Monday, August 11, 2008

Talk to me.

There are few topics as polarizing for those of us who don't have children as the topic of children. Let me shuffle back a few steps. After my first BFN and then my miscarriage, the topics of pregnancy and babies chafed. Justifiably so, I contend. Later, after a bit of time and some pretty darn good counseling, the topics don't bother me. Pregnant bellies and bumps and registrations for baby gifts don't bother me. Baby showers do bother me, but they always have, as have wedding showers. Thirty plus year old women are not meant to play pin the penis on the groom. I'm happy to talk about friends' and relatives' children, schools and such. I'll talk about nannies and preschool and the silly, funny child-like antics of child-people. I'll even endure insensitive fertility comments from those who should know better. But what really gets me are those folks who can't talk about anything other than their children. Those folks who aren't anything else.

I was at a work event the other day and spouses were invited. Several of my male colleagues brought their female spouses. I introduced myself to the wives and the discussion inevitably centered around children. Nannies, preschools, summer camps, teachers, funny child-like antics of child-people. And it never left. Not once. Any discussion of other interests quickly circled back to children and all topics causally related to children. I said my "nice to meet you's" and moved on. I wasn't uncomfortable or jealous, just bored. Certainly, an important part of friendships and social get togethers are finding common ground and interests, updating folks on your life...but at some point, hell, let's move on.

No doubt, having children changes your life, makes it different, fuller maybe, more complicated sure. I also know that serious life events, like children, deserve a fair amount of discussion. But I also know, with every thing that I am, that there's more to life than children. I say this as a person who wants a child and who will try again for a child, but who values even more than that who she is and how far she's come. And, for me, how astoundingly important it is to continue to have my own interests and pursuits. If anything, these many child centric discussions lately have made me thank my lucky stars for those women in my life who, lovely as their children may be, also like to dish a little dirt about their boss, share a perfect cabernet and hit a little white ball in a forward direction (god willing) on some well manicured grass. Not necessarily in that order.

12 comments:

luna said...

yes. how frustrating that is.

I like to think I am more than my infertility, and so I will not be defined solely by my child, if that day should ever come.

glad to see you haven't lost yourself.

loribeth said...

Amen, sister, amen. : )

Denise said...

Please shoot me if I ever turn into one of THOSE women. Seriously.

Io said...

I will always love sharing a perfect cabernet. Hell, I'll share an imperfect one. (Yeah, shoot me too if I ever become that person.)(Heh! My word verification is "iooed!" You have been Io-ed!)

Joonie said...

I so completely agree with you. I have always felt that way and IF hasn't changed that a bit!

Shinejil said...

Here, here! Women who disappear completely into their Mommyshell are so dull and downright depressing to talk to. One man's poison is another man's meat, I guess.

I mean, the world is so damn interesting in general. Nannies and summer camps, uh, not so much...

TABI said...

Totally agree! I don't know how many family gatherings where I have to interject and break the conversation from the obsession with their children just to talk about maybe something interesting someone has read or done that has nothing to do with diapers and picking schools. I hope I don't disappear like that if I have a kid. Also, I will not put of photo of my child as my profile picture on facebook. I am a separate person from my child and my husband!

Rebecca said...

agreed...points well made!

Rebeccah said...

Yup, I'm with you on this one.

I've always believed that moms who keep their personal interests and let their kids know they have a life outside of their kids are more likely to end up with well-rounded better-adjusted kids, as opposed to self-obsessed spoiled brats. Or at least that's my theory today!

S said...

I'm with ya on this one!!! I can't stand it when people only want to talk about their kids! I mean one or two comments I can deal with but not an entire conversation!

Carrie said...

There is nothing as boring as someone who just goes on and on and on and on about their child. Every topic is somehow twisted to bring in a child story. I think it is actually rude. I also hate the nodding and smiling as the story is being relayed. I refuse to do the nodding and smiling. On principal.

WaterBishop said...

Bring on the cabernet.
I run into that at family events every time. Although something amazing happened. After a couple years of this, Some of the moms got bored with their own prattle and eventually started seeking me out for better conversation.
There is hope.