Brats (and I don’t mean the children)
Every so often I will run across posts/comments on blog or Facebook that just make me angry. I know, little even-tempered ol’ me? Angry? Lies and calumnies!
I get particularly upset when these posts have to do with certain aspects of parenting. Now, I know you’re thinking, “Are you freaking kidding me? You don’t even have children yet, just wait until you do and then try being all holier than me!” But see, the thing is, it’s not even that. I don’t care if you co-sleep or if you put baby in the corner, I don’t care if you breastfeed or formula feed, I don’t care if you stay at home or take your child to day care, I don’t care if you cloth diaper or disposable it up. I may have very defined ideas about what I plan to do when it comes to decisions like those, but that doesn’t mean I’m inflexible or incapable of realizing that when the time comes, I may change my mind and that many things depend on the patience you realize you have, your child’s personality and temperament, and your life circumstances at a given moment in time. There are no two identical mothers, and even if there were, their husbands would be different (if they were even in the picture) and vice versa. We, and our life experiences, are all unique snowflakes.
So what are the parenting statements that bother me? Gems like these: “I was going to go to Bonaroo, but I couldn’t find a baby-sitter for this kid.” Or, “After two hours of trying to feed Mikey and him just spitting everything up, I gave up. And now that I have to go to my nail appointment, he decides he’s hungry. GREAT, CHILD.”
Look, I understand and appreciate that when you have a child you are exhausted, hormonal, and that it’s an emotional roller-coaster dealing with your tot’s moods, rhythms, and needs. I understand that sometimes we all need to vent. I understand that sometimes a parent may suddenly feel like they stopped being an individual and are just “Jonie’s mommy” and are frustrated that they always have to put someone else’s needs before their own (or… at least I hope they do).
What I don’t understand is this concept that a child, a toddler, and even an infant has to conform and fit around the lifestyle you were accustomed to, and any deviation from that pattern is seen as a discomfort or a nuisance. You had a child; your life will naturally change. (“Organically”, one might say. Erin, I’m lookin’ at you!) Your child did not ask to be brought into this world. Your child did not nag you to pop open those knees and lay back and enjoy the show — and I don’t mean childbirth, I mean the nine months prior. Your child did not choose you as a parent, it got you.
And he/she is a blessing… remember? Remember 9th grade biology and awkward high school health class when your gym coach had to talk about conception while everyone uncomfortably shifted in their seats? The likelihood that a woman happens to be ovulating AND fertile AND that a particular sperm fertilizes that egg AND that it implants AND that it develops into a baby that grows to term? Those odds are NOT THAT DIFFERENT from the odds that there are planets in our universe inhabited by sentient beings. So, blessing indeed.
George laughs because I often say that it frustrates me that people are logically required to obtain driver’s licenses to operate a hunk of metal. No one disputes that little law, right? It’s to ensure the safety of all of us as a society. Well. I think people should be required to obtain baby-having-licenses before procreating. First, you should be a certain age. Second, you should have certain skills under your belt… I’m cool with people having a learner’s permit while they acquire the aforementioned skills. Third, you should pay every so often to renew that license to make sure those skills are still sharp. If you do it wrong, do something that recklessly endangers others (a.k.a. YOUR CHILD) then you should get a ticket. And if you drink and parent, you should just get your license taken away. (And by drink, I mean do anything stupid.)
I recently read a Jezebel article entitled, ‘Isn’t a baby supposed to cramp your style?‘ I’m normally a little weary of any family-related Jezebel articles, but it made me super hopeful to realize that there are parents out there that put their children first and don’t lament (or resent) their lives changing.
All this to say… next time you’re rolling your eyes over having to find a sitter, having to clean poop off the seat of your car, or not getting enough sleep, remember that you chose to have
sweet sweet love making your child.