By Kate Cartia
The Village. The Tribe. Our People. Call it what you want; these are the other parents who just get us. Who know combining Cortisone10 Cream with Desitin will kill that diaper rash, who text you about sales on school uniforms, who ask about kid’s allergies before birthday party treats are ordered.
I love my people. Sometimes, oftentimes, they’re my right arm. And leg. And brain hemisphere.
I wouldn’t trade the other parents in my life for all the Prosecco in Italy. (You guys. I. Love. Prosecco.)
But I think another thank-you is in order. A big one.
So, To the People in My Life Without Kids:
Thank you for asking me about my child, even though you don’t have an “Oh yeah, mine, too” story. You don’t have to. I’d understand if you didn’t want to hear about PTA drama or potty training. Honestly? I probably wouldn’t want to if I were you. But you ask. And then you listen.
Thank you for not judging my every parenting move. Hey, I get it. It’s easy to do when you aren’t in the trenches. I’ve done it. But you don’t. You trust me. Your “Right, that makes sense” replies are more supportive than you can imagine.
Thank you for giving me some of the best damn advice I’ve ever gotten. I once went to a girlfriend of mine who doesn’t have (or want) kids with a story about how I’d dropped an F-bomb in front of my 3-year-old (side note: <shrug emoji here>) and now he wouldn’t stop saying it. After laughing about it, my friend offhandedly said, “Just tell him he hasn’t had enough birthdays to say that word yet.”
She wasn’t horrified at the fact that I’d cursed around my toddler. She wasn’t digging through a parenting book to find the “right way” to deal with it. She wasn’t even offering something that “worked for her kids.” She was just being logical. No discipline, no “Don’t let me catch you saying that,” no “That’s a bad word!” Just a sensible phrase that a 3-year-old would comprehend.
And. It. Worked.
Thank you for inviting me places that it wouldn’t be weird for my kid to be, too. I know this is a tricky one for parents sometimes (like, hi, it’s not always easy [or fun] to bring our kids to events), but the fact that you think of my responsibilities when you ask me to hang out, that you’ve scouted out kid-friendly venues we can both enjoy, that you wouldn’t mind if I needed or wanted to bring my son means so much.
Thank you for being a kick-ass babysitter. You’ve saved the day more times than I can count, and beyond that, your willingness and even volunteering to take care of my child is invaluable. You aren’t already completely over the “Moana” soundtrack. You aren’t surprised that my kid loves the goat cheese and spinach pizza you made (because “Duh. It’s really good.”). You’re down to play. You actually enjoy doing the kid stuff I’ve become used to, and in doing so, you show me how to not take it for granted.
Thank you for reminding me that even though I’m a mom (and wouldn’t change that for anything), you still see me as an actual person. I love talking about parenting, but it’s easy to forget myself. Thank you for still discussing relationships, makeup, food, TV, books – the things that I sometimes forget I enjoy, or feel like I shouldn’t want to talk about because parents are often conditioned to only talk about the kids. Thank you for still wanting my opinion, letting me be part of your non-mom world, for seeing me still as your friend.
Thank you for loving my child. For really loving him. Thank you for coming to kid’s birthday parties because he wants you there. For understanding my panic when I worry about him. For letting him give you sticky-handed hugs. For taking pictures of us because I’m always behind the camera. For still loving my mom-fueled Facebook posts. For remembering his love of Hot Wheels. For being his friend.
They aren’t wrong when they say, “It takes a village.” But it takes the whole damn village. Parents and non-parents. We need you all. Our children need you all.
To the people in my life without kids: thank you for helping me raise mine.
Thank you for making me a better parent.
About the Author
Kate Cartia lives in Dallas, TX with her son and dog. She’s a work-at-home mom, is always the first to sign up to bring paper plates to school functions, and openly has no real idea how to do this parenting thing. She can be found on Facebook at https://facebook.com/AsKateWouldHaveIt/, Instagram @askatewouldhaveit, and Twitter @katewouldhaveit.