"The last two weeks of August are when kids are out of school in Israel and since so many people will be away from the office, I need to know if you will be able to work," my boss said to me.
In other words: Can the office count on me, a single, childless woman, to hold down the fort when everyone else is home with her kids?
I don't blame my boss. I like her a lot and she is just doing her job. And I also don't mind working since, well, I can. But what stings – what really hurts where it counts – is that I automatically have to fill in for all the mothers out there when the one thing I want most in the world is to also be a mother.
It just adds salt to the wound.
As does all the pregnancy talk at work when all the very pregnant ladies– including some 20-somethings – gather in my office to talk about maternity leave and pregnancy clothes and here I am, still single at the age of 38, and if my belly gets any bigger it is only because I need to get myself to yoga. It is enough to make me want to hurl myself out the window.
And since we're on the subject, why do my married-with-children friends assume that a fun night out for me is going over to their house and sitting on their couch? I know it's more complicated when you have kids and also that babysitters are expensive, but because I don't have kids does this mean I also don’t have a say? That only their schedule is important? That I want to spend an evening hanging around their messy living rooms while their kids climb all over me, when I can hang out in my own messy living room and have my dog climb over me instead?
Or what about those "girls nights" I'm always being invited to by my married girlfriends, as if this is fun for me whose whole life is one big women's party? And then if that isn't bad enough, those "girls nights" always end up being one giant ode to motherhood. So I have to sit around and listen to everyone talk about her kids the whole time.
Which reminds me of another subject that gets my goat: the absolute righteousness connected to motherhood. As if giving birth elevates a woman to the rung of sainthood. Take the author whose website I recently checked out who lists all the books she's written, but ends by dismissing all of these things as nothing as compared to her biggest accomplishment: that of being a Mother.
But listen to me. Miss Sour Grapes. Miss bitter and old and pissed off that while all these holy Mammas get to stay home with their kids the last two weeks of August, I am stuck not only at work with no one to talk to, but also getting ready to go on my millionth first date with men I would not even want to sit next to on the bus.
What a wah-wah baby. I mean, where is it written that I deserve love? And a family? I must have passed up some good men along the way so what's my problem? Why do I think I can have everything? As someone at work always says in Hebrew, "Everything is not gold, Avigail."
Indeed, it is not. Not all gold in the least.
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