Intersections – Bun in the ovenNicki Salcedo
I went to two baby showers this month. Two. I need to do a better job of screening my friends.
A lot of people mistakenly believe that just because I have four kids, it means that I like kids. I don’t. Well, I like my own kids. Sometimes l like my nieces and nephews. But generally, I don’t like kids. Or other parents.
I have read one too many articles this week on the child-free revolution. All these rich geniuses who purposely avoid having kids. Wonderful for them. I wouldn’t wish parenthood on my worst enemy. It’s like tasting spoilt milk and having your friend try it.
Some people should not have kids. Not because they are mean jerks, but because parenthood is not for everyone.
I’m one of three girls. A trio of girls is awesome like “Charlie’s Angels” or Laura Ingalls and her sisters on the prairie. I always had to be Carrie. The sister with no lines.
I never wanted to be a mom. I have ten different stories about how I came to be a mom. They are all mostly true.
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When I was twenty, a psychic in Venice Beach, California told me that I would have three sons. I am proof that he was not a psychic at all. I have a son and three daughters. It would have been nice if the psychic had at least prepared me for life as a mother.
I thought that as a tomboy mom, I’d be the perfect mother of boys. I like snakes. I like spiders. I know how to catch fireflies and gently roll rolly-pollies.
When my son was about eighteen months old, he got in the one bathroom cabinet that we keep unlocked. I’d removed the Monistat by then and figured it was safe enough for him to pull out the soap and shampoo and toilet paper. Then he got dangerously quiet. When I found him, he was sitting on the floor with twenty-four unwrapped tampons.
My boy peered into the narrow end. He smiled at me with joy in his face and the tampon string dangling before his eye.
“Mommy, I pirate,” he said.
I stepped over him. I thought of 30 years in the future when he’d make a splendid husband, not at all phased by the sanitary products hiding under the bathroom sink.
“No, honey. You gynecologist,” I said.
When he graduates from medical school, I will tell him this story.
His sister is responsible for all the rocks I wash. She’s nine, but her pockets are always full of granite and quartz. I have pulled out leaves and wood chips out of the dryer.
I’ve had a twenty minute conversation about a stick. The stick that is very special to my child. The stick I will not allow in my house.
I never ever encourage child-free people to have kids. They are better rested. They read more books. They are superior to me.
But their excuses are tired, “I would be a terrible mom.” Newsflash: we are all terrible moms.
“I need time for my career,” another says.
“Me, too,” I say while balancing spinning plates on my head.
We all want the same things. The presence or absence of kids should not be a hindrance to finding satisfaction in life.
At baby showers, I give the same creepy advice in every memory book.
“Trust no one.” Usually some stately matron looks at me unhappily for ruining the sacred baby shower with lines from the X-Files. Then I amend my advice to “There is no try, just do.” Star Wars is just a little more palatable.
There was the one time I hosted a baby shower. The theme was the movie “Alien” starring Sigourney Weaver. The invites had an image of the alien pod opening with the green goo oozing down the sides. The tagline was, “In space, no one can hear you scream. Same for the delivery room.”
We had alien decorations and green streamers and party plates. It was a co-ed baby shower, and the men were happy to attend a gestational celebration sans pink bows and boys in seersucker suits. Parenthood should be fun, not torture.
I’d like for those high intellectual child-free people to admit that they choose not to have kids because it wouldn’t be fun for them. That’s okay. I love that reason. Be thankful that you will never be pooped, peed, and puked on at the same time. Be thankful that your tampons have not been used as a telescope. Parenting isn’t fun for everyone. It is fun for me.
This is my wish for my child bearing friends. To my friends who are expecting. To my friends with new babies. Trust no one, but yourself. However much fun your kids are going to have, make sure that you have a little more.
I will be doing my first ever stage performance as part of Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) Atlanta. This is a national show and movement that will be in 39 cities across the country, all taking place within the two weeks leading up to Mother’s Day. LTYM showcases personal stories and encompasses all aspects of motherhood. Come hear my motherhood story on April 25th 7pm at The Strand Theater in Marietta. For tickets go to http://goo.gl/g9k7rO. For info about LTYM Atlanta: http://listentoyourmothershow.com/atlanta/
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.