In the last year, I’ve seen a lot of popular articles and posts filling up my newsfeed with titles like “13 things non-parents should never say to parents” and “An open letter to my friends without kids” and “Here’s Everything You Just Don’t Get About Being A Mom You Wicked, Childless Shrew.” Okay, not that last one. But the first two are real.
And I know it all comes from a justifiable place. Because, yes, there are things that I truly don’t understand about being a parent. Things that you could write a book about.
But dear friends and family members with kids, there’s something that I, your childless friend and family member, would like to say to you. Anonymously of course.
And it’s this:
Please stop implying that my life is easier than yours because I don’t have kids.
I cannot even tell you how often you do this.
Sometimes it’s a subtle reminder from you that you just don’t have the kind of time that I must have on my hands. Often it’s the expectation that I or my husband continuously go out of our way to do something you won’t because, after all, we’re the childless ones. And most frequently, it’s a comment made like, “must be nice to be able to go out to dinner whenever you want.”
I get it, we all envy what we don’t have.
And I see how impossibly difficult it must be to be a parent. I see the grocery store tantrums, the food stuck in your hair that you haven’t had time to deal with yet and your panicked rush out of the office because daycare is about to close. And I know that’s just a tiny glimpse of the marathon that is your everyday.
I know you’re exhausted. I’m exhausted just witnessing your exhaustion.
But to imply that my life is easier than yours because I don’t have kids is like saying that cloudy days are so much better than sunny ones because there’s no need to mess with sunscreen.
Now I am in no way comparing the rearing of your child to applying sunscreen, no matter how hard and messy it is to rub that shit into your hairline. I mean, seriously…and I still end up with a peeling scalp. But I digress. I, your childless friend, do not want to diminish the responsibility you have as a parent of a tiny human that you must nourish and nurture and teach to look both ways, be a decent human and chew with their mouth closed.
I can’t even begin to understand the weight of that.
But what you don’t know – what you don’t think about when you imply that my life is easier than yours – is how desperately I want to understand that weight.
And for how long I have waited for that weight. Only to be handed a much different weight, filled with medical tests and instruments shoved up my hooha and blood vials and visits to specialists who turn out to not know shit and me demanding those specialists run more tests because of the thing I read from someone somewhere on the internet and the hours arguing with insurance providers and looking for another specialist who lives hundreds of miles away but can hopefully maybe possibly tell me why I miscarried this time and then having to wait months to actually see that specialist all while knowing my window is closing and secretly crying because another friend is pregnant and then feeling guilt from secretly crying because that friend is pregnant and not knowing what to say when people ask why we’re not pregnant but hoping this month will be different and waiting and waiting to find out that no, actually, this month is exactly the same as all the others all while watching you envy the spare time I must have all because I don’t have the one thing I want most in this world.
No, my life is not easy.
And neither is yours. Lets just give each other that.
And then, one day, when hopefully the sun does come out for me, and we’re both out in the warmth commenting about how difficult it is to have to rub sunscreen all over, we can discuss how we’d definitely take this warm sunny day over any cloudy day. Hands down.