An Open Letter to A Friend

Dear Friend,

I am truly glad that you find such joy in raising your children. I am glad that being a stay-at-home-mom is a good fit for you. I am glad that you enjoy playhouses, scrapbooking about the kids, pre-school graduations, and all of the things moms do. I really am happy for you, I think.

But please understand that I want something different for my life, and I find your life appalling. The big, gaudy jungle gym in your back yard is something I would never want in my yard. The toys strewn around your home are a bit of a disaster. I would never be able to relax with all of the noise in your household and the incessant “mommy mommy mommy!!!” that you have to listen to. Your children are nice enough, but one of them is overly demanding and self-centered and the other one is just plain dull. I don’t know what I would do if I had children of my own like that, or worse.

I would hate the tedium of bath time, meals, and playing with or entertaining the kids. “Momversations” with children are so boring. The things you do (want to do? have to do?) with your children are things with which I would have no patience. Just thinking about it makes me want to tear my hair out.

I don’t think that having children has helped your relationship with your husband, either. I know the two of you have always been in more traditional roles than my husband I and are, but the imbalance seems to have grown greater since you had children. I wouldn’t want my relationship with my spouse to change; it is wonderful as it is. Your “date nights” are bizarre to me, I guess because what you consider to be “date night” is what my husband and I consider to be “every night.”

And you have lost yourself. With your incredible talent, you were on the cusp of an amazing career. I’m glad that you seem happy about giving it up, but I cannot imagine many things in my life that would make me unhappier than to throw away that kind of potential. Instead, everything you say or do is about the kids. Everything. Where did you go?

You probably think I am a horrible person for having these feelings, which is why I generally keep them hidden from the rest of the world. When people like me show our true faces, the world punishes us with nasty comments like, “Well, it’s a good thing that someone like you DOESN’T have children!” I suppose I should not be hurt by such comments because, yes, it IS a good thing that someone who does not embrace children and motherhood does not have children. But the condescending, holier-than-thou tone serves as a painful reminder of all the people who think I am a freak for my feelings and choices.

Still, I would not trade my life with yours for all the money in the world, but I will keep reminding myself that it’s good for you. So please don’t feel sorry for me, and I’ll try not to feel sorry for you.