(originally from December 2007)
In the last year or two I’ve really noticed a big difference between those with kids and those without. For instance, say Halloween is coming: those without kids are talking about maybe getting plastered and calling it good, while those with kids are talking about trick or treating and costumes and all the fun things. It’s like once you hit mid-twenties those without kids become this weird, ostracized group, and the older I get the more I notice it. I imagine those who not only don’t have kids but aren’t married have a worse time of it than we who are just married without children do.
But it’s that way on all the holidays. Christmas’s main appeal is the children: seeing their little faces all aglow when they open their presents, telling them about Santa Claus, making cookies and all that crap which those without kids have nothing to do with. Sure, a lot of the childless have nieces and nephews, but what about those of us who don’t even have that? The closest thing I have is I see my step-mother-in-laws grand kids three times a year at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sure, on previous occasions I have stuck my nose into the middle of friends’ families but it’s just an honorary pass to the parenthood club’s meetings without any of the real club benefits.
I dunno. It’s just a very different life not having kids. Other people are talking about potty training and you’re talking about the last video game you played. They’re bragging about Mary Sue who can already read in kindergarten and all you’ve got is the movie you saw last weekend. It really leaves one having more in common with the teenagers or the 20 year olds than with their own peer group because the peers have kid stories and all they’ve got are anecdotes about their cats.
And no one does it on purpose. It’s no like those with kids are talking about it to try to woo you into the herd. They’re just talking about their lives and having children is a huge part of a person’s life, but by the same token it really leaves you hanging there with nothing to say but “Mmmmm.” Which, by the same token doesn’t mean you’re not interested, but when there’s nothing to compare it against what is there to say? It gets dumb when you’re almost 30 and only have, “Oh, when I was a kid….” to contribute to the conversation.
The worse, though, is packs of parents. Yes, they do travel in herds, all diaper bags, baby bottles and extra shoes. Meanwhile you’re standing there, surrounded by amusing tips and hints on how to get little Billy to potty train and get Eleanor to eat her greens and you have absolutely nothing. It’s like for this space in time you have fail to even exist. The running gag is that once you have children you’re not “you” anymore, but instead you’re someone’s mom, but what happens when you’re not even that? Does it make you a complete non-entity?
Sure, sure, there are lots of career mind people who don’t have kids because they don’t really want them. And there are people without kids who are perfectly happy that way, just like there are people who can’t have kids and are dying for them, but the point is we’re all segregated from one another. People who are thirty and without kids are far from the norm – at least in southern Missouri – and so it leaves you as this little island among the sea of diaper buying parents, with no one to take to Santa, no one to force vegetables down and nothing to talk about. I think it’s time we started a childless but happy club. We can gather with our video game books and our movie ticket stubs. It could be fun! And even better? No potty training talk allowed.
Nothing random today…..
Fav song of the moment – Life is Beautiful – Sixx A.M.