Once upon a time, I didn’t have children. So, naturally, the idea of having children was a very romantic one. One where kids were simply an addition to one’s current perfect lifestyle, like a pet. In my ‘oh-so-naïve’ mind, you did not adapt to your child. Your child adapted to you…Well ever since our second baby came into our lives… our pets have become third-class citizens. They succumbed long ago to the pressures of daily life around here, because if you can’t yell for what you need, you don’t get attention. They still get fed and watered and cleaned…and loved (but only because they kind-of beg for it now) and I am so tired at the end of my day that they just come and lay atop of my husband and I.
Anyways, these are just some of the things that my non-parent friends ask me and here are the explanations as to why, now that I am a parent what once seemed normal…is no longer.
1. Why don’t you ever answer the phone?
Because the second I pick up the phone, I have a kid materializing out of nowhere asking for help, telling me a story, chewing on my pant leg or desperately needing to lick or touch the phone. If I set the phone down, they all scuttle away like rodents, never to be seen again (well not really) —until I try to make another phone call.
2. Can’t you just bring them with you?
Yes, if you want to…
a) watch us spend fifteen minutes unloading, come inside, unpack, have an epic meltdown because it’s nap time, pack up, load back into the car, and go home only 15 minutes after we’ve arrived.
b) talk to yourself for an hour while I chase my toddler around a coffee shop.
c) be continuously interrupted, because my toddler has to tell you, “Hi,” after every third word you say.
d) All of the above.
3. Why don’t you ever visit anymore?
It’s just SO MUCH EASIER to just stay home—my bubble, prison, circle of safety, insane asylum, whatever the kids are calling it these days. I rely heavily on our schedule and our routine for my sanity, so much that I will get thrown out of whack if we are off by even 10 minutes and the very fabric of the universe will tear into little bits and shreds that will be strewn all over my house just like the ‘cuttings’ my daughter makes daily at preschool.
4. Can’t you just get a sitter?
You say that like I can just run into a babysitter store and pluck one off the shelf. Not only is it amazingly difficult to find a sitter these days, but it’s also difficult to find one who’s smarter than my toddler. Also if there was a sitter that did night duty, she/he would have been hired months ago…so that I could avoid the current mombie-fog that I live in.
5. You’re so different these days.
It’s called ‘I-haven’t-slept-in- a-year’ and this is just my face now.
6. Why don’t we ever hang out like we used to?
Because I have kids, and they won’t let me.
7. What’s so hard about kids that your entire social life has become this complicated thing that requires me to make an appointment to see you?
Parenting is a lot like walking and talking while rubbing your stomach and patting your head. Only instead of it being your head, you are trying to pat a child’s head, who also happens to be running after the cat with a pair of safety scissors. Also, you’re holding snacks, dirty diapers, four Sippy cups, possibly another child, and a phone that won’t quit ringing because you won’t stop calling.
8. Can I come over when your kids are napping?
No. 90% of parenting toddlers is dreaming of being alone.
9. What do you mean 7 p.m. is too late to go out?
7 p.m. is bedtime in my house. It is also the beginning of my quiet time. I do not wish to spend my quiet time at a bar or restaurant. I already ate off my children’s plates at 5 p.m., and I want to lie on the couch with my husband and watch TV until my eyes glaze over, doing absolutely nothing but marvel at the fact that I do not need to be doing anything—before I have to do it all over again tomorrow.
10. Call me back in 10 minutes, OK?
If by “10 minutes” you mean in 5 to 12 weeks…possibly. Depends on how close to 7 p.m. it is and if my kids hear me pick up my phone.
So, for all my friends with kids, I’m sorry I was such a jackass back then. To all my friends with no kids, who constantly ask me the questions above, consider yourself answered. I’ll call you in “10 minutes.”