Wednesday, September 2, 2015

You don't get it, you don't have kids

Is there anything more annoying and completely asshole-ish for a parent to say? Not that I can think of. You won't hear me saying it to anyone. In fact, I couldn't even if I wanted to, since I only have one kid. But, for me, there are definitely things I didn't understand in my previous life. I would never make a generalization that no childless person "gets it", I'm just saying I didn't.

1. I never fully appreciated sleep.

I love sleep. So much, in fact, that missing out on it was one of my many fears about approaching motherhood, which was stupid, because God gave us coffee for a reason. However, I definitely did not appreciate the beauty of the ability to lay down, go to sleep, and know I could just stay in bed, uninterrupted all night. Like, if I had 7 hours to sleep before I could get up for work, I could actually sleep all 7 hours.

That being said, parents in no way have a monopoly on being tired. When I first came back to work after maternity leave, my friend started to tell me she was tired then backtracked, because she felt bad saying it to someone with an infant. I had to nip that in the bud right there. Everyone is allowed to be tired, and no one had a gun to my head forcing me to procreate. I made my bed, and now I need to lie in it, except I probably can't because I'm up with a baby instead. See what I did there?

If anything, I feel like a baby is an awesome, adorable reason to be tired. Insomnia doesn't cuddle up with you. Staying up doing grad work doesn't warm your heart with sweet, gummy little smiles. Babies are worth it (mine, anyway). There are much worse things that keep a person up at night.

Babies have no appreciation for how wonderful sleep is

Additionally, parents, can we all agree to stop complaining about getting up early? Did you miss the memo? Babies don't sleep in. You don't need to tell people that you get up at 6am, 7 days a week. The little person accompanying you makes that clear, and it's kind of what we signed on for. Enough, already.

2. The world is a scary place

Suddenly, every single horrible news story, I started thinking: what if that were my child? Even when the victim is an adult. Minor things worry me too. I was putting sunscreen on Dalton and I started wondering how many years I have of being able to enforce sunscreen usage. I'm assuming teenage boys don't slather each others' backs with Coppertone before hitting the beach?

3. What people say matters

Cleaning up our language seemed easy at first. Just stop cursing, at least in front of Dalton. Done. But now that he's actually starting to understand some words, I'm starting to notice I have some bad habits. If I'm telling Eric a story at the dinner table about how much some idiot irritated me, am I really setting such a better example just because I used the word "idiot" rather than some other choice titles? This child is going to learn how to treat people from us. That's terrifying.

4. Food is expensive

Another terrifying thing is grocery shopping for three people before one of those people is a year old. We legit have to provide him his own dinner, if we try to just share two portions, one or more people is left hungry. If I think I'm tired now, I'm really going to be exhausted when I have to moonlight at a grocery store just for the discount so I can afford to feed my kid during the teen years.

5. Family is everything

Ugh that irritates me just to type, because it implies that family isn't important unless you have kids. That could not have been further from the truth for me (and pretty much everyone I know). It's more like my awareness of that fact is just super heightened now. I've never been more efficient (and less social) at work, because I have this overpowering NEED to get everything done so I can leave as soon as possible. I used to scroll through Facebook while I ate lunch, and now I'm just like...every second I spend looking at pictures a coworker from 12 years ago posted of his dog is a second more I have to stay here working after school and a second less I could be at home with Dalton and Eric. But don't judge me if I ever like your Facebook picture during lunch time. No one's perfect.

Always moving, always blurry.

What do you agree with, disagree with, or what would you add?



  2. I'm not sure you have to have kids to take a step back with all the horrors of the world. Between the internet and just the nightly news...then the commercials for drugs that list all kinds of horrific illnesses...I'm terrified myself! I can't imagine it compounded with fears for a little one.

    1. You're definitely right, I think I worded that poorly. It's just that all those horrors seem infinitely scarier now, because of this overwhelming urge to protect my baby from everything. Actually, now I remember I didn't want to expand on this point because it's just depressing. Everyone take a chocolate break to regroup.

  3. I could write a whole post of ridiculous questions people have asked me when they learn that we do not want children. Sort of related to #5 above, "how will you ever know what love is?". And then another strangely common one, "who will take care of you when you're old?" So many things wrong with that one I am not even going to start on that topic here....

  4. Number two (hee) is the biggest thing for me right now. It's not like I never had empathy or anything, but after Nora was born I just had to stop watching the news for the long time because I always ended up crying because of somebody's baby (even if that baby was actually an adult). This weekend, a facebook friend posted several photos of drowned little boys and girls from Syria, and I was up until 3 am sobbing. At least now Nora's birthday money (she turned one today, omg) went to UNICEF instead of toward some sort of plastic crap she doesn't need, so that's good.

    Oh, and I've just started realizing how much she actually understands when we talk, holy shit. Must stop cursing.

  5. Movies or tv where anything happens to children are no longer on the table. So many tears.

  6. I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING. Especially the part about imagining the horrible news story victims are my child. At dinner the other night my husband was telling me about a horrible thing he saw on the news and I actually burst into tears (at this point he should know better!). I won't even tell you what it was because you'll cry too.

  7. People always used to say is never know how much Id love my baby until he was born. I half disagree, I was expecting an all encompassing love. What I didn't expect was the looking at him sleeping would make me cry. Or singing songs to him, or imagining him moving out and getting married makes me sob. Also the word circumcision makes me cry whenever I hear it now whereas prior to his birth it made me giggle.

    1. P.s. Our first day home sans husband went well. Thanks for the good wishes.

  8. As for #1, I agree that everyone is allowed to feel tired but I did laugh when Jude was a few months old and a teacher friend told me she couldn't come over for dinner one night because she had to wake up at 6 that morning for work and she was tired. And yes, I'd love it if all mothers stopped complaining about having to wake up early! Especially if their little one sleeps all night before then!
    As for food, my dad couldn't believe I was ordering kids meals for my 13 month old while we were at the beach last week but if he shared my food, I would go hungry! This boy can eat!

  9. Yeah, food is super expensive. Especially when you have to throw so much of it away! I miss the days when my kids were little like Dalton and ate everything I offered and didn't have so many opinions about things :)

  10. Ahh, thank you for not being one of those parents who has a monopoly on being tired, stressed, worried, or loved.


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