I Love Kids. Mostly My Own.

I like kids.  I was a camp counselor for years.  I planned to be a pediatrician.  I’m fairly immature myself.

But then I had children.

And I love mine.  But I started loving everyone else’s a little less.

I didn’t ooh and aah as much. It’s now more of a oh that’s another baby nod.

Of course, I’m not heartless. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I care about the babies of my dear friends, too.

But the children milling around at EVERY FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT we attend? Nope. Not interested. But thank you for playing.

I went to the coffee shop the other day. These three little girls from ages two to six could SMELL the tired indifference in me.

While N and I are trying on crowns, they grab my shoes out of the bin and tried to bring them to me. They “borrowed” my purse. The youngest enjoys taking toys from my daughter and PUTTING THEM IN HER MOUTH. (The mom did intervene there. But when she went to hand back the saliva-soaked ball to N, I said: No thank you. She can KEEP that one.)

I feel guilty. I tell myself I’m tired. And over-protective. Other people’s children are stressful. (And in this case, kinda weird.)

Then it hits me. Like a ton of bricks whose injurious nature I can complain about for weeks afterwards to garner MUCH sympathy. Because, you see, in my home, we ALL crave attention. We LOVE attention.  We have LOOK AT ME down pat.

And ALL children, by their VERY NATURE, are attention-lovers. They are beings driven to have all eyes, ears and hands in a twenty-foot radius heading in their direction to induce giggles and praises.

Sorry OTHER KIDS, I’m completely capped out.

Between my seventeen-month-old and my four-year-old, being married to Captain Attention and of course, having to get the proper amount of attention myself, I don’t have the energy.

I’m too needed by those I care about to care about the three blonde siblings tormenting me with their CHILD-LIKE JOY AND STARRY-EYED VIEW OF HUMANITY.

Sorry to burst the bubble, kiddos. But I cannot smile. And clap. And spend every afternoon letting every child in the vicinity know they are wonderful over and over and over again. Aren’t there self-esteem programs for this?

Maybe the other parents just need to STEP IT UP more when I’m in the house.

Because I’m ignoring your children.

Once I get my purse back.

Please little girl. Yes, that is the PRETTIEST dress I’ve EVER seen. May I please have my purse back? Yes, it IS amazing that you can balance on that wall with my purse on your head. And wow you can use my lip gloss to paint your toes. Oh, you can keep that now. For being so fabulous. Where is your mother again?

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

35 thoughts to “I Love Kids. Mostly My Own.”

  1. Ugh, I HATE other people’s kids sometimes, and I feel like such a dick for it. Have you noticed that sometimes they smell badly and make you feel kind of murder-y??? Maybe that’s just me on that last one. But when I hear kids on the playground talking to their parents like dirt it makes me want to snatch them up by their ears or something equally old-school. Yuck, I’m a bad person.

  2. “Murder-y???” Hmmmm, I’m adding that to my List. Maybe not to the point of murdering. Maybe just a Taser. No…wait….How about a Star Trek Phaser set to stun. Picture yourself with your lovely, adorable child in one hand and a phaser in the other….strolling through the playground or Play Area or Kid’s Quest….inflicting “naps” on unruly children with the pull of the trigger. “yes sweetie, I see you”..ZAP..”Please give me that back”…ZAP….”Where’s your Mother (or designated care giver)?”…ZAP. Back in the minivan yours starts to give you lip in traffic…over the shoulder, aimed looking at the mirror…ZAP.

  3. I’m relieved to hear someone else feels the same way. I used to be all over other people’s kids. I was the go-to babysitter, I worked in a preschool facility…
    Now I have no patience for any but mine. Yeah, they’re cute and all, but have you seen my kids??

