Leave it to a childfree person to immediately break Mommyish tradition. I’m not going to go all-out and say that being childfree just plain sucks during the holidays, because frankly, I find my cat to be enough of a drag on my selfish, hedonistic, irresponsible lifestyle. In fact, I am so committed to the Cult of Me that I could only come up with 5 reasons, rather than 10, for why being a one-woman operation ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
But five there are, and for all the mothers and mothers-to-be grimacing at the prospect of facing the Winter Holiday Blowout without copious amounts of alcohol, here are some reminders as to how being a mom gives you a few distinct advantages:
1. Sure, you can drink, but do you really want to?
Maybe my reluctance stems from growing up in a big Jewish family, where gatherings are brought to you by Manischewitz and Sam Adams’ He’Brew. Still, I’ve been to a fair number of Gentile-organized events where having enough to pickle the masses necessitated adult beverages that came out of a box or a keg. If you’re a beer and wine snob like me, you may have turned your nose up at these offerings, thus prompting the inevitable squeals of, “OH EM GEE R U PREGGERZ?!?”
2. You get to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Pregnant women and mothers of babies and young children have enough going on and deserve to spend as much time off their feet as possible. But someone’s got to pick up the slack as far as food prep and dishwashing go, and since there are those pesky child labor and elder abuse laws, those tasks are getting designated to the young, able-bodied, usually female lollygaggers, because guys have a football game to watch or something and you’ll need to play at being Martha Stewart anyway because OF COURSE you’ll have a family of your own one day!
3. You’re a captive audience.
When Great-Uncle Billy plops down next to you and starts telling you in detail all about his recent colonoscopy, you’re done for. New mothers can smile politely and excuse themselves with, “Oh, the baby’s hungry!” Mothers of mobile children can always run off with, “Oops, Junior’s putting a peanut-butter sandwich in the Xbox again!” And pregnant women can wince, stand up while keeping their legs as crossed as possible, and say, “Sorry, Uncle Billy! Nature calls!” while scooting in the direction of the bathroom.
But you and your pelvic muscles untarnished by carrying and evacuating a watermelon-sized human being can squeeze your legs tighter and plaster on a smile, because now Great-Uncle Billy’s pulling out his iPhone and hollering for one of his grandkids to come over so he can show you the photographic proof.
4. You’re the go-to babysitter.
Whether there’s an ulterior motive of getting you to realize your too-long-buried natural desires to be a mother or because Junior really did put a peanut-butter sandwich in the Xbox and someone’s got to prevent the other kids from starting World Wars III-VI while Mom extracts it, if you made the mistake of taking a breather from the kitchen or Great-Uncle Billy, you’re going to have a copy of The Cat in the Hat thrust into your hands while multiple balls of Christmas-cookie-fueled comets whiz in orbit around you. And whether you actually do like children or are less-than-neutral on them, you’re going to be sorely tempted to shout, “The Cat in the Hat goes psycho and kills the kids before committing suicide, okay?!” after the 58th reading.
5. The questions.
If you arrive unaccompanied, you get a chorus of, “Are you seeing someone (wink wink)?” If you arrive accompanied by a special friend but no 10-carat diamond ring (because we all know the engagement isn’t real without one!), you get a chorus of, “When are you two lovebirds getting married?” If you arrive accompanied by both significant other and more-significant glittery rock, you get a veritable crescendo of, “When are you gonna have a baby?” If your answer to that last one is, “Never!” you get the not-always-unspoken, “When are you going to change your mind?”
It never ends, but at least there’s always Manischewitz.
This is a reader submission.
(Image: Getty Images)