A clarification.

I realized after posting the preceding “One & done” post that it may have come across a bit judgy. It probably wasn’t the first and it surely won’t be the last post that will. I have been posting under the presumption of an unspoken disclaimer that goes something like: All content is the sole opinion of the author alone, based on her personal experiences and situation and is in no way reflective of her feelings about how other people should conduct their lives. But now it feels like maybe this should have been a spoken agreement. So now it is.

I’m not the population police, nor the baby buzzkill. If you want to have 5 kids in 5 years, go to town (although I can’t actually imagine you’ll have the time or energy to physically go to town or even leave your house if you’re on that kind of a schedule).

But seriously, I’m not judging you for having or wanting a second or tenth kid. I will however enthusiastically judge you for having ANY number of kids AND also:

  • Bitching non-stop on Facebook about how hectic/tiring/expensive your life is.
  • Not putting aside money for their post-secondary education.
  • Expecting your older kids to help you raise the younger ones (Duggar style).
  • Neglecting or abandoning your once beloved family pet(s).
  • Refusing to vaccinate.
  • Insisting on bringing your kids places they are not welcome (adults only weddings, black tie affairs, Las Vegas) because you can’t afford a sitter. Bonus judgment if you get huffy because these places don’t have kid-friendly amenities.
  • Flooding my newsfeed with 70 photos of the same 2 month old on the same day. (Tip: they all look the same)
  • Letting them run wild in restaurants and fancy stores.
  • Lecturing people without kids on their “empty, selfish, unfulfilling lives”

Did I just make things better or worse? I can never tell these days.

Do I have to?

I realize it’s wayyy too early to even be thinking about this stuff. But really, I always have, so why would it stop when I’m actually going to have to be a parent?

I’m talking about all those things that parents do – or let their little kids do – and all of the things these same parents complain about. Overblown birthday parties for two year olds. Letting your toddler play with (and smash) your phone or iPad. Trailing crumbs and juice spills all over the house. Watching that insufferable little Caillou brat. Listening to Raffi on a steady loop. Leaving a party at 7 pm because it’s baby’s bedtime. Being endlessly interrupted by a three-year old. Taking an hour to put baby down to sleep.

Channeling Carrie Bradshaw here: I can’t help but wonder…do I have to?

Can’t I skip throwing the parties the kid won’t even remember? Can’t a kid be taught that food and drinks are for the kitchen, not the couch, even if the rules are different for mom and dad? Can’t I simply refuse to hand my phone over to a two-year old? Can’t I tell him that Caillou is dead and Raffi is for suckers and make him listen to the Beastie Boys and watch Vanderpump Rules? Can’t I let the kid fall asleep on a pile of coats in a spare bedroom just like we all did when our parents went to parties when we were little? Can’t you teach a three-year old that they can say, “excuse me” when they want something and wait until mom acknowledges them before they speak?

In this moment of all-knowing-I-don’t-have-a-kid-yet wisdom, I think you can. I think I can. And I know it is at least possible, because every once in a while I see a mom who does these things and it looks fine. It looks better than fine, actually, it looks like a mom with non-sticky carpets and her friendships, identity, sanity and phone screen intact. In fact, it looks a lot like my own mom. And that, my friends, is mighty fine indeed.