The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Sunday, April 03, 2011

It's Not Like I'm A Defective

Posted by Seeking Solace |

Last night, Husband and I went to a cookout a neighbor's house. It was nice because we really wanted to get to know the people in our neighborhood.

One of the things I hate about going to get-together where I don't really know anyone is that I often feel like I don't fit in with those around me. Whenever I am around a group of women, I feel like that preverbal square peg in a round hole.

And, like setting a digital watch, all the women were engaged with their kids, or talking about their kids or talking about the kid that is on the way. Even some of the men were engaged in the endless conversation of breast pumps, childcare and poop.

But, that wasn't all. As I scanned the food selection, everything except a few appetizers contained meat. Even the shrimp, which I still eat, was mixed with sausage. I won't eat seafood if it is mixed with meat (It's an OCD thing).

Sigh, At least no one stated talking about religion, which would have probably sent me running for the door.

Isn't there any place for the child-free by choice, pescatarian, agnostic in the world?

To be fair, everyone was very nice. No one asked me questions about our lack of children or my food choices. In fact, the hostess had some Boca Burgers in the freezer and had her husband cook a couple for me (To which I thanked her profusely).

I pretty much focused on the basketball game, which I had a vested interest in because two of my final four picks were still in the hunt. But, trying to watch the game while listening to people talk incessantly about their kids and play with their kids without engaging with me, kind of makes one feel invisible.

Of course, I tried to engage with them. It's not like I don't care about kids. I have nieces, nephews and godchildren. I can talk about them and tell cute stories too. But after a while, it gets boring. There is a world out there which interesting things going on around us. But it seems like the conversation reverts back to children. And, then comes the awkward silence because I can't converse at that level.

It's sad too because I just don't see myself having a real relationship with any of the women in my neighborhood. Quite honestly, it's probably why I have such a small circle of female friends. My female friends are either child-free or if they have children, they maintain a healthy balance of a life with children and a life outside of being a mommy.  It seems these women are just consumed with being a mommy, which is fine for them.

And before any of you suggest, yes, I am looking for activities and places where I can find people with similar interests as my own.  I suppose we all have some need or sense that we belong.

I mean, it's not like I'm a defective or anything.


Geeka said...

I know exactly how you feel. It's a little bit less now because I'm divorced. I end up talking about the animals, in which I feel like the crazy cat lady, or I go hang out with the guys, which, only works out sometimes.

I also never really had interactions with children over my life, my brother is 7 yrs younger than me, so that's a big gap, but I didn't have close cousins, or neighbors w/ kids. So, when I do have to interact w/ kids, I have no idea what to do.

Not to mention, that I can't handle when women decide to give up on their lives and suddenly are only defined by their children. They turn into Mom-Zombies. I've seen brilliant women who should have been doctors and engineers accidentally get pregnant, and now they can't do anything not kid related. Yes, I understand that you are now responsible for another life, but should that come at expense of you and your personality/intelligence?

I don't think either lifestyle is 'right' generally, I think it's 'right' on a single person basis. My viewpoint is that if I'm truly supposed to have kids, they'll find me. I'd much rather save someone who needs it, than to bring someone into the world, just because they have genetic similarity to me.

So, I feel your pain. It's totally unfair that we are made to feel like we are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie, you aren't a defective -- I don't have kids either.. kind of a not fighting biology thing -- so, less of an actual choice than not fighting mother nature.

I'd suggest getting involved with some GLBT groups -- many lesbians don't have kids -- It took me a while to see that I had lots of lesbian friends because we had a lot in common.

Too bad you're so far away, you could join the BFF and I for coffee any time... we're fun and don't talk much about poop or breast pumps...

Seeking Solace said...

Geeka: I totally agree. I usually hang out with the guys because I can speak their language on many levels. But after a while, one wants to talk "girl stuff".

I do hate to see brilliant minds suffocated. These are the same women who have a difficult time functioning once the child becomes an adult. I often hear women say "What do I do now?" It's really sad.

I agree. It's not a "one size fits all" thing. People do what works for them. It just sucks that those of us who make different choices end up feeling alone.

Seeking Solace said...

ITPF: I would love to join you and BFF. We would have a blast. :)

Kendra said...

Come hang out with me! I'm also a pescatarian, child-free atheist. I know exactly how you feel. It's taken me ages to find even a few friends who are similar and understand. Keep trying....we're out there.

Rebecca said...

Strangely enough, my sister and I kind of ran into this even though we had kids. Maybe it was because we were single parents for a long time, but although we could trade baby and kid stories, our lives were not quite so domestic centric. Plus, I'm just not very domestic period, so my interests were always focused in other directions.

Also, my daughter just came back from visiting an old friend in Florida, who is a bit older than she is, and said she felt like that girl was caught in a time warp. Although the friend has 3 kids, she also handles all of the business side of her husband's landscaping company, so it's not like her entire life is wrapped up in her kids.

Still, 3 kids will take up a lot of your time, and hers do so. But she says, between the kids and the business, she just doesn't have time to keep up with new developments outside her immediate world. When a group of the old friends got together, this young woman sometimes didn't even know what they were talking about. She had no idea what an "app" was.

For those of us who have them, kids are naturally a huge important part of our lives. But if we aren't aware of, and involved in, other interesting areas of the vast outside world, then we are doing our children a disservice.

Still, next time you end up at a neighborhood get together, maybe you'll feel more comfortable about guiding the conversation. It's possible that those women are willing and able to discuss other things coherently, if someone just introduces the right topics.

In any case, you certainly are not a defective. But I know exactly what you're talking about. I was almost always the only single parent amongst my daughters' friends. And that's a whole different lifestyle than married with children.

Dr. Brazen Hussy said...

In these situations, we like telling stories about our dogs in which we compare their children to our dogs. Some people get offended... but they're not our kind of people anyway. :)

Anonymous said...

You are speaking my language SS!
I am also tired of this kid centric society.

Keep looking SS, there are people like you and me out there.


Anonymous said...

LOL we start talking about our dogs too! I had kids -- they're grown now. But I didn't like spending adult time talking about kids. I was an early childhood teacher too -- I guess I had my fill of kids on a daily basis and like adult time without talking about kids.

I refuse to go anywhere when I think people may be talking about politics or religion. Interesting that I'm an agnostic and a staunch conservative.

As for food choices -- to each his/her own. I've always been a carnivore myself but if I knew a guest was not into that, I had alternate choices on the menu.

Now I'm diabetic so I eat even more meat and lots of veggies -- can't eat starches or fruit or sweets.

If we go somewhere and I figure there won't be much for me to eat. I stuff myself before we go! LOL My SIL is all into gluten free but unfortunately that's high carb most of the time. So I can't eat anything at her house except for salad -- which thankfully she's really into. Even her meat meals have all kinds of gooey carby stuff on it or in it.

We love grilled veggies and that's always on our menu along with salad :-) You can come to my house anytime.

Oh what was your final four team? Mine was VCU -- they lost to Butler.

TiredProf said...

Same story here: dogs, instead of kids. I always felt like the odd duck in social situations early in our marriage (especially because we lived in a super-kid/family-centered part of the West, where folks would ask you why you didn't have kids yet).

At this point, we just note that we are "empty nesters" and don't go into details. Still, I don't have a huge group of female friends. Somehow I manage...