Why is it that when we, as parents, meet new people and find out that they have children, we feel an instant connection? When getting to know strangers, I make more effort to make my life ‘transparent’, often sharing the gory details of life as a stay-at-home mom, simply to see who bolts first. Usually it’s the folks with no kids, who are rushing to book an appointment to get sterilized. I find myself tempted to get caught up in the inevitable oneupmanship when comparing the horror stories of parenthood:

Parent #1: “Johnny drew on the underside of our coffee table with crayons once.”

Parent #2: “Susie drew on the big-screen TV with markers. Thankfully they were washable.”

Me: “Really? My two-year-old colored every inch of flesh between her socks and her shorts with a Sharpie. Two hours and a Brillo pad later, her legs were still a sick shade of gray.”

I have good reason for avoiding these conversations: My daughters have done the same thing, to the extreme, and I always sound like I’m making up the story. I’m not. I promise.

My DH is a member of a well-known social fraternity. He and I discussed what it was actually like to be a Fraternity brother. I asked once if he shared things with fellow brothers that he’d never say to anyone else. “Of course”, he answered. That makes sense. Of course you share things with the members of your exclusive club that you keep from John Q. Public. So that’s what being a parent means: Perpetual membership in the Exclusive Parenthood Club.

I won’t even tell you what the yearly dues are.



  1. April 3, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    Yes, and how would we survive without each other!


  2. Mary said,

    April 3, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    I love the Sharpie story! When I taught Middle School, it was a daily battle to keep the kids from writing on themselves and others, but it sounds like your daughter really takes the cake! Just a note, I know your post was in a spirit of fun, but there are those of us who do not have children and it’s not by choice. I love to hear kid stories and love to be a part of my friends lives. I would hope that they would want to share with me what was going on, even if I can’t fully identify.

  3. Lala's world said,

    April 3, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    I totally agree….we have a new couple at our church, they have 2 little boys and we have hit it off completely!! it is great cuz I missed having such close friends where J and I both like the parents and the kids all get along!! makes life easier to have close friends!

  4. Anonymous said,

    April 3, 2006 at 4:02 pm

    I always feel like no one believes me either when I tell my stories. I’m just trying to make the other mom feel better because I’ve been through worse, right?

  5. Lucinda said,

    April 5, 2006 at 8:00 am

    I sort of like people without kids right now? Because I find them intriguing? 🙂

    However, I LOVE being instantly accepted by other women for a change (which never happened before baby) after they hear (or more often, see) that I have a child.

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