It's no secret that being a parent is hard work and these days, many young adults have a difficult time deciding when they want to settle down and raise a family. No matter when you decide to make the move, you'll always see people around you who are your age and are seemingly having more fun...and sometimes these people like to flaunt their carefree lifestyle. It's one thing to respect people's life choices while carving a different path, but insulting someone for doing things on their terms is just inconsiderate.
Kathy was your typical mom, trying to foster a happy life and home for her husband and kids. There was only one problem: her sister-in-law Allison was constantly tearing her down about choosing motherhood over extending her single life as much as possible. Allison would constantly complain about how the presence of Kathy's kids ruined holidays and made things infinitely more boring.
One year, Allison told Kathy that she and her husband 'ruined Christmas' by bringing their baby daughter. She was 9 months old and noticeably caused a mess in her diaper during the middle of lunch. Even though the problem was immediately addressed when Kathy quickly and quietly took her daughter out of the room for clean up, she never heard the end of it. Every single year, Allison would bring it up.
Kathy would never be able to forget that feeling: being so pumped for her daughter's first Christmas, only to be ridiculed because her baby decided to act like...well, a baby. It shook Kathy's confidence and put an early damper on her enjoyment of motherhood.
She found it unbelievably selfish on Allison's part. Why did she find it necessary to put Kathy and her child down in order to feel better about herself? Misery loves company and Kathy always suspected that, deep down, Allison wasn't happy with herself on some level. That potential line of reasoning behind Allison's meanness made Kathy sad, but still exasperated that she had to be the scapegoat.
It seemed like Allison was always prepared to nag and moan at length about Kathy and her husband's journey into parenthood, and how it supposedly 'changed' them from cool adults who were down for a little holiday partying to boring 'baby-breeders.' In Kathy's mind, Allison's constant complaining was a result of her being upset that the focus of attention was no longer on her.
Kathy was also the victim of incessant body-shaming since Allison felt compelled to point out that her body wasn't the same as it was pre-babies. She found it particularly entertaining to mock how childbirth had supposedly destroyed Allison's feminine form, thinking of mean names and accompanying descriptions for Kathy's lady parts. The fact that it affected Kathy's body image made her feel vain, but it still did nonetheless. Allison would also always talk about how awesome and exciting her single life was, trying to make Kathy feel bad for settling down and shifting her focus to building a family.
Despite the fact that Kathy didn't use the fact that she was a mother as a stand-in for a personality, Allison would often gossip with people about that being her schtick. She'd criticize Kathy for lack of makeup, low energy, frumpy clothes, basically anything that was different from her and could be tied to being a mom. And that wasn't even the worst of it.
Oftentimes, Allison's meanness genuinely got Kathy down, and it was pretty difficult to be used time and time again as Allison's emotional punching bag. When she would brag and boast about how carefree and glamorous her lifestyle was, Kathy would admittedly get a little envious, which made her feel even worse.
Then there were the times when Kathy's kids were fighting, sick, or just being little brats, and Allison would never miss an opportunity to point out what a burden it must be to raise children. The worst part was that Kathy actually did have pretty bad postpartum depression after her second child was born, and had some dark thoughts questions if her kids' existence was worth it. The more Allison reveled in her misery, the more guilty Kathy felt for bringing kids into this world. She actually started to question whether or not Allison had been right all along, and Allison's newest criticism certainly wasn't helping.
When Kathy learned that her father had terminal cancer and didn't have much longer to live, she decided that she had to take her kids to see him, one last time. Despite the fact that the man was at death's door and simply wanted to see Kathy's kids one final time, Allison made snide remarks about Kathy being "selfish and entitled" for traveling via airplane. Even though her kids were only 3 and 1, should Kathy really have prioritized a passenger's possible annoyance about a crying baby over her dad's dying wish?
When Allison claimed that driving 12 hours would've been much more considerate, Kathy couldn't believe her ears. She even explained that one of her kids dealt with carsickness and would undoubtedly throw up the entire ride, to which Allison replied, "Well, you signed up for that. Deal with the puke instead of disturbing innocent passengers who don't want to listen to the kids YOU chose to have."
