Earlier this month I came across this article in the Huffington Post titled 5 Things Parents Need to Stop Saying to Non-Parents. It’s funny because it’s true but also because you can apply it to a myriad of other situations.
Firstly I haven’t made it a secret that I think raising a child is very much like having a dog. I am serious. In many ways babies are like puppies. In fact, if you were to take any of Cesar Milan’s dog training books and replace dog with baby you’d have a winning parenting book. I’m kidding. Mostly.
I don’t know if it’s because we have social media to connect us twenty-four seven but I really think that people try to one-up each other in every way. I see it all the time. Somebody posts a status about being sleep deprived and somebody will chime in and simultaneously hijack the thread by saying something asinine like “Oh yes same here, try going to school and working full time and raising triplets.” This invalidates the original post while also making it about themselves. It isn’t just annoying parents who are fighting for the brownie it’s every self-absorbed person who thinks the reason for being tired determines the validity of the somnolence. I don’t care if you’re sleep deprived because you were out late last night, worked late, or were kept up by a crying puppy. The result is the same: you’re tired.
“When you have kids…” this was particularly spot on. People need to stop assuming everyone will have kids. It’s not something we must do. It’s something some of us choose to do and while some of us go through a lot to become parents there are others who decide to remain child free. I remember people making statements like that to me before I ever knew I wanted kids and it always bothered me. It’s rude to assume and insensitive to bring up a topic about which you know nothing about. Suppose I knew I was infertile and somebody said that to me. I would probably bristle and feel uncomfortable.
Lastly, the notion that life doesn’t have meaning until you have kids. Wow, that is something that really gets me going. I assume people who make such statements led very dull lives and to put that sort of importance on a child seems out of place. Before Diego my life was different but I loved my life. I loved my husband and I loved the life we had together. I loved getting together with friends to drink champagne and light napkins on fire. I had a full life and I never felt that anything was missing.
I suppose that is my very biased view. My life now is a little different. I care about new things in addition to what I cared about before. I am more mindful of where I place things and of the dangers it might pose for a child. I am more aware out of necessity not because I’m a special snowflake with super mommy powers.
Becoming a parent does in fact cause changes within us, it challenges us and it makes us think and consider things we hadn’t before. For some, it brings out the best and sadly in others the very worst. I find all of those who brag and constantly dispense their perfect parenting advice annoying. I don’t really care if your two week old can do a hand stand. In the end it doesn’t mean anything. That isn’t to say I don’t love seeing my friends’ babies develop. I really enjoy sharing but I don’t like snotty intent. Make sense?
Here are five things becoming a mother has taught me:
1. Any fool who has ever conceived a child believes themselves to be an expert. Except me, I happily admit to not knowing except what my child has taught me.
2. Vaccines are important and should not be optional except in very rare life threatening cases. Thank you Jenny McCarthy for your irresponsible half-cocked debunked ‘science’.
3. I love sleep. I knew this before but I’d now rather sleep than eat. Sadly I’m still fat.
4. My mother did all of this for me and more. She did it twice. My mother is crazy.
5. Staying at home is surprisingly easy and difficult at the same time. There are days when a day at the office sounds like a spa retreat.
I’d like to read other five things lists. They don’t have to be child related. Maybe some of you could submit some in an Ask? There’s an ‘Ask’ button somewhere…