I think I have this parenting thing all figured out. You know when people say “When we look back at this, it’s going to be so funny”? That is parenting. Non-parents are always thinking us parents are crazy/delusional from all the mixed stories we tell of our child care adventures. To be honest, they are right. In the thick of the moment, we are nuts. We say how much we adore our kids, how cute they are, and how much it’s a joy to be a parent. THEN, we tell the war stories of being pooped on, staying up with a crying baby, and how exhausted we are. It sounds crazy. One minute we talk about how great it is being a parent and the next we vent about how much sleep we’ve lost. So I started thinking….why do parents talk about their “little blessings” but sound like it’s the worst experience ever?
That’s when I really started listening to how other parents talk. If you ever notice, most parents talk more in a nostalgic way about their kids. “I remember when…” “It was so cute when she…” “The poop sprayed all over me, it was so funny…” We talk that way because parenting is reminiscing. In the moment, it may not be the greatest experience but when we think about it later it becomes “cute” or “funny”. I think this is most apparent when you have a second child (if you’re ballsy enough to actually have a second child). When you have a second child, that’s when you look at your first born and realize how much time has passed and how quickly it went by.
When my second daughter was born, my first born seemed like an adult already. That’s how dramatic a difference having two children is. It seems weird that my “baby” (my first born), isn’t the “baby” anymore. That’s when the nostalgia kicks in. I think about how much I went through with her and can’t help but reminisce about the good and bad times. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still my “baby” (I don’t think that ever changes)….and at almost 2 years old, she’s definitely not an adult yet. I’m starting to realize why older parents advice is always, “It gets better”, and “Before you know it they’ll be grown, so enjoy this time”.
The other day I had the pleasure of talking to an older gentleman who was acting in a short film we were working on. He has two adult daughters (one who has a child of her own)…basically the future version of me. As we were talking about parenting and child care, he would talk with nostalgia as he explained how things were when he was raising them. He told me the familiar phrase, “Just wait till their older and realize how time flies by.” That’s when I had the epiphany moment (or light bulb moment or the “OOOOohhh yeahhh” moment)….parenting is great because it’s the experiences that make it worthwhile.
To those that eventually want kids…don’t let the war stories scare you into not having kids. You’ll see that when you walk into your kid’s room and there is a piece of crap in the corner and you’re trying to figure out “what kind of magic/sorcery is at play here because how does poop get out from a diaper and end up on the rug?”….you’ll smile about it later. (This literally happened to me yesterday. I’m still trying to figure it out.)