We spend about one weekend a month with our friends who live downstate, and while the country life is so not for us we love the change of pace once in awhile. It’s quiet there, mellow, and visits to their house are often filled with great cooking and fun crafts. This time, however, I kind of wish we hadn’t come.
Our mutual friend and his wife decided to drop by with their three rambunctious kids — the manic twins and their alpha dog older sister. They were loud, they tortured the dogs (unintentionally — they called it playing), they ran around and completely changed the energy of the house. Our quiet weekend sanctuary was instantly transformed into a den of chaos.
The mother of these youngins (Momma) and I have never gotten along. She’s one of those super-judgmental moms who brands me “childhater” and inhuman because I don’t want children. I’m a bad influence on friends who have come out as childfree or settled upon a childfree lifestyle after me, and a bad person in general. I think she’s judgmental and mean, treats her husband like a slave who can do nothing right (he’s got his flaws too, of course) and I really am not fond of her. The kids are fine, just hyperactive, and that’s only exacerbated by the fact that we were down there to RELAX.
Because she’s hypersensitive to any signals I might send that confirm her opinion of me as a childhater, it of course bode well for me when all the chaotic energy and shrill noise left me with a massive headache not an hour after the group arrived. To her credit, Momma did try to keep the kids out of the room where I slept it off and sent them outside to play. When I woke up after the meds began working and went to join her and my friend in the other room, though, she retreated. While we hung out in the dining room, she sat knitting on the sofa and watched her kids play in the other room, isolated from us childless ladies. Momma and my friend used to be very close until my friend was diagnosed with cervical almost-cancer and decided after her surgery that while they may want to adopt in a few years, a natural birth might not be the best way to go. As far as Momma was concerned my friend had changed fundamentally and their relationship immediately began going downhill, as had happened with other friends who decided to put off children for awhile. It’s a pattern.
I feel sorry for Momma. Because she fails to realize that women are still women when they are not mothers, that we are worth being friends with even when we don’t have kids in common, she loses out on friendship and affection and has become a bitter, bitter woman. And while I’ve hoped over the years that she would warm up by knowing us, and knowing that my husband and I are good people, I’ve given up on that. We now merely coexist when stuck in situations with each other, and that’s okay with me. That said, if I hear that the whole family’s coming for gaming weekend in the future, I will respectfully bow out. Between the kids' energy and the stress of a strained relationship, that's not my idea of a relaxing weekend.