behave this way. But many do. And I partly don’t blame them. Chatting on the phone with me while trying to diaper a child and pass out snacks to littles isn’t easy or fun for anyone. Sometimes we have to let parents “parent” until they can actually catch a breath.
See, this is what acceptance and kindness looks like (as we all know). But sometimes our “easy” life gets abused by parents (such as your pool incident)
Kids can make us see our friends’ true colors. Earlier this year, I had a health scare. Very few people in this child-filled extended family offered much support. At the next family gathering, a sister-in-law (who I used to be very close with prior to her children) finally got around to asking how I was doing. She seemed concerned and compassionate and I thought, “Well, maybe she wasn’t around during the whole thing, but she does seem to care.” So I told her about the blood tests, the MRI, the ultrasound, the mammogram, the concern that I had lumps in my breast.
In the middle of all of it, her 6-year-old needed something and she abruptly turned and helped the child. Even had to leave the room to get her a glass of water. That stung. I mean, if we were only chatting about the latest sale at Macy’s then who cares. But the real zinger was that she never circled back to hear the end of my health issues. To find out if I’m okay. I’m talking about how I feared I had breast cancer and about to tell her about a related (and difficult) surgery and she didn’t even care enough to come back, apologize and ask to hear the rest.
I found her in the kitchen, alone with another mom, chatting about the difficulty of finding wide tennis shoes for their kids’ feet. The children were out in the yard happily playing. I know I shouldn’t be taking this personally. I mean, someone who has such little regard for a family member’s health is a cold selfish person and I just need to move on. But yeah, it hurt. Like you, I thought, “well, if she comes back to apologize, it will be something. I’ll understand.” But she didn’t. And I felt very unimportant.
Stuff like this happens often and it messes with me. I used to be a very warm, open person, giving, giving, giving. But over the last couple of years I’m finding that I need boundaries for myself so I don’t get hurt. I find myself at my happiest when I’m alone with my husband or spending time with my childless friends.