Monday, June 4, 2018

"But I Had Kids" -My Mother

(Note: This post has been edited from its original version. This version is more succint, less rambling.)

I was all set to write one post and then my mother called.

She asked how my unpacking is going. I have now lived here for a week and I am probably about halfway unpacked. I am functional. The bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom closet are unpacked. But I still have everything else like my books, office supplies, art supplies, and decorations in boxes. She expressed surprise that I wasn't unpacked yet. I said, "Well, I'm not going to just do nothing but unpack for five hours straight. I unpack a little and then I take a break." And she said, "Whenever we moved I always had everything unpacked within three days. But I had kids."

"But I had kids."

Dammit, that sentence annoyed the crap out of me.

"But I had kids."

What does that even mean? Her life was more important than mine is, that it was more important that she get completely unpacked immediately just because she had kids? That I am not fully adult with full-time responsibilities because I can afford to have some boxes lying around for a week or two? Seriously, wtf? Wtf does that even mean?? "But I had kids."

Well if you know me or if you've been reading this blog, you know I don't hesitate to say what's on my mind (as long as I can think of something in the moment). So I said, "That doesn't matter." And she immediately said, "You're right. I chose to unpack quickly."

I'm glad she followed up her thoughtless comment with a more accurate one, that she chose to do something and not she had to do something because she had kids. I made her think for one second. But I doubt she's thinking about it now, whereas here I am blogging about it.

It's just so annoying! "Because I had kids." "As a mother..." "Ever since I became a parent..." So many things are said that diminish my value and my experiences as a valid person capable of responsibility and empathy while going through life without children.

This won't affect me for the rest of the day, but I did want to write about it. Comments like this have gone from angering me to merely annoying me. But still... It just gets old.


  1. I had to read that paragraph over a few times. "But I had kids." What was that supposed to mean?? (Other than remind you, once again, of your childlessness.) Glad your mother rephrased her comment!

    1. I'm glad she rephrased her comment, but she continues to just not get it at all. Yesterday I said in a text that this move was so hard for us and it took everything my husband and I had. She actually texted back, "Not to focus on me, but can you imagine moving an entire 3-bedroom house with 3 kids every 3-5 years?!?!?!?"

      Um... What?

      I wrote back, "When you're moving a 3-bedroom house with 3 kids you're not fighting through a debilitating 7-year depression that was caused by not having kids. So honestly, I'm sure your moves were much easier."

      Geez... It's exhausting always reiterating my perspective, but it would be equally exhausting to just let all of these things be said without comment.

    2. Oh man, that would have irritated me, too -- good on you for speaking up about it. It's those little things that add up and create a bigger annoyance, because it does seem to say "well, having kids means I have RESPONSIBILITIES." Yeah, sure, but it doesn't mean that NOT having kids means you have none. I'm glad your mom backtracked and said she chose to unpack quickly, but I don't understand the need to put kids into the equation in the first place. And yikes, yikes, YIKES to her text. Even just the beginning, "not to focus on me..." is like a warning bell going off in my head. I think I might have said "well then you had 6 extra hands to carry shit!" :)

  2. I know.
    I love my mum a lot. But she is just like yours - sometimes her tongue is faster then her brain.
    A silly comment from her can spoil my entire day. Luckily it doesn't happen often, but still...

    1. I love my mom too. I keep hoping one day she'll get it. She doesn't even have to get it really. I just hope she learns to stop saying her kinds of comments that belittle people who don't have kids.