Disclaimer: None of these are very good coping strategies.
On Sunday, Husband and I went to a charity alcohol tasting event. Because I am not pregnant, both of us sampled a lot of alcohol, and both of us had to sit in the parked car for an hour after the event because neither of us was sober enough to drive home. We did eventually get home, pass out, and wake up only marginally hung over.
That actually turned out to be the highlight of my Monday. You know your day sucked when getting to work late because you’re hung over is the best part of the day.
2) Wear a Mask
Local Sibling and I met up. Local Sibling is pregnant. Local Sibling proceeded to complain about the physical pains of pregnancy. I nodded sympathetically. Then Local Sibling decided to give some advice:
Pregnancy sucks. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t have kids.-Local Sibling
In fairness to Local Sibling, everyone in offline life, including Local Sibling, thinks the reason we don’t have kids is because we are happily child-free by choice. It’s not a ridiculous assumption. I don’t even necessarily disagree with the “by choice” part. I believe in free will, and I take ownership for the, in some cases, poor choices that led me here. (The reason I do not have children is less the work of G-d punishing me and more the work of me being a fucking idiot who failed to make decisions that would lead to that end point.)
However, “happily child-free” is not true, and I can actually feel my facial expression change from “I care about you, and I’m sorry to hear about your physical ailments” to “Fuck you“.
Fortunately, I am wearing a mask and this hides my facial expression.
3) Buy Gifts That Communicate The Right Message
Later on in the day, I receive the news via email that (now formerly) Pregnant Friend had the baby. Ours is a friendship that started out of convenience (two people of approximately same age/life stage living in the same geographic area) that had just started to transition to actual friendship. I am happy for Said Friend.
However, I refuse to maintain friendships with friends-turned-parents as a matter of principle. Friends-turned-parents expect you to be a pseudo-aunt to their kid, which I refuse to do. I will not play this crappy role so that you can feel better about yourself and pretend like we are still friends. And friends-turned-parents are awful about putting any effort into the friendship. So I refuse to put in effort either.
I am going to provide them a meal as per the communal norm, and I am even considering buying a gift from their baby registry (not the communal norm, but whatever). And then I’m going to end this friendship.
Still, the goodbye message should be “Congratulations! I enjoyed our friendship, which will now come to an end. I wish you well”. It should be a thoughtful gift, not a backhanded slap in the face. But it should be a gift that says “I do not wish to have any relationship with your child.“
4) Make It Awkward
We went to a kiruv (Orthodox Jewish outreach to get Jews to become more observant) event. I don’t remember why I thought this was a good idea, but it was an in-person social event with some Jewish learning, free food and free wine, so it didn’t sound like a truly bad idea.
Kiruv Rabbi gave an informal short talk referencing Torah. I liked the talk and I told him so.
JYP: I enjoyed your talk.
Kiruv Rabbi: Thank you!
Kiruv Rabbi: We just celebrated my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah on Sunday.
JYP: Oh very nice! Mazal tov!
I meant it. A Bar/Bat Mitzvah, when a Jewish child becomes an adult, is a very joyous occasion.
Kiruv Rabbi: *tells some story about when this daughter was born twelve years ago about how his wife is some heavily pregnant superhero hosting Shabbat meal guests while she was in labor*
This story pissed me off on many levels. I didn’t ask about your daughter’s birth story. I hate stories of pregnant superheroes, superhero moms, and superhero Shabbat hostesses. And finally, what kind of asshole tells a potentially not-happily-child-free person, a person who may never have a child, a story about their kid’s birth? Especially after I was kind enough to tell him I liked his talk and congratulate him on his kid’s bat mitzvah.
I deliberately do not give him the response he wants to hear.
JYP: (deliberately ignoring Kiruv Rabbi’s daughter’s birth story) I celebrated my Bat Mitzvah anniversary at my hometown synagogue and I leyned the whole parsha again. It was very nice.
Kiruv Rabbi: That’s a long parsha.
JYP (sweetly): I know. I’m an excellent leyner.
The previously pleasant conversation becomes awkward, and Kiruv Rabbi manages to exit the conversation. A good thing, as Kiruv Rabbi believes women should not be allowed to read from the Torah.
I feel like I ought to feel bad for making the conversation awkward, but I really don’t. Honestly, Kiruv Rabbi started it.
I chose to cope with this already awful week using my go-to maladaptive coping strategy (thanks, Ashley) of daydreaming escapism, and I researched vacation options. I searched for retreats planned by some organization because I can’t deal with the decision-making of planning a trip from scratch.
I found a trip for young professionals organized by another Kiruv group.
JYP: We should go!
Husband: (reads trip details) This is for singles.
(Note: it doesn’t expressly say singles only; Husband has inferred this from the organizers’ language of “Young Professionals“)
JYP: We can pretend to be single.
Husband: That sounds dumb.
JYP (lovingly hugging Husband): I think it would be fun! Holding hands on the bus, making out in the hallways before someone catches us, quickies before our roommates get back… it’ll be like summer camp or something.
Quickies aren’t usually my cup of tea, but I find myself getting turned on by my own idea.
Husband: This trip makes no sense. It’s expensive. We’re married.
At that point, something in my mind kind of snapped. Like if Husband had said something like, “This destination does not interest me”, “This destination is on the CDC Very High Risk List”, or even “Why are we going on a kiruv trip when we aren’t interested in becoming Orthodox” those would have been a reasonable points in opposition. But the idea that we couldn’t go on a trip because it cost money and we’re married really rubbed me the wrong way.
JYP (no longer hugging or loving): That is what meals, programming, and lodging cost. Can you plan an equivalent trip yourself? Would you actually bother to plan an equivalent trip for both of us, or would you just expect me to do it? And yeah, we’re married, which apparently means we don’t get to go on any trips because you have a million restrictions and you always think the cost is unreasonable. So we don’t get to go anywhere, and we don’t have children so we have nothing to look forward to because our lives are pointless and meaningless. I love that we’re saving all this money for the sole purpose of dying and leaving it to the nieces and nephews, since we’re apparently not doing anything with the rest of our lives.
I can’t remember how much of the above I said out loud and how much I was just yelling in my head.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. If I decide to go on the trip, I’ll go by myself. It’ll make pretending to be single more convincing.
This probably goes without saying, but you probably shouldn’t take relationship & marriage advice from this blog. Or any advice from this post.
So yeah, my week sucks. How’s yours going?
I booked a spot on that “singles” trip for myself.
My COVID risk tolerance is such that I am willing to travel basically anywhere that will let me in and do pretty much anything short of an orgy (too much mouth-breathing with strangers, you know?) and I’ve already been to a country that was on the CDC Very High Risk List at the time, so I’m not particularly anxious about COVID. The crime rate statistics for this destination are somewhat troubling, but this seems like a heavily guided group trip.
I’m actually kinda excited that it’s a kiruv trip with a Shabbaton (big communal Shabbat experience, often with special talks and song). It’s funny – I posted that I wasn’t going to keep Shabbat anymore, and then I’ve found myself keeping more of Shabbat than anticipated as more communal Shabbat stuff came back. I mean, I’m not keeping it 100% and I don’t see myself going back to full observance, to be honest. But I still like Shabbat parties.
Anyway, the week has improved somewhat. It feels good to have travel plans.
How was your week?