“I’ll see you tomorrow at Jake’s birthday,” I casually commented to one of the moms after preschool last Friday. “Oh, I can’t be bothered to rush to the toy store to buy some stupid piece of plastic for a kid I hardly know and then plan my whole Saturday around another birthday party, so we’re not going,” was her unapologetic response.
Record screeching noise
Me: “You mean, you can just say no?!”
When did it become mandatory to say yes to everything? And I’m not just talking three birthday parties per weekend and our frenemy’s Bachelorette party in Vegas. Someone asks you to plan a bake sale for your kid’s gymnastics field trip, and you say yes! An old colleague asks you to help organize a cancer fundraiser. No problem! A friend of a friend is having a jewelry shopping party at her house at 8pm on a Sunday. You’ll be there! Your couple friends need a babysitter so they can do a weekend away for their sixth anniversary. Love to help! Never mind that you’re nine months pregnant/ working full time for free at a startup/ not sleeping because your own kid is teething… YES! YES! A thousand times YES!
We live in a time when being busy is a badge of honor. The more we’re doing, the more we feel part of the action, is that the reason? Maybe it’s FOMO or martyrdom or the fact that every other mom seems to be doing it all, and they’ll probably talk about us if we aren’t – (confession: more than once I’ve gossiped about the stay-at-home mom who has two kids in fulltime school and doesn’t seem to help out when all of the others do. I’m slapping myself on the wrist as I type this…) And yet the only thing moms complain about more than being soooo tired, is being soooo busy. So why do we do this to ourselves? In what universe does putting everyone’s needs ahead of our own make sense? And whose idea was it to invite the entire kindergarten class to every birthday party? Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’d feel awful if my kid was left off an invite list or if we forgot to include someone. But to feel guilty because we can’t (read: don’t want to) go is something I’m going to work on. (And please, please parents, don’t make us bring more plastic shit to shower your kids with at this annoying party. Ask for 2 bucks in a card and go buy your kid something he actually wants. Or better yet, have him pick a charity to donate it to… Trust me, it’s a game-changer). **Quick disclaimer here: If there’s a kid who’s having a hard time making friends or is socially awkward or being bullied, please go to his party. Skip the bully’s party.
Of course I’ll help when I can when it comes to supporting other mamas. I’ll drop off a quinoa salad after your c-section, I’ll host extra play-dates during your busy time at work, I’ll buy whatever cruelty-free beauty products you’re hawking if they will in fact make me look younger and/ or thinner. But I’ll do it because I want to, not because I have to. And if I decide to stay home instead of going for drinks with the gossipy moms from my daughter’s ballet class, please don’t hold it against me. I call it JOMO – the joy of missing out. You should try it!