All this made Kathy feel terrible, as Allison's words often did, and she couldn't stop thinking about them the entire trip. "I remember taking those words to heart and feeling like a jerk while on the freaking plane to take my kids to see their grandfather before he freaking died." If Allison had just kept her opinions to herself, Kathy might have been ok with it, but of course, Allison was determined to shame Kathy in every way that she could.
In unbelievably petty fashion, Allison would also often make social media posts that were about Kathy and other mothers in the extended family, saying things about how perusing their personal pages is an instant cure for a bad day because it helps her realize that things could be worse, aka having kids. "She used to make Facebook posts clearly about me and my other sister-in-law like, 'Whenever I'm having a bad day, I look the Facebook of certain family members and remember I could be dealing with a crotchspawn puking on me and buying Wiggles tickets instead of a pretty new Kate Spade purse.'"
She would even go so far as to talk about how looking at their pages made her feel skinny and hot compared to them, like, "I was feeling fat but then I looked at some pics of my breeder family members and instantly felt better again." Then she would showcase new expensive purchases that she could afford because she was only paying the bills for one person.
It always seemed like Allison was under the impression that she would have to trade in every single aspect of her life in order to be a mom, and that doing so would instantly make her unattractive and completely unable to attend any of the events or parties that she did in the past.
Allison would also break up with guys as soon as they wanted to settle down because she thought it would interfere with her fast lifestyle, plus she clearly had a commitment-related phobia.
Ever the materialist, Allison would openly call out Kathy for repeating outfits and owning the same handbag for long periods of time. She would flaunt her expensive clothing and accessories every chance she got, and part of Kathy wondered if she bought them purely to rub in her fact as a status symbol. But Allison's carefree days wouldn't last long, to Kathy's everlasting delight.
Then everything changed. One day, Kathy had an epiphany: that twenty-something that shamed her for her daughter's diaper-potty time and the thirty-something that made her feel like crap for taking an airplane so that her kids could visit her terminally ill father was 42 years old and incredibly lonesome.
Kathy's kids were getting older and had matured into well-rounded, super cool little people. They were 13, 11, and 8, which are prime stages of development for children. They were no longer babbling babies and clumsy toddlers, but interesting people with unique personalities who Kathy could have a conversation with.
The realization that these little beings she brought into the world had so much to offer and would likely go on to do great things made Kathy feel an incredible amount of pride, and she decided that there was nothing in the universe she would trade that feeling for.
Allison had failed to look past those messy, crying years of kids to the prospect of raising wholesome, happy members of society. Surely she had to have thought about being alone forever, especially since a lot of the guys she'd ditched earlier in life didn't want her back now that she's desperate to find someone and willing to overlook "flaws" that had previously been dealbreakers.
Allison would literally quit jobs to travel, then blow all her money on clothes and pricey vacations. She took relationships for granted, romantic or otherwise, which lead to the crushing loneliness that was now closing in on her.
Even after the abuse she'd suffered at the hands of Allison, Kathy felt that all the years she invested in homemaking and child rearing were well worth it, since she and her husband had a great family, a home that they'll own in the foreseeable future, and they'd responsibly managed finances. On the other hand, Allison had nothing to show for all her fun times and glitzy experiences.
Even though Allison was a sad sight post-40, Kathy did feel a bit of guilty pleasure at the fact that the tables had turned so drastically. It seemed like Allison had been worshipping false, materialistic idles all her life, and thing were starting to come crashing down. Kathy would typically never laugh at someone else's misfortune, but there was a sick sweetness about the way things panned out with Allison.
So, instead of feeling sorry for her, Kathy was fairly amused by Allison's misfortune because she had just been such a witch the entire time Kathy's kids were young, and at times she was so ruthless that she even made Kathy regret having kids in the first place, which made her feel awful, shameful feelings. After realizing that Allison's "fun" lifestyle had been replaced with crushing loneliness and feelings of regret about not taking family more seriously, Kathy determined that universal karma truly does have a way of working things out and giving people their just desserts.