It’s my favorite daily routine: I steal a few moments away from the kids, log on to social media, settle onto the toilet, and spend some time decompressing from the stress of parenting. I like distant family’s pictures, check in with my friends, and share a meme making a joke about how hard it is to raise tiny humans.
Then it happens.
Karen, Sharon, or Sheila, some older woman I’m somehow connected to or related to, comments, “Just hang in there! If you survive your kids and keep them alive, then you get GRANDKIDS! It’s so worth it!”
Is it, though? Is it really, Karen?
Because the threat of more kids doesn’t really appeal to me when I’m wiping poop off the walls and waking up at 5 am on Saturdays.
I’m barely holding on here, ending each day in tears and sweat. Some days I wake up already feeling defeated, but yeah, tell me how babysitting kids that aren’t even mine will be so worth all this once I’m finally done and old.
Tell me more about how you devoted your life to ungrateful hellions and scrubbing pee out of tile grout, only to be rewarded with more pee and hellions you’re don’t even get to make parenting decisions for.
I want to yell daily at my own kids.
I eat Reese’s in my closet and am typing this from the toilet in an attempt to hide from my own offspring. I don’t have any nice clothes that fit, no breakables or heirlooms displayed under four feet in my house, and there are stains that even CSI technicians can’t identify in the upholstery of my van.
There’s nail polish in my carpet, a million due dates and activities on my calendar, and I spend months designing the perfect bedrooms for my kids just for them to worm their way into my bed every night, all sweaty and wanting to touch.
Your promise of future grandchildren is not exactly a carrot I’m lunging for.
Telling me that if I survive this, I get to do it again, but older, is not appealing.
Heck, some days my own kids are barely appealing. Why would I want more to take care of?
I know, I know, you’ve been there, done that, and you’re living your best life on the other side of it now. That’s great, really.
It’s nice to see that there’s hope. But the hope doesn’t come from images of grandkids in my backseat expecting more chocolate than discipline.
Young moms aren’t encouraged by threatening to reward us with the very thing that’s wearing us down.
Instead, show us your feet propped up while you watch a tv show uninterrupted. Show us the date night selfies that didn’t require finding a babysitter.
Post about the vacations you take, the desserts you don’t have to share, and how clean your car is when there aren’t kids setting Cheetos and juice boxes on fire in the backseat.
Show us that there’s life after kids, not more kids after kids.
We don’t want those right now. Someday, sure, I’m positive I’ll enjoy my future grandchildren and I’ll be a pretty awesome granny. But right now I’m struggling to make it through raising my own kids, so let’s cool it with the doilies and hard candies for a bit, mmkay?
Older moms, grandmothers, cool aunts, and Karens – don’t encourage the struggling moms by reminding them about grandchildren.
Don’t remind us of the never-ending cycle of childcare and diapers. Instead, just tell us we’re doing a good job. Tell us you remember how hard it was. Tell us you struggled, too.
And don’t forget those vacation selfies.