As a stay at home mom of 3, I make genuine efforts to connect with my single and/or childless friends somewhat regularly. It reminds me to get out of my Mommy Zone and live the good life; you know, drinking wine out of something other than a Solo cup, putting on pants without a drawstring and speaking in a cadence that doesn’t sound like a nursery rhyme.
No matter how often these friends and I touch bases though, I’m reminded of how our frame of reference is so different. It’s like we’re practically speaking another language. And in these days of cultural sensitivity, I thought it best to help out my hipster buds and translate the lingo of stay at home parents (almost) everywhere. Keep in mind, there might be subtle differences in different habitats (i.e. the Poshius Classyass variety of the ritzy Manhattan tribes might have slightly different sayings than the Soccermum Minivanous of Charlotte, NC) but I think we’re all speaking the same language.
As a matter of fact, these are translations of the four most common phrases to help you communicate with the natives.
“Stop by any time!” If a stay at home parent invites you to their home without a specific date and time, understand that you should in NO WAY come by unannounced. That is, unless you’re close family or a friend accustomed to walking through a minefield of Legos and Doc McStuffins-themed medical equipment. My house…no, let's be honest, the kids’ house…is always a disaster. If you want to keep the idea you have of me in your head (that I’m a hip and happenin,’ get ‘er done all the time mama), text me or email me to set up a play date first. Or better yet, I’ll meet you at a halfway mark between our houses so that I don’t have hide all of my kids’ Tonka Trucks in the coat closet when I see you walking up the driveway.
“Give me a call, we’ll set something up.” Speaking of set ups, I’m sure I can’t be the only mom that groans whenever the phone rings. It’s 2015, with all of the super convenient ways to reach out to someone, an actual phone call needs to be reserved for your weekly call to Grandma, business discussions and outright emergencies. If you’re not on fire, checking in to offer me a contract or under the age of 60, I’d prefer to be reached by text before 8pm. It’s not that I don’t want to hear about your most recent date with the cute hedge fund guy, it’s just that when you’re taking a quick break in your cubicle at 3 in the afternoon to dish, I’m in the middle of nursing the baby, dicing chicken one-handed for dinner and keeping the toddler from smashing the 5 year old’s doll house to pieces. I’d love to hear from you…but much later, when the house is quiet and my wine has kicked in.
“I can’t wait for the weekend!” And while we’re talking about Me Time, I have something to confess. When I say how excited I am for the weekend, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have big plans to hit a movie premiere or bar hop. It means Thank you sweet 8lb baby Jesus, I finally get to defer questions and complaints to the guy whose sperm helped create these little monsters!
My husband’s work schedule is absolutely ridiculous, so though I’m super happy to see him on the weekends, I’m mostly relieved that when I hear a crash followed by two high-pitched squeals, I can simply point to the bathroom and say, “Go tell daddy.” He’ll probably encourage them to have a no holds barred cage match to decide on the argument’s winner, but at least someone else is in the house to clean up the blood.
Oh! And as far as those little minions are concerned: “My kids are insane,” is really only something I can say. When I gripe about the 3 year old pooping on the carpet or the 5 year old telling me how her friend’s mommy dresses nicer than me (and maybe I shouldn’t wear pajamas in the car pool line at school)…yeah, those are complaints that only I can make. You have to live this life to know my pain, homie. You’re not sympathizing with me by saying, “God that sounds awful – I’m never having kids!” Sure my life’s not a bed of roses all the time, but the minions are sweet and they give great Mother’s Day gifts (a macaroni wallet is both functional AND fashionable, after all). Learn to take a joke, the anecdotes about crap (literally) make for more colorful coffee talk.
Kids won’t be the end of your world – unless sleep is important to you.
Bottom line: communication is key, folks. Learn to speak the language, it’ll do everyone a world of good.