Parents are a pretty sensitive group.
Perhaps because they themselves are the King of the Judgers, parents are more attuned to perceived slights than most. No group of people is more “victimized” than parents — and the word “victimized” is in quotes for exactly the reason you think it is.
These days, there’s just not a lot you can get away with saying to or about moms and dads without someone getting offended. You have to use your words very carefully.
You’d probably have better luck suggesting that Hitler had some good ideas than saying just about anything about parenting to a parent.
Most of the stuff people tell you about having a baby? Total garbage.
It’s either too much or too little, too intense or too laid back, too judgy or too deadbeat, too scary or not scary enough. And all of it – every single bit – is refracted through each “helpful” person’s own prism, informed by their own experiences and their own specific circumstances, all of which are unique and personal when it comes to even the most generic of tasks, and so esoteric as to be meaningless when it comes to raising children.
But the stuff about losing sleep and being tired? That’s some solid gold truth.
Parenting has a lot in common with sports. Raising a child requires the energy and stamina of an athlete, the vigilance of a referee, the devotion of a die-hard fan and the patience of a coach.
Being a parent is basically like competing in a daily, year-long, rest-of-your-life tournament in which your endurance and your wits are constantly being tested, usually by someone much smaller who has to constantly be told what to do while even though they’re a lot more important than you.
Coincidentally, except for the fact that your kids go to college after you’ve (mostly) finished, instead of not really going to college at all (because the NCAA is corrupt!), parenting is a lot like March Madness.
Let’s count the ways…
Part of the reason I started this blog was to prove that it is possible to have kids and keep some semblance of your pre-parent life, and some semblance of your pre-parent personality, and some semblance of your pre-parent vocabulary.
In my case that mostly meant, respectively: going to bars, concerts and movies; being a cynical, sarcastic jerk; and swearing a lot. If you read my blog, you already know I’m still a cynical, sarcastic jerk who swears a lot.
But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to some attrition. Parenting changes you, that’s obvious. You’re a shell of the person you used to be. I don’t even know who you are anymore.
Now let’s find out how much it has changed me, with a good old-fashioned Q & A!