Have you ever been in a conversation with a group of women, only to watch the talk turn to motherhood and feel yourself fading into the background?
That’s the topic of this week’s Whiny Wednesday:
Being excluded from conversations because you don’t have children
Big whine for me! I’m excluded all the time from conversations because I don’t have kids. I’m excluded from mommy day outs/girls night outs….I can’t tell you one person I consider a close friend because I’m the only one without kids.
Exactly the way I feel!
dubliner in deutschland says
oh yeah I’ve had that happen a lot. I’ll arrange to meet my friends and then they’ll spend the majority of the time talking about their kids and giving each other advice about related stuff. I can put up with a bit of kid talk for the fist half hour or even hour, but then please ask me about what’s going on in my life! It’s not fun trying to enjoy my lunch when they are talking about things like potty training. That said, not getting invited to things and feeling left out is worse.
First excluded then asked to help in every corner possible to make it nicer for the moms… this is a hard one for me. I’m trying hard to identify those friends who see me for who I am and are willing to meet me on common ground. But I falter and stumble in between times.
Infertile Phoenix says
Yep! I have had many conversations just stop after being asked, “Do you have children?” When I answer, “No,” some people would just turn and walk away. This most commonly happens at my friends’ kids’ birthday parties. But the conversation also excludes me when I’m hanging out with a group of women and I’m the only one who isn’t a mom. Unfortunately, it is also happening when my family gets together. I realized I am the only woman without children, and now I feel a bit awkward around people I’ve known my whole life.
I have stopped putting myself in these situations. At first it felt weird to skip my friends’ events and my family’s functions, but it felt so good after not attending that I will keep it up. I now meet up with people one on one or in small groups, but I just can’t do the big group stuff any more. Too isolating and it takes me days to recover. My mental health is too important.
Man I could learn from you. I have felt the same way at family gatherings and have recently felt really awkward around people I’ve known my whole life. I like your idea of skipping the big parties and instead getting together in smaller groups or one on one. I’m really starting to get it, that my mental health is too important. Now if only my other half would see it too.
That’s a good idea .. working on avoiding those uncomfortable events .. because it really takes me weeks to get over it and recover from all of the commentary and questions
Jennifer Smart says
Happens so often that I begin to wonder if I’m invisible.
I had that happen at certain family get-togethers, and I eventually just cut them out of my life.
Oh Lord YES!!!!! I have been so anti-social lately because of that reason .. they talk back and fourth about motherhood and their children and i’m just sitting their in the background feeling like a mute because i have nothing to offer to benefit the convo .. sigh
Hate to bring bad news, but just wait till these Mommies have grandchildren. The constant talk and pictures take on a whole new level.
So true Jean. I think when there are grandkids, it is so much worse.
Jean this is so true.
As part of my trying to ‘move on and get out there’ strategy I joined some craft groups. The first one quickly became a source of salt in the wound as all the group crafts were baby oriented, and every member was currently raising multiple children, it was baby-baby-baby.
So I found a group of older retirees and asked them to join. I figured there would be grandchildren talk, but also some life talk about other things. It was baby, baby, baby, grandchildren, children and then bullying me about never being a mom.
Couldn’t win either way. I spent the monthly dues on paint for the spare bedroom. Now I craft at home with my pets and watch Netflix. May be anti-social, but at least I’m at peace and not tormented.
Mary Minx says
Totally get that..I am also gettIng facebook phobic because of it..can never win.
plus yeaaaay, I get even excluded by my own mum now who is overjoyed by the grandchildren my sister and her partner’s grown-up children produce.
I can tell you about those Mommies who have grandchildren.
The constant talk and the pictures… thousand of them !! endless conversations, well monologues !!!!!
My story today…
In one of our gather together for coffee, my friends were talking about their children and grandchildren. Of course, I was in silence the whole time.
So one friend asked me:- what do you have to say about that ?
Well… I said, while suddenly another “friend” interrupted me to say: – “what does she have to say… she doesn’t have any children”.
And that hurts. Badly…
I was thinking about forgiving while I was writing my story. First I need to forgive myself for not been able to choose friends more wisely. Then, I need to forgive my friends because they will never be able to walk on my shoes and will never knew about my pain. They just don’t know.
