Help! I Don’t Want To Be The Mom Who Talks About Her Kids Too Much
Back before I had a kid, I used to block the Facebook updates of anyone who posted too many pictures of their children. “They’re cute; we get it,” I sighed. And so I’ve always tried hard not to be that person on social media. In person, though, I think I might be. If I were to watch myself at parties, bringing up stories about my son at every turn, I would block myself from the conversation. I’ve become the boring mom friend.
This is such a hard habit to break. It begins in pregnancy, when all anyone wants to talk about is that elephant in the room/on your torso. And in the first few months, when your baby is still pretty much an appendage and your every waking hour (all of the hours) is devoted to him. Then, you are expected to begin reentering the rest of the world, where you were once a citizen, where you once had more to offer than breast milk. Even if said breast milk is leaking out of you, and those milkbags are popping out of your too-small shirt still stained with baby snot, you should be at least just a little bit thinking about other things, other people, bigger concepts. You are a person, not a cow, right?
And so, in the one and a half years since I made this reentry, I can still find myself at a wedding, surrounded by childless friends, inserting some story about the kid’s picky eating habits into a chat about wedding cake. It’s not until the middle of a sentence that I realize I’m doing it. It’s like Mommy Tourette’s. Or the in-person equivalent of mommyjacking. That’s why I’m here to proclaim before the world my plan to stop this madness. Here’s what I pledge to do:
1. Read. I’ll fill my RSS feed with non-parenting sources and read the paper every day. I mean no disloyalty to Mommyish, but I think there might be other blogs out there. And when the conversation turns to Ebola, I won’t rant about the germs that get spread in daycare, but about the failure of the international community to respond sooner to the crisis in Africa.
2. Deflect. I tried this out at a party last night — when people asked me about the kid, I answered their questions quickly (probably what they wanted me to do, without then pulling out the phone to show pictures), and then turned the conversation into something about, um, personal computing. Give me a break. I’m still new to this.
3. Ask. When my mind fails to give me new and interesting big topics to discuss, I will turn the responsibility over to others and ask them what’s new.
4. Mom-talk with moms. Here, in my playgroup, on the phone with other mom friends, I’ll get every conversation about diapers out of my system, thereby preventing it to leak out in inappropriate settings.
Friends and strangers, can you help me out with this? Would anyone else like to join me in this mission?