Prior to becoming a parent, I was an asshole.
I just didn’t know I was an asshole until I became a parent and started interacting with other assholes.
I thought kids were incredibly annoying. I mean, some of them are, but back then, I thought all of them were. In high school, I felt very strongly about never having kids, yet here I am with three kids four and under. I remember I used to tell people I was never going to get married and never going to have kids. I actually remember saying, “I don’t want to have to deal with taking care of other people. That’s not my thing. I kind of just want to take care of myself.”
See? I told you I was an asshole.
Now, I’m being facetious. Kids aren’t for everyone, and it’s a completely valid and normal choice if a person decides against having kids. I just used to be a little shithead who was so self-absorbed in her own trivial little life that the mere thought of actually having to take twenty minutes away from staring into the mirror and ironing my hair with my mom’s clothes iron was too much to even fathom.
Yes, I used to iron my hair with a clothes iron. For those who are curious, it’s an extremely effective way to iron your hair, as long as you don’t completely sear your forehead. Not that I know anything about that. Let’s just say I had to part my hair differently for a few weeks while that healed.
Now that I have kids of my own, I look at other people who are not very tolerant of kids, and I have very mixed feelings toward them. If they’re young, I tend to remember my days of being young and self-absorbed, and I can relate to their disdain of small children. Small children tend to be loud, messy, attention-seeking, brutally honest, and also tend to lose their shit at the drop of a hat. Kind of like a Kardashian. I can see why someone wouldn’t want to be around that for very long, particularly if their experience with small children is limited. However, when it’s older people, I feel a little less sympathy, because you should be more mature, and understand that children are only this way for a short amount of time, even though it may feel like twenty seven eternities as your toddler flings himself onto the floor at the grocery store and screams until his face turns purple.
Recently, we were at a restaurant and there was a group of women in their 30s who kept giving me the most blatant and obnoxious side-eye because Mallory was being loud. I was doing my best to entertain her and keep her quiet, but there’s only so much that can be done in that type of situation before you realize that you’re just going to be the parent of that one screaming baby. I realize that these women were probably staring because, hello? I wasn’t doing a very good job of reasonably explaining that restaurants are quiet zones to a fifteen month old. I mean, come on. She should be able to process that information. She should be able to do her own taxes and make her own lunch before she hops into her Little Tykes car and goes off to work in the morning, too, right?
Or when this woman’s eyes were glued on us in utter disbelief, while we were at Publix and Leland was having a meltdown over an eight dollar plastic dinosaur that was regrettably not coming home with us unless he was marked down by about seven dollars and fifty cents. I mean, come on, Leland. Hold it together. You’re three entire years old. You should be able to completely and totally process the emotions associated with feeling incredibly let down, and feeling like your entire little world is encompassed in the four cents worth of plastic used to mold that crappy little dinosaur, slipping right out of your hands. Don’t throw yourself on the floor. Shake it off and move on. You are a full thirty six months old. Move on and suck it up. Stop being such a baby. I mean, you’re totally a toddler now. Jesus.
I’ll never forget when Carl was about two and a half years old, and he kept flinging his sippy cup at the deli at Publix. I finally picked it up and put it away in my purse, and he proceeded to flip his shit. Screaming, crying, tearing at my clothes, the whole nine. This childless woman who was also waiting at the deli had the audacity to say, “well, I guess now I know why I don’t have any kids!”
Holy shit! What a helpful and insightful response, lady! You must be a member of Mensa. I, too, realize why you don’t have any kids, as well. Because you’re probably horrifically afraid of passing the asshole gene on to another human being. Yeah, I totally understand why you’d probably stay celibate simply out of fear of creating another human being who’d say something as completely dense and ridiculous as what just came flying out of the vapid hole in your face.
So, next time you see a haggard, tired looking woman whose kids are running circles around her and being totally obnoxious, think twice before judging. She’s probably just doing her very best, even if it might not look that way. After all, how would you look if you were in the company of a bunch of Kardashians all day? Look at poor Bruce Jenner.