Mom’s com­ments about spend­ing irk kid­less friend

Austin American-Statesman - - AUSTIN360 DAILY - Carolyn Hax Tell Me About It is writ­ten by Carolyn Hax ofthe Washington Post. Her col­umn ap­pears on Tues­day, Thurs­day and Satur­day. Email her at tellme@wash­ CONTRIBUTED BY DAVID WEAVER

Dear Carolyn: My friend has chil­dren. I don’t. When­ever I men­tion hav­ing done some­thing that costs even a medium amount of money, like splurg­ing on a piece of jew­elry, her mar­tyr com­plex comes out: “You’re so lucky you get to do things like that!”

Maybe I’m pro­ject­ing, but this di­a­logue really ir­ri­tates me (it hap­pens with other mommy friends, too). Do you think th­ese com­ments are in­tended as digs, or are they in­no­cent in­sights into how moms of small kids ac­tu­ally feel? Do they think I would rather have dis­pos­able in­come than a fam­ily? — Philly Dear Philly: No doubt some peo­ple take the “Must be nice hav­ing (some­thing I don’t)” tone of snark­tas­tic self-val­i­da­tion — but what you de­scribe sounds more like re­flex­ive fa­tigue from peo­ple who rarely sleep.

Try re­plac­ing the kids/ no kids topic with one that isn’t your hot but­ton — imag­ine work­ing two jobs to cover your stu­dent loans, say, when your friend says, “We’re spend­ing Christ­mas in St. Bart’s.” You just might blurt, “You’re so lucky you get to do things like that!”

It wouldn’t be your proud­est moment, but your lament also would be more in­sight-into-true­feel­ings than dig, right?

So re­spond to your mom friends ac­cord­ingly. Cliches are your friend in (only) th­ese in­stances — “Grass is al­ways greener, eh?” — as is life-af­fir­ma­tion: “Thanks, I do feel lucky.” When you’re in­clined to make a point, there’s al­ways, “... but it’s never as easy as that.” Dear Carolyn: What do you say to some­body who has sev­eral “I will never _______” things, is openly snarky and con­de­scend­ing to those who do those things ... and then later does those same things? Then gets an­gry when ques­tioned about the change of heart, and says they never thought that, or if they did they weren’t THAT mean about it? And is your par­ent?

I know it will never change. Is there any way other than, “Yeah, OK, what­ever,” to re­spond to ei­ther end of the cy­cle?

— Oh You Won’t, Will You? Dear OYWWY?: You can rel­ish each come­up­pance, in­side.

You can also greet the cy­cle’s be­gin­ning with a mild, “Per­haps you shouldn’t box your­self in,” and end it end with, “——————.” You’ll both know what goes there, so no need to keep score out loud. Dear Carolyn: I stay at home with our 1-year-old twins. When they sleep, I work on an on­line class for my master’s de­gree. When they’re awake, well, they need su­per­vi­sion.

It’s a nice enough life for me, but I also kind of sym­pa­thize with far-off friends and fam­ily who want to know what I’m do­ing BE­SIDES watch­ing the ba­bies ... not much. When I do get down time, I just want to take a nap! How can I be less bor­ing? Any magic per­spec­tive? — Bor­ing Dear Bor­ing: Zzz. Sorry. My “magic per­spec­tive” sug­gests you strike “be en­ter­tain­ing” from your to-do list.

This is not to be mis­taken for li­cense to bore, ob­vi­ously; un­less you have a tal­ent for min­ing hu­mor out of te­dious things, mono­logu­ing about ba­bies is cruel and un­usual pun­ish­ment of those whose only crime was to care about you.

But you can re­spond to peo­ple’s po­lite queries with, “What can I say — I watch ba­bies, study and sleep.”

Slaid Cleaves at the KOOP Sweet 16 party in 2011. Cleaves will be a part of the live mu­sic Thurs­day night at the Ar­madillo Christ­mas Bazaar.

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