Why people with kids say no
I didn’t get it. I didn’t get it at all before I had kids. Why my friends in law school would cancel. Why they would show up late, not dressed for the occasion, why they would leave early, why they would say no.
No, I can’t come for brunch. No, I can’t come for late studying. No, I can’t come back to work on that binder review.
I mean, I thought I got it. I babysat for a number of them. They had kids so that meant they were busy and had to worry about things like pediatric dentistry and kindergarten round up or maybe diaper rash.
But I didn’t really get it. I didn’t know what it looked like to have a minivan full of small children after a long day of classes and the forecast of all night homework. And their husband was working evening shifts. And they missed a meeting we had scheduled.
I didn’t get that when their wife just had a baby, maybe her infection would mean trips back to the hospital and no sleep and crying parents + baby. And therefore law review work wasn’t done.
I didn’t get that enthusiasm for community events would be stamped out when their wailing shrieking no-napped toddlers has slammed their fingers in the coolers two too many times and I would be left to cleanup without some of the crew.
I thought that they chose to have a family and make commitments to me, their studies, their whatever and therefore they just needed to do it all. I stayed up late all the time in law school, doing my version of it all. I thought some people (not you!) were just unreliable and flakey and parenting was a cover up for that. How awful was I?
Fast forward to when I actually started having kids. I had no clue that when this happened and I tried to still interact with friends and family without kids as though I were a normal adult, I would appear to be just as flakey.
Canceling because I’ve had a day of throwing up as a pregnant mom of two and my husband is coming home after dinner time and I can’t pull it all together.
Canceling because I have a new baby and can’t leave him because he needs to nurse but he also screams in the car so leaving the house in the evening feels impossible.
Canceling because my postpartum healing is taking longer than I thought and I need to just lay down and not go anywhere.
Canceling because I’ve been traveling and my older kids haven’t seen me in a week and we need to gather the wagons and just reconnect.
The constant fluidity of the life of parents of young children is humbling. I seemed to have a decent handle on it with two kids, but since almost two years ago now, being pregnant with my third, I’ve had to grit my teeth and turn down plans, fantastic trips, spending time with people I would love to see, projects I would die to do, and put my health and my family’s first.
I hate saying “no” and I hate canceling. But I really truly get it now. And I apologize to the universe for not getting it before. And to anyone I was impatient with before I had my own brood.