I see it in their eyes.
We will be standing there, both of us in our late 30s/early 40s, meeting each other for the first time. It may be at a work event or when making small talk while out and about town. They tell me about their kids and ask me about mine. I say I don't have any and there is a brief pause while I watch so many thoughts flicker across their eyes.
How old is she?
Is she married?
What does she do??
Oh wow, what does she do with all of her TIME???
Good gawd, what does she do with all of her MONEY???
It doesn't always happen like this, but it happens enough that it's worth writing about.
I know these parents love their kids. They love their kids unconditionally.
They just don't love the constant act of parenting 24/7.
They hear that I don't have kids and their overwhelming thought is: FREEDOM.
But their initial thoughts sell me short. Aside from the fact that I have the same 24 hours in a day that they do and that I make the same low salary as everyone else in my field...
Their assumptions leave no space for my losses, my trauma, my grief, and my hard work.
I'm not looking to turn every interaction into a teachable moment with friends and strangers alike, but I do appreciate having this place where I can vent about what annoys me. ;)