Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Who's Busier War?

So, Mother Talkers, had an interesting discussion going on over the weekend about this letter to columnist Carolyn Hax in the Washington Post. It's from a woman who doesn't have children and she's questioning the validity a mother friend's daily caretaking routine.


Can I say that again?


OK. First of all, what kind of a friend would spend more time researching what SAHMs do all day instead of asking how she can help? What kind of a friend would seriously question how a mother spends her day taking care of one or more children?

Not a very good one. But, there is a great divide among mothers and non-mothers. It might even be more bitter than the so-called Mommy Wars. Let's call this the Who's Busier War.

Ask any mother and she'll have a story -- maybe more -- about how her childless female friends let her down either while trying to get pregnant, while being pregnant or, most certainly, after having her baby.

In defense of childless women, mothers need to make more of an effort to demonstrate the challenges of motherhood. Since I was nearly last in my circle of friends to be with child, I could have used a little more enlightenment on the struggles I would face with the loss of life as I knew it. I'm not talking about going out to restaurants or to concerts; I'm talking about going to the bathroom when you really, really have to go and having to take five to 10 minutes to allow for that to happen, peacefully.

In fact, if I had any childless friends left who wanted to spend time with me -- and I do not -- I would have them over three times a day, to start.

First shift: She'd help me change both diapers and dress them. I'd let her carry them both downstairs, where they will whine and get into everything until I finish making their breakfast and snap them into their booster seats. This, of course, is after a handful of stops and starts to help rescue J's toy from L, again, or to help L back up after she slid on the floor and cried about it. At least one violent outburst is bound to happen at this time. While they eat, I will nibble on their leftovers -- sometimes this means sandwich crusts -- because there was just not enough time to throw anything for myself together making the meal and, afterward, I know I'll be too dang tired. Coffee shall suffice.

Second shift: Sista would help me, again, right before lunch. First, she'll need to help me keep them both from eating bugs and unknown varieties of plants while playing in the yard and then help me wrangle them both -- after a couple circles of the perimeter -- to get them back in the house for lunch, where they will proceed to do everything they did before breakfast. See above.

Third Shift: Finally, I'd have her back over about an hour before dinner. This might be the best time. They are definitely more tired, more silly and more rambunctious. They scream louder, fight harder and share less so my refereeing skills are on high alert. Nonetheless, we still spend some time outside, so see above, and then we'll return back in the house, see First Shift, again.

The great part of the day will be when I get to invite her back the next day, and the next day, and the next day ... etc. She will really need to do this daily for at least a week to fully understand the heroic efforts of her mother-friend as she attempts to raise a couple human beings.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Just make sure you deprive her of sleep for a few years ahead of time too. Give her, oh, I don't know, five hours total a night in 2 hour intervals for about 700 nights in a row... Just to make sure theoretical single friend is on top of her game. ;)

Shawn said...

oh, you're right MPJ, I totally forgot about trying to function on little to none sleep. Perhaps I'll have her come over after a long night of partying.