  4. UGH, now I feel like crap because I have no tolerance for this kind of behavior and I am the Mom who tells the other Mom get your kid off mine and tell your kid to stop annoying me. I know it seems harsh and as cute as the kids are and just being “playful” I have my own child to play with and my own child to say no to so I merely ask the other parent with a smile to handle your own kid or I guess I will and I having a sneaking suspicion that parent won’t like my technique. I also try to mention I am medicated but only enough for the care of my own child with that kind of grin that hopefully makes them want to leave, LOL! You are not alone but were so nice to allow all of that behavior, and just blog about it! Maybe one day I will learn to keep my thoughts to myself. (Probably not) Happy Monday!

  5. ha! I feel the exact way. I just can’t and don’t have it in me to fake it. There was this baby at a picnic over the weekend and all the moms were taking turns holding it. Not me. Pass the ice cubes, I need to refill my heart.

  6. Dude. I blame the moms. I pay attention to my kid and if he were all up in someones purse? Well that will not stand in our household. Now I’m. Big kid person so I’ll ooh and ahh. As long as it doesn’t take away from my time with my kid. But hello? Those kids weren’t just being starry eyed…they were kinda being brats.

  7. Boy am I glad I read this. I thought it was just me and that I hated kids. I mean, I sometimes hate my own kids. *sigh* But at least I’m not alone. 🙂

  8. Honestly…there are times when I feel the same and times when I don’t, it actually all depends on the kids. And let’s be frank, there are some really not-cute, cranky kids out there. But I think I’m still in the game, because I’m still in the game as it were. As in, I don’t feel done. Who knows?

  9. See the problem starts when you start answering questions. The kids aren’t talking to their own parents because they are ignoring their kids, probably tired themselves. Once you answser that first question….you are doomed! They have found a willing ear to bend.

    Next time, ignore the little devil and just grab your purse back. : )

  10. Now I have the upswing of being the mother to mean, stinky older teenagers. All those little kids are cute and fun again. There are times when I miss my two sweet little boys and I need a fun kid fix. So now I keep the kids of friends when they need a break, or a night off, or an afternoon to themselves. I can do the fun mom things and then give them back. Then I take a nap.

  11. Yep. The surest way to desensitize yourself to kid cuteness is to pop out a couple of your own. When you can barely stand them, the rest of the world’s kids just don’t even rate.

  12. I totally get this. I’m not a big kid fan either. I don’t want to babysit, I hate playdates at my house, I get annoyed as hell if your kid is kicking my seat or throwing a tantrum at the next table. Yes, my own kids do the same shit, but they are MY kids.

  13. amen. i sometimes wonder why i ever had children of my own, so indifferent am i to those of other people. so many of them are assholes, i really wish having my own kids didn’t obligate me to interact with other people’s. and here’s my dirty little secret: i don’t like all of my FRIENDS’ kids, either. unfortunately, in addition to no longer having the energy to care about strange children, i haven’t the energy to PRETEND to like them, either. i have become a miserably ineffective liar and falsifier of enthusiasm, which can be QUITE embarrassing. and maybe a little antisocial.

  14. I’m the opposite way. I used to dislike children, until I had one of my own. Now they don’t really bother me, and I’ll usually smile and indulge their “Guess what I did?” questions.

    Unless they go for my purse. I’m not down with strangers touching my stuff, no matter how small and cute.

  15. What? What’s WRONG with you? no, just kidding.

    My mom told me that when you have kids, any baby that is smaller (younger) than yours seems insipid, and any baby that’s bigger (older) than yours seems grotesque. I pretty much found that to be true.

  16. Yes. 100% yes. I have often said to Robby (behind closed doors where friends could not hear me…now they can if they read your blog) that I LOVE LOVE LOVE my kids, just not anyone else’s. Robby always wonders why I don’t take friend’s offers up on them watching Riley, but I don’t want to return the favor! And it’s true! I have a short list of kids I’ll watch that I know play well with Riley and will take away the kid burden. I even taught kids! But the best part was that they WENT HOME AFTER SCHOOL TO OTHER PARENTS!

  17. Thank you for putting into words the way that I feel! I told my mother recently that I didn’t in general just LOVE kids anymore, and she thought I was terrible! I am so with you on this one. 🙂 Fun read!

