Parenthood's Dirty Little Secret
Before you have children, you have many, many thoughts in your head of what it will be like. Most of us tend to be pretty damn self-righteous, especially when we look at other people who have children. We analyze what they do – or more specifically, what they do WRONG and vow to be SOOO much better than them.
We don’t know jack shit at that point.
Then you have your first baby. And you are so excited! And everything is new and wonderful. For about an hour. Then the reality sets in and HOLY SHIT! is pretty much the only coherent thought that runs through your mind. You think it will get better. And it does. Then it gets worse, and worse, and worse. Then it gets better again. Then horrible, horrible, horrible. It’s a vicious cycle. Every time you think you’re at the end and can’t take it anymore the little snots will do something that melts your heart and makes you say “Now see, this is what it’s all about.” And God help you if you let your defenses down too much in one of THOSE periods because that moment of weakness can have a wretched consequence – siblings.
But there is one dirty little secret of Parenthood that no one warns you about until it’s too late (thanks Mom). Parenthood is actually BORING.
Ok, a lot of parents just had a “What you talking about Willis?” moment there. Because there is nothing that seems boring about carpools, diapers, homework, meals (they actually expect to be fed multiple times EVERY day…what’s up with that??) and so on. But that’s just the point.
Parenthood, when done “right” is incredibly boring. It’s mundane. It’s doing the same stuff over and over. Sure, we “spice it up” with trips and vacations, parties, etc. But for the majority of your time, it’s the same thing over and over again. Because that's what children need and crave most.
Add to that, if you are a parent who has a Disneyland-co-parent it can be worse. Don’t know the term? This is the situation when you’re not together with the other parent, and they gets the kids for odd weekends or something similar. When the kids are with their Disneyland-Parent, every day is a holiday! Every trip an adventure. They will spend more time at amusement parks, movies, shopping, etc than at any other time. Because of that, when they return to the house of rules and structure, you have to be even more rigid if you expect them to actually function at all. It can suck big time.
But here’s the thing…it’s temporary. Yeah, it’s horrible when they’re young. My hooligans are currently 8 and 10. They’re old enough to do a lot for themselves, but still too young for me to go out and party and leave them at home alone. Babysitters are ok, but can get expensive. Plus, I constantly remind myself that there’s going to come a day where I’m going to really miss these boring times. And that is what actually keeps me going.
So today, on a random Saturday we played Clue (the actual board game) and Super Mario Brothers. We built a cage of magnetic blocks around the slowest, laziest of our cats (because it took him the longest to realize he could just move and destroy it…he’s not very smart). We watched Rhythmic Gymnastics and the rain coming down. We had home-cooked breakfast of grits and eggs and bagels (hello carbohydrates) and didn’t bother doing the dishes until our dinner of Chinese takeout arrived. And now, at the *very* late hour of 8:30pm, they are in bed and I’m twiddling my thumbs. And you know what? That’s okay. Because I know they enjoyed our very boring day, and so did I.