The Mommy Trenches: The Royal Federation of Procreation

“Yeah,” she said, “I hate it when people have babies and suddenly their only friends are other people who have kids.”

This is a line I’ve heard often. There’s this attitude amongst the young unmarrieds at my local church that the “Holy Grail of Belonging” is popping out the babies.

I can remember being on the other side of that debate ─ being the one who felt like no one would give me the time of day until I had baby to chest, and another five inches of fat around my waist. It was irritating to never be invited over for dinner, to never go along on the outings, and to be relegated to the bleachers with the other ‘younglings.’ When I got married, I now had to sit through speech after speech about how I, “wouldn’t understand” until I’d procreated for myself. I can remember being bitter. I can remember complaining.

And then I got around to procreating, and suddenly I understood the ‘Parents Only’ Club. It’s not about feeling superior. If anything, it’s about self-doubt. Because small children are like little time-bombs ─ eensy weensy poo-and vomit-filled grenades ─ just waiting for a reason to explode.

If you’re still breastfeeding, every time you leave the house, you’re wondering when the baby will start screaming to be fed and what kind of looks people will give you when you pop it out to feed the baby.

Photo: Expecting by Lydia Selk

Photo: "Expecting" by Lydia Selk

(Will the company you’re with be the kind who actually believe you ought to feed your baby on a toilet in the bathroom, rather than subject them to the fact that your breasts are being used for their natural function?)

And once the kids are older, and upright and talking, you worry about what people will think when your three-year-old still eats spaghetti with her hands, or when your two-year-old’s attempt to say “trucker” sounds like something unmentionable.

Parenting in today’s cultural climate feels like parenting inside the Hadron Collider. And that’s why new parents just feel less vulnerable when they are parenting around people who are experiencing the same thing.

After all, how many people who’ve never been around kids will understand the ten-minute conversation I have to have with my son every time he poops his pants? When he tells me “Spider-man did it,” and I have to insist over and again that he, and not Spider-man is in fact responsible for the poop, and he needs to tell Mom that he has to go, rather than try to hide it? How many people who don’t have kids of their own would understand the need to listen, without laughing or trying to move the conversation along, to the entire plot of the latest Barbie movie as recited by a four-year-old, who keeps pronouncing “horse” like “whore”?

So, it’s not that having kids is the ‘Holy Grail of Belonging,’ it’s just the simple fact that having children really does change everything. Gone are the three-hour meals around which the conversation centers on the latest books and movies. Gone are the days when I could go an entire day without conversing about bowel movements. Gone are the days when I could invite guests over, and feel I could focus on them fully, not with one eye on my offspring.

So, young lady with the purple hat ─ it’s not that I’m trying to exclude you, or think that I’m better than you because I have children. We really do belong to two different worlds. But, if you want to hear my son talk about Spider-man pooping in his pants, or watch my daughter’s imitation of the Nutcracker Ballet, you’re welcome to do so. But when my son decides to lunge across the table to hug you with spaghetti on his hands, and my daughter accidentally spills her ice cream on your new jeans, just remember that you wanted to be part of this world.


This month’s “The Mommy Trenches” is written by staff writer and mother of two, Lindsey Kay, filling in for our regular columnist, Grace Bon, who’s taking a well-deserved break. We Mommys sure do stick together!

Last 5 posts by Grace Bon

Last 5 posts by Grace Bon