  18. I am with you, all the way. In fact, yesterday I wrote about how kids scare me to death!

    I think you nailed it – we are tapped. Raising children takes everything we have. Faced with some other kids’ oddities, I just don’t have it in me to take on that craziness.

    I used to be on staff at a summer camp, too, and spent most summers of my teenage and early adult life teaching swim lessons and babysitting. But that really seems like someone else’s life now. I am all cute-kidded out. (Except if I met your kids, of course.)

  19. So glad I’m not alone. I think it first really came on strong when I was pregnant. I had a coworker pregnant at the same time and several other coworkers that had babies and brought them up to work. The other preg-O oohed and aahed over them, and I just smiled and walked by – I wanted to be hugging my own baby, not theirs.
    I think you have a great point with the being needed by your own too much to have the energy to give it to someone that isn’t your own. And honestly, I think most mothers probably feel that way – so much so that they are glad their kids are annoying you because that means their kids aren’t annoying them for a minute!

  20. I’m kinda the same way. I think I am so busy being ON for my own kid, that I am just over it when it comes to someone else. And, no matter how cute a kid is, every parent thinks his OWN is the best. Oh, and now that I have a kid no matter how crappy a mother I am I get all indignant and haughty like, “Why doesn’t that mother keep her kid’s hands off of my kid’s toys!?!? As if just having one made me an expert.

  21. I too have an issue with other people’s children … well more strange children I guess, as I do like those kids that belong to my dear friends. It’s a hard thing sometimes … but my kids have friends over … or sometimes their friends take advantage of my kindness and abuse the fact that I gave them a ride once to always expect one … plus, no matter how bad my own kids are at times I cannot STAND bad behavior in other people’s children and have an issue trying to discipline them …

  22. I don’t even have kids yet and I feel ya. I love kids. I love my friends’ kids more. but sometimes? when I’m parenting a complete stranger’s child, I wonder if I have it in me. just for a second. then I grab that child and stuff it in my uterus.

  23. I’ll go you one better. I have family and friends who’ve told others that they don’t come to our house beccause their kids don’t like me cuz I “yell” at them I don’t actually yell but I do make kids follow the basic house rules and don’t let bigger kids misreat littler ones, especially MY littler ones.
    Besides that I dislike trying to make cute small talk with other kids, unless they are friends of my kids, then I’ll make an effort.

  24. So, a couple of weeks ago, we went to our favorite brew pub for lunch. It’s a lovely spot, with outdoor dining and guaranteed happiness. It’s a family-friendly spot, so we are relaxed and happy.

    Our food arrives and we begin eating. Like a moth to a flame, a little boy (he told me 3093 times that he was “FIVE! and his name was “BEN!”) comes over and SITS at our table. I am soooo not lying. He’s leaning against me, trying to interact with my kids. I’m all (in my head), “WTF? Where are his parents?”

    So, I look up and give his parents my best WTF stare. The mother, all smiles, says, “he isn’t bothering you is he?” Um, what? Seriously? So, of course I said, “Oh no…he’s so cute.” Because, really, what else does a reasonable adult say?

    I realized then that even though I think that my kids are the cutest/funniest/smartest/best behaved kids EVER, no one else honestly thinks so. No one wants them leaning over their salmon Ceaser salad.

    That’s all I’m sayin’.

  25. You said it.
    (Wait. Whoa! You. Said. IT.)
    Other people’s children – well, many other people’s children – became less endearing when I had a child of my own. Nothing compares, and plenty irritates. I was relieved (okay, and a bit surprised) when my Godson was born and I Loved him. So the dear friends rule holds up for me too, and confirms that there is still some good in me. Right?

  26. I hear ya. My sister’s kids and my close friends kids, those are the only ones I really care about.

    Not a fan of the stinky kids who insist on touching you and your child. Or the ones that need some much attention that they will hang on you every second they can. Or the ones that pick on younger kids. Or the ones…well, you get it.

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