Once you become a mother, chances are you will not remember for the life of you what you talked about aside from brands of diapers, rashes, teething, or extra-curricular activities for older children, how much Tylenol to use for a fever, that your children need new socks, and organizing play dates. You will say to yourself, or at least I have, “If I didn’t have this baby, or children, what the HELL would I talk about?”
This isn’t always the case for me, at least with my fiancé. For EXACTLY two minutes a night, my fiancé and I are the most disgusting, mushiest and gushiest parents in the entire planet. Honestly, you’d puke in your mouth if you heard us talk.
Once the baby and other children are in bed, and we’re in bed (FINALLY! ALONE!) I’ll say to him, “Okay, let’s just talk about Holt for two minutes.”
And that’s exactly what we do.
I’ll start by saying, “He is the cutest baby in the entire world. Don’t you think?”
And my fiancé will say, “Yup. And have you noticed that if you rub your nose on his belly he laughs like a maniac? There’s no better sound.”
And then I’ll say, “He can almost walk. He’s a fucking super star!”
And then my fiancé will say, “I know. He can climb the stairs! He’s so strong! Oh, I and I forgot to tell you the other day, this woman stopped me on the street and told me she just wanted to eat him up and said he was the cutest baby she had ever seen!”
And then I’ll say, “Of course he is! Duh!”
And then my fiancé will say, “He can almost throw a ball! He’s amazing,” and I’ll say, “I can just tell he’s much wiser than most 9-month-olds…So, do you want to watch a movie or something?”
And ALL baby talk will stop. My fiancé and I will either watch a movie, go outside and smoke a joint, have sex, or I’ll read and he’ll play on his iPad. All the while we still talk about other things, like work, our dreams, boring-ass chores, friends, and anything else that pops into our brains that has nothing to do with babies or children.
After those two minutes, it’s like we don’t even HAVE kids (He has two children from a previous marriage. I have one. And together my fiancé and I have the aforementioned most-adorable-baby-on-the-planet.) After our two minutes of talking about how fucking cute and brilliant our baby is, we really do spend the next couple hours, before passing out, talking about people or work or anything else that is bugging us.
We laugh. A lot. And not about our children. And, thank god, because, honestly, most of the time when I get together with my family or his family, all we talk about is children, children, children, baby, baby, baby.
Honestly, I can’t for the life of me remember what I talked about with my parents before I had children or what in the world my mother-in-law would call about two times a day before we had a baby. When my mother phones, she asks about the kids and only the kids. ONLY! I don’t get offended that she doesn’t ask about my fiancé or me (at least not anymore because that’s just the way it is.) My fiancé’s mother calls and drops by all the time and she just wants to talk about her “little man.” (a.k.a MY BABY!)
I have friends who once they have babies that’s ALL they talk about. I’m not judging. Really. I totally get it. But even though I AM a mother as well, over the years I’ve learned to hang out with other mothers who also don’t talk about their children too much. I see their photos on Facebook. They see mine. I kind of already know what their kids are up too, as they do mine.
I really love it when I get together with mother friends and we don’t mention kids at all! It really does happen. Shockingly, there ARE other mothers who can manage to not talk about their kids. I’ll come home from a night out with a mother friend of three and I’ll realize that we didn’t talk about children ONCE! (Between the two of us, we have seven children!)
But when I go visit my parents or other in-laws, no one asks anything about anything unless it has to do with the baby. I wish there were an app: “Yes he sleeps through the night,” “Yes, he is crawling.” “No, he doesn’t like to nap,” “Yes, his hair is growing in.” “Yes, he is a handful.” Snore.
But then I’ll think, “Well, THANK GOD I had this baby and my daughter because I’m not really sure what else I’d talk about with you people!” (My family!)
I quite enjoyed a piece by Lindsay Cross the other week, who questioned why/how women talk about balancing their marriage with children. I think Lindsay and I can both agree that we parent in very different styles. One day, I’d like to play “Wife Swap” with her, just because I can tell from her pieces, as I’m sure she can tell from mine, that our lives are completely different and yet, obviously, we have at least one thing in common, which is that we are mothers.
For me, it’s not the line between choosing my fiancé over my children. It’s more of a, “Well, I spend most of their spare time with them, so when they are in bed, add to the fact that most people only ask about my kids, and I ain’t talking about them anymore!”
I swear, I do have other things to talk about, but at family gatherings, especially, no one gives a damn about my work, my thoughts on the news, politics, what movies I’ve seen, or my new haircut. Nada! It’s all talk about “the baby.” I seriously feel like I’m a guest on an all-talk radio station all about kids when I’m at family gatherings.
I think I may enforce the two-minute rule at family gatherings. I’ll just say, “OK, let’s just talk about Holt for two minutes. GO!” But, I’m pretty damn sure that after those two minutes, there will be dead silence. Because, if we’re not talking about the baby, then what the hell will we talk about?