I’m just going to come straight out and say it. I hate kids. I really do.
Oh, I like mine – I LOVE mine – and for that I have no real explanation other than I’ve been biologically programmed to (and because they are cute and sweet and smart and perfect in every way). And don’t get me wrong – I love mine with an unfathomable ferocity, an intensity so remarkable that I would move mountains, swim oceans, wrestle grizzlies, you name it. Your typical mom stuff. We all know this feeling, and I’m certain you feel this way about your own kids. I’m right there with you.
But other people’s kids?
I do not look at a classroom full of first graders and see inherent in their shining eyes an enviable innocence or destined, budding brilliance. I see grubby hands and lice and whiny entitlement and mononucleosis. I volunteer at my kids’ school only out of a sense of obligation and guilt, and because I think teachers are fucking saints. And then when I do volunteer, I beg to be put on book-shelving duty or shape-cutting duty or some other duty that doesn’t actually involve the Handling or Care of Children.
When my shift mercifully ends, I dump a whole bottle of hand sanitizer right the fuck over my head.
I watch the super school-involved moms prancing in and out of the double doors each day with Starbucks cups and perfectly yoga-panted asses and I support them. Because if they weren’t doing it, I’d have to, and among myriad other necessities required for super-school-involvement, I do not own a yoga-pantable ass. So Lynn, Christine, Susie, Kathy – thank you kindly, you gals keep up the great perky work, and tell me where to send a check.
When my kids were young, it was worse. There is nothing that grosses me out faster than a toddler with a face perennially full of caked-on snot, crusted-over eye goop, or remnants of food from meals past. Parents, I say this to help you maintain your friendships moving forward: WIPE THAT SHIT OFF. Grab a washcloth; it takes two seconds. Would you walk around with oatmeal smeared across your cheek and a booger mustache? Take some pride in your kids, man. Give them a fighting chance. Many, many times did I scrub down the faces of my friends’ children – not for their own good, mind you, but to keep me from losing my lunch.
It’s different now. I have two boys, and the most annoying thing about boys is how insane they get when they multiply. Maintaining any sense of order and propriety in a group of three or more boys is an unparalleled shitshow. Now, while I am willing to admit that my standards for “order and propriety” are absolute Greek to a batch of seven-year olds, I nevertheless enter into negotiations with these animals hopeful of finding common ground.
It never works.
Neither through bribery, nor threats, nor my generation’s positive-reinforcement psychobabble. So I’ve decide to stop selling myself to the world as a lover of children. (Is that a female thing? A first-world thing? A Jesus thing? Are we just supposed to love all children? Why do I feel that obligation?)
I hate them, I’m not kidding. Fire up the torches and grab the pitchforks, whatever.
Lucky for me, I know I’m not alone. I’ve seen enough of the front lines of parenting to know that a lot of you – even you saccharine, doe-eyed elementary teachers – are right there with me some days.
But we make our birthday party plans, we go on field trips, we host sleepovers and play dates and volunteer for scouts because we love our own kids so much and want them to be happy. We want to foster their friendships and support their academic lives and maybe, if we’re fortunate, we’ll turn a few good people out into the world. (Like, I dunno, maybe the kind of people who don’t hate children.)
So please, you needn’t be afraid of the monster inside of me. I assure you that if your children find themselves in my care, I will treat them kindly, feed them well, and chances are, return them to you with a freshly-wiped face. I will live with your kid’s endless poop jokes if you’ll accept the introduction of armpit farts into your household by my kid. We’ll do it because we value each other’s friendship, and because we love our kids so damn hard.