“I have to spend all day Saturday at soccer games. Gag!”
“I hate wasting weekends at my kid’s swim meets.”
“Wanna trade places with me?”
I’ve heard every variation of the above from friends who for whatever reason think it’s okay to complain to me about the “burdens” of being a parent. My responses have ranged from “Sounds like fun to me!” to “Dogs are so the way to go.” to “I’d trade places with you in a heartbeat.”
I don’t use that last one very often because it pretty much shuts down the conversation, but when I do, I hope it makes them think. It’s bad enough that this person is complaining about something s/he had to know about before signing up for the whole parental gig, and don’t even get me started if this ding-dong complains in front of their sweet child. Most of all, I wish they’d think for a moment about their chosen audience: childfree-not-by-choice woman who loves kids.
I loved playing sports as a kid, I was thrilled when my parents were on the sidelines cheering me on, I have great memories of those years, and I looked forward to the day when I could create similar memories with children of my own. Girl Scout leader, Team Mom, 3rd base coach—I woulda been all over it!
Maybe I don’t understand because I’m not a busy mom, but I do understand how much it hurts to be on the receiving end of a busy mom’s thoughtless complaints.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.