A close friend's wife recently gave birth to their second child, a boy who is now 4 months old. This friend and I hadn't spoken in awhile so I called him to catch up on all the momentous events happening in our lives. During the course of the conversation, I asked him how his newborn son was doing. Without pause, my buddy replied, "you know what? That kid is a total pain in my fucking ass. Honestly, there's just no pleasing him. He's quickly driving me insane."
At first, I was shocked. As a first-time father who is absolutely head over heels in love with his daughter, I was practically indignant. What kind of father can speak about his newborn child this way? Clearly, he didn't love his child in the same way that I did. It was like I didn't even know him anymore. How was it possible that we were even friends? But then, a funny thing happened. I started laughing my ass off. I was practically in hysterics. Because you know what? My buddy's a good father. He works his ass off, does everything possible to spend time with his kids and is really a loving, caring guy who's involved in every aspect of his kids' lives. My shock and indignation were just a gut reaction to hearing something I'm not used to hearing. In retrospect, the fact that I could be so judgemental in the flash of a nanosecond seemed so absurd to me. I just had to laugh at my utter idiocy.
Let's face it, my friends. So many people take parenting and their kids too seriously. At times, I have to admit that I'm guilty of this also. In our love and well-meaning concern for our children, we forget to laugh. In this atmosphere of political correctness, we're programmed not to say that our kids are pains in the ass. But fuck it! It's ok to admit it sometimes, my friends. Kids are not conducive to a carefree lifestyle. Not only do they put a serious crimp in one's lifestyle but they can also often be detrimental to one's mental well-being. They require constant attention and are a significant drain on one's resources. So let's all admit it to the sacrifices that we make for our kids. Personally speaking, I can say that (1) I have less sex than I've ever had in my life, (2) all my disposable income no longer goes to vacations or other self-indulgent pleasures, (3) I'm a sleep-deprived zombie half the time and my work certainly suffers for it, (4) some close friendships have gone by the wayside due to my inability to maintain them, and (5) my previously modernist downtown apartment looks like it was hit by a tornado of strollers, exersaucers, playmats, rockers, pacifiers, bibs and bottles.
As much as I love the Peanut, I sometimes long for the freedom of those days long gone by. There are many times (especially at 5:00 am) when I wish the BossLady and I could return to our selfish and carefree child-free lifestyle. I often miss our old lifestyle. There...I said it.
Of course, nothing in the world makes me happier than being with my daughter. And I would sacrifice anything and everything for her well-being and happiness. But I think that being able to admit that parenthood can sometimes be a pain in the ass makes me a better parent. Removing the sugar-coated myths of parenting allow me to always maintain a sense of perspective in my life. And as much as I love being a father, I think I'm healthier for being honest with myself and admitting that parenting is not always a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. And that's not a bad thing.
So let's put ourselves on the couch, my friends. Let's strip away the shiny surface and get down to brass tacks. Because let's face it. Parenthood isn't all fun and games. So what about parenting drives you absolutely insane? What do you miss from your days of childlessness? And what do your kids do that makes you want to send them back?
Feel free to vent and rant.