About a year ago, having moved into our new place, me and my husband graciously and big-heartedly invited a bunch of our friends to progressively, over the weeks, trickled down and grace their presence by checking out our new abode. We were, needless to say, clearly elated.
(Bear in mind that this event transpired many moons ago)
Now, something happened during one of our house parties which has scorched me quite significantly. I have shoved that bad experience as a back burner to the back of my head but felt the urge to write this down to share my despair.
Now before I lurge on my rant, let me preface this by saying, as a childless married woman, I do not abhor mothers, neither do I despise children. I have cousins and many friends who bear kids and I very luckily have a lovely mother, an amazing late grandmother and a group of doting aunties all of whom are mothers with child or children, so I have absolutely nothing against mothers in general. I, too may or may not be a mother myself in the unforeseeable future, therefore this will be a colossal god-forbid-I-don’t-become-one-of-you memo note to self.
So let me tell you what actually transpired this whole chain of events.
One weekend, upon our invite, a particular friend came over with her pack of children and husband. Yeah!!!
We welcomed them warmly. Within minutes, the said friend started unpacking her luggage (operative word being: luggage) of her children’s toys and stationery, strewn all over my living room for her kids to crawl, roll and play with. I am perfectly fine with these, she does have, after all adorable children and as long as they are happy as guests, I as a host could not be any grander.
Shortly after, her kids got bored and started running around the house (as most kids do). She started yelling and chasing her kids around the house, causing them to be more hysterical by the second. In one instance, the said friend got fed up, walked to me in a huff and puffed “You should think about child proofing your house, you have glass tables with sharp edges and it is not safe for kids”
And that my friends, was what perplexed me and boy oh boy, was I not pleased at all.
In my rushing stupor of trying to be a good host, I apologised and brushed it off. This, very sadly, did not happen once but TWICE.. to my face. When she made the same comment on the latter occasion, she got a rise in me, to which I less-than-politely quipped “but we do not have kids yet so why should we child proof our house?”. Her answer appalled me, she replied “oh yeah, but right now, my kids are here and they can knock their head into your table”.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????????
Pardon me for lifting your clearly blinded eyes but never mind about my glass tables, how about all the tiny toys and the little crayons or markers on my floor where your kids could have run, slipped and fall on???
Let me get this straight. So, you want me to child proof my house not as a precautionary measure for the unforeseeable future of us having kids BUT for the sole benefit of YOUR kids only who come over, once in every freaking blue moon.
It left me flabbergasted and I sat thinking -If my house is that perilous and treacherous for your precious children, why did you bother returning knowing we have sharp-edged furniture that your amazing kids will knock into?
And whatever happens to, taking care of your own children instead of being a sour puss to the host. After all, we could have simply excluded you and your precious family out of our invites… very simply.
Does this mean that every single time an elderly comes to visit our house, we have to panic and install a ramp to the bathroom, retiled the floors to make them non slippery and triple-cushioned the bejesus out of every seat in the house because god forbid, they will fall down and die. See, I do not wish to belittle and minute this situation, neither am I trying to be rude but try to reason with me and make me see light of this conundrum.
Just for the record, let me clarify further by saying I do not have atomic bombs, open knife blades, poison bits or mouse traps left callously around the house. While decorating the house, we did not set it out in a purposeful manner that a child will come in, trips and injure him or herself. We may be childless but we are far from being an inhumane or barbaric person.
Let me resume about the said friend and her super-mum antics.
We sat down and have a casual chat about topics like returning to work after maternity leave. Without getting into in-depth details, we (unshockingly) became slightly heated in our discussions. Look, I will never enforce my point of view as being the righteous one, neither will I say her perception is wrong. We are, after all just having a casual chat, one which I was hoping to be a normal one, often made by 2 mature adults who can have a healthy banter while still respecting each other.
However, very very disappointingly, the said friend hastily ended our chat by commenting to me “WELL, YOU WILL NEVER KNOW ANYTHING BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A MOTHER YET”.
No shiet, jose!! Aren’t you a smart woman for stating the obvious.
Not once but in two swooping occasions, had I felt that I was shamed for not child-proofing my own house for her benefit which by the way I painstakingly decorated it myself and might I add is a gorgeous place, I have also been outrightly shamed about having an opinion which I will never know any better because duhh, I have not had a child yet.
My question is, since when it is okay for a woman to shame another woman for having a house that is not safe for YOUR kids and worse, shaming another woman for not having kids yet, therefore un-enabling them to be entitled to their own point of view?
Am I being too sensitive here or was that tone of smugness I detect from her and (most) mothers out there, implicating that since I am childless, I have yet to experience shiet about life.
Needless to say, I have not and has no future desires to invite her and her precious little family over into my “harmful dungeon” of a house. Rest assured that there will never be a place for shallow minded nimwits in my life or my non-child-safe house.
Since when do most women these days (and I reiterate: MOST) felt like they are above and beyond superior to make childless women feel extremely alienating and patronizing? Did I miss this memo and wake up to an era of highly condescending women who thinks and feel that they are all that once they become mothers?
Sure, I understand that as a mother, you worry for the safety of your children but the onus is not on me to ensure your child does not fall down and split his or her head open, kids are kids, they make booboos anywhere and everywhere, therefore trips and falls are inevitable. You of all people should know that.
I come with me a myriad of life, I am not a perky 21 year old teeny bopper, I am a woman in my 30s with a decent education and have gone to work in a dog-eat-dog society for over 12 years. I know how monsters manifest, and I can assure you I am not one them.
Sure, I don’t understand what it is to be a mother..yet but I still can empathize because I am not a completely ignorant heartless woman. I sure do know a thing or two as to how the world goes round. So, don’t you dare walk into my house and make me feel exclusionary and invalidate my arguments? You are not God, don’t act like one.
Never you dare to undermine my womanhood with a statement like “you wouldn’t know it because you don’t have kids yet”, because you will never know the truth if me and my husband are trying to conceive and struggling for one or we have may or may not have fertility problems or we personally just do not wish to be parents. So, if you do not know anything, please do not run your mouth.
I am not sure who will end up reading my rant but if you happen to be a mother particularly a new smug mother, let’s all have a little decency to be courteous in trying to get our opinions across. Before you were bearing kids, you are and still am a woman. So, be a woman who is not only intelligent and courageous, but also be a woman of dignity and supports and uplift fellow women too. Do not bring another sister down.
Try as you might to not project your points of views to anyone as a hormone raging, sleep deprived, love and support lacking newly mother, because here are the sad facts:
(1) I did not ask you to go and have kids and;
(2) I certainly did not ask you for your 2 cents worth of pedantic opinions as to whether or not I should child proof my house in accordance to your needs.
My house, my rules. You are absolutely NOT welcome here any more.
P/S: In my next entry, I will be sharing my experience on toxic friendship and officially closing the doors on someone I used to call a friend after 20 years of friendship. 🙂