I know my husband and I can’t be the only ones who do this. As soon as we had a baby, we’d look at couples who were going out on spontaneous dinner dates or jetting off on exotic vacations or even just going to the movies on a Sunday afternoon and say, “Well, sure. They don’t have KIDS.” Of course, we were just jealous.
Not that the miracle of life wasn’t wonderful and all, but gone were the days of impulsive weekend trips to crash at a friend’s beach house and stay out till all hours of the night. We WERE up at all hours of the night, but not partying. It was a rare evening when we could watch an entire DVD without being interrupted for a late-night feeding and/or diaper change.
So then we had another baby. And we would justify the carefree couples going out to concerts or wine tastings or weekends at B&B’s by telling each other, “Well, they only have 1 kid.” One kid’s a BREEZE. You have all the time in the world once s/he’s asleep or with the other parent. It’s easy to find babysitters or family members willing to take 1 kid. It’s almost like being child-free again!
Well you can guess how this goes, right? The justifications keep on coming. “Well, they have FAMILY in town. Of course they can go out any time they feel like it and belong to book clubs and baseball teams and stuff.” Or, “HER husband works from home. So she can schedule doctor’s appointments during naptime and run to the grocery store solo whenever she’s out of milk.”
It can get out of control if you’re not careful. I knew I had to reign it in when I found myself thinking a mom of a delayed walker had it easy. I gave no thought to how concerned she might be about her child’s development or about physical therapy or any of that. No, I was all, “Well, isn’t she lucky not to have to chase after her crazy toddler all day and worry about split lips and skinned knees.” Low. Real low.
I think we do this because we want to justify our lives to OURSELVES. We all want to think we’re working harder than everybody else, that we have it tougher, that no one really knows what it’s like to be in our shoes. And if there are people out there who seem to breeze through life without a care in the world? Well, then, they must have something we don’t. Like a full-time nanny or a housekeeper or a trust fund OR A REALLY EASY BABY WHO NEVER HAS TANTRUMS AND ALWAYS SLEEPS THROUGH THE NIGHT AND DOESN’T JUMP OUT OF HIS CRIB OR STROLLER OR CARSEAT ANY CHANCE HE GETS.
Whew, sorry. That slipped out. Anyway, I’m trying to work on this constant comparing and justifying, because it really doesn’t end up making me feel better. Anyone else do this, too? Got any tips?
READ O’ THE DAY: Speaking of who has it harder, I really enjoyed this funny post on stay-at-home vs. working parents.