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the great divide
Mar 21st, 2003 by wrekehavoc

can people with and without children still be friends? can you be a working mommy? there are times when i ponder these questions seriously. some of my best friends do not have children, and yet for the most part, they are pretty sensitive to the fact that there are just some things i cannot, or will not, do. for example, i don’t go out too much in the evening because finding a good sitter has been a challenge (the one i adore is in college and so i pretty much only see her during school breaks – and how long will that last?) i am more than happy to have people over my house, despite the fact that it usually looks like something hit it. i’m pretty lucky that my friends tolerate me, i figure.

and now that i am pretty huge, i am not exactly thrilled by the prospect of driving around, kid in tow, beyond my local area. maybe if i didn’t have BC with me, i would be more open to it, but you know, i am pretty freaking huge (and getting even larger.) if BC needs my help, and i am on my own, i am sure i would make do – but it isn’t an easy prospect. she is big, i am big, it is hard. if the car has problems and we are together, well, that, too, makes it challenging. the thought of being 7+ months along plus trying to herd a preschooler on the side of a road just makes me cringe. i am just not up to it right now. not on my own, anyway. hence, i made overtures to my friends while i was smaller and feeling great – let’s get together, let’s do something. some were rebuffed.

some people without children do not understand the concept of borrowed time. all people with children do.

when i did not have kids, i had literally no clue what my friends with kids were going through. it might not have occurred to me whether a restaurant was kid-friendly. and being late? well, i am rarely late, but it did not occur to me that extra minutes waiting for a latecomer with young children can be horrific. i didn’t realize that their offers to have me over were their way of reaching out because that was probably the best they could do at the time.

but i learned, and how. i learned, for example, that you can get passed over for promotions because you made the grave error of bringing in your 6-week-old to the office – and the boss thought you looked so tired that perhaps you wouldn’t be returning from your maternity leave after all and so your promotion went to someone your junior. (and yes, those words were actually said to me.) i learned that getting your work done efficiently during your work hours was not enough for an employer – they wanted to see you there at all hours, regardless of whether you had completed your work or not. face time, you know. but moms – and enlightened dads who know their kids need to see them – don’t have time for face time. they need to get in, get the job done, and get out.

people romanticize life with children. they think all is rosy, that it all resembles one big johnson & johnson commercial with fuzzy-headed babies having their hair washed by humming, blissful parents. don’t get me wrong – there are moments like that. there are also moments when you are trying to get out of the house and a little person is screamingly intransigent, or colicky, or vomiting, or all of the above – simultaneously. there are those moments when you walk in to the big meeting at work only to find that you have oatmeal smeared on your dry clean only dress – the place where baby girl decided to grab you with her filthy hands before she gave you a great big goodbye kiss. that’s just life. i would not trade BC for all the tea in china. and i surely would not trade her brother-to-be, either. i chose to have these kids, and i love them more than i could ever begin to say. but there are times when i marvel at childless people – their misguided baby reveries or their inability to understand anything but their own needs.

and i marvel that that was me once, too.


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