I am praying for all of us !♡♡
I’ve told this story quite often, but here it is again. I used to be into scrapbooking, & attend all-day (8 or 12-hour) “crops” (gatherings where women get together to work on their scrapbook projects). I didn’t know anyone else going, other than the women who worked at the store that organized the event, but I decided to go anyway because I liked having a dedicated chunk of time away from home to work on my stuff. Each table had four women seated at it. The other three women arrived, two of them obviously friends together. We all introduced ourselves, and of course I got asked The Question. After I said I didn’t have any kids, they didn’t say another WORD to me for the rest of the day!! I tried to engage, asked them questions about what they were working on & the products/techniques they were using. They were polite, but they clearly weren’t interested in socializing with me. I’ve never forgotten that.
I’m so sorry you went through that, how awful, it’s just so mean, I’ve felt this same kind of prejudice myself, and it truly does hurt to the core, it really does. Just because you don’t have children doesn’t make it ok for these rude judgemental mothers To treat ppl this way, Sending you hugs
The endless talk about children seems to transcend the normal social etiquette of including others in a conversation. We’ve all gotten carried away maybe taking to a work college, or an old friend about the good old days and excluded those around us from joining in. Usually, though we clue in and then change the subject.
When it comes to children though the expectation is that it’s not rude to talk all day and night about it, and if you don’t have them you can’t comment or have anything worthwhile of value to say. The expectation is to sit there happily silent accepting your lot in life.
The worst is when they all know but then they turn and look at you and either actually say or give the look of, “You’re awfully quiet”…. um, yeah, because I have so much to contribute to this conversation. I actually think that is worse than the room of people who haven’t known me for years and ask about my kids – that sucks but they don’t know any better.
I read that Dr. Seuss and his wife, after years of being childless, came up with an imaginary child that they would talk about so they weren’t left out. I guess no one minded. I don’t think I have the gumption for it.
Infertile Phoenix says
Thank you for sharing that bit about Dr. Suess! I had never heard that before. I just did an internet search and learned they named her Chrysanthemum-Pearl. 🙂
It’s interesting. Our culture is insanely Mommy centered and have felt left out when people who are constantly talking about there kids. People have not gone so far to me to say I don’t have anything to add since I don’t have kids, plus I think I would really tell off, more because I do have value and I would not want a “friend ” to treat me like this. The grandmother phenomenon is just starting to happen with my friends, and it definitely feels like salt I am old wound, and especially whe. They are so over the top. I guess one thing I am grateful for is I have brothers, who don’t really care if I had kids, or my parents were already grandparents , so there was none of that pressure. I think the long and short of it, is people are ignorant due to not having this experience., not necessarily to be nasty. They just don’t get it. Like losing a parent, buying a house or some other lifeexperence they have not had. But I agree with limiting time around people who are not that understanding of chiLdlessness. Hugs and love to all my sisters on this journey.
Actually, there’s already so many other reasons people don’t want to talk to me… I’m weird & artsy & I talk dramatically & I make puppets and toys for a living & I’m excruciatingly poor… I don’t get invited near enough for them to ask if I have kids! I’m shut out before I even walk in. I’m used to it; I’ve been a weirdo since I was a child. I get lonely, but I got good at filling my time with my own activities. I work on my projects a lot. I hike when able. The rare times I get asked about children, people assume I say no because I am SO weird, and they don’t dare ask any more questions in case I, um, SAY something…
I’m lucky, too, tho, in the field of puppetry, not a lot of people have children, some are too busy or too poor for them. Everybody’s “babies” are their puppets! Weird, eh, but I fit in…
Last summer I got together with my friends from high school, including my wonderful best friend who I’ve been able to stay friends with despite our lives being so different (she’s a stay at home mom of three). All three of them are moms with 2 or more children, and the conversation turned to PTA meetings and Halloween parties and to Bar Mitzvah or not, to private school or not, how early you have to sign up for camps… I just stared into my salad and stuffed my face with beets. I tried once the “as a teacher, I can tell you this about school district stats,” but I lacked the credentials to take it further. Then someone asked, “How is adoption going?” and it opened the floodgates as to how it had been months and months since a call and how it is incredibly difficult and I am seriously wondering how you go about returning a nursery… CRICKETS. It was like I said I like strangling puppies in my spare time. I got some sympathy (that I did not want, I just wanted to talk about non-parent stuff) and it went back to what happens when your middle schooler starts dating and you friend the girlfriend on Instagram. Sigh. I never felt so much like a sad sap fish out of water in my life. I like 1:1 interactions so much more for this reason.