This statement is at best condescending and at worst, patently false and potentially dangerous. It’s like telling a friend who you know has a paralyzing fear of wild animals that she would make a great game warden. Seriously, she should just shake off her deep-seated anxiety about being around rhinos and lions and just go out there and guide some poor innocent family on a safari. I’m sure you’ll do fine! …
When we were married, Matt and I often told people that we were a family, just the two of us. That sentiment felt secure and it was true. We were legally a family. But people who had kids usually just looked at us with pity—the kind of pity I reserve for people who are folding and unfolding strollers and clumsily going through airport security.
I knew that people stared at us and thought, But you can’t have a two person family. What if one of you falls off of a boat when you’re on vacation? Then what? A family of one? What good is a family of one? If you’re the only one in your family then who do you blame for all of your mistakes? No, it’s YOUR fault that I dropped the carton of orange juice that I was drinking from while standing in front of the open refrigerator because you walked into the kitchen on your tip-toes. You KNOW that when you try to walk quietly it scares me more than if you just walked normally. Also, I had a bad day at work and I blame you because if it wasn’t for you, I’d have more free time to meet the heir to an oil empire and if HE married me—I’d never have to work again! I’m not feeling good about myself but I’m too afraid to look within so I’m just going to fixate on the fact that your toothbrush is on the top of our toilet tank.
I imagine if Matt had come home every night and said to me, “Oh Jen, but you’d be such a good cook,” our marriage would have broken up a lot faster than it did.