As I am a woman of a certain age, my Facebook feed is blowing up with pictures of babies. From firstborns to fifth-borns and everywhere in between. There are babies fucking everywhere! I know when each of my kids was born, those posts of their first moments/days were always the most Liked and commented on, which got me thinking, “Why are people always so excited when someone else has a baby?” I have a theory. SHOCKING!
Now, I am not judging anyone for being excited about babies. I even find myself getting giddy when someone I know endures the worst pain known to man only to be rewarded with little to no sleep, sore nipples, and a body that will never be the same no matter how much weight you lose. But I think it goes beyond our biological encoding to reproduce and “aww, babies are cute.” Cause not all babies are cute, there I said it. My youngest looked like a lizard for the first few months of his life. Seriously, that giant mouth on a newborn is terrifying. Anyway, I think people with kids get so excited about their friends having kids because simply put, misery loves company.
I’m not saying that having kids is all miserable, but it’s pretty damn close. I love my kids more than almost anything, but when I see one of my kidless friends announce the birth of their first child I can’t help but think, “HA! Suckers! You fell for it. You had a great life of doing whatever you want whenever you want, and now you’re screwed!” For years those of us straddled with kids have seen posts of you getting dressed up to go out drinking every weekend, going on vacation whenever you want, going to the gym, taking a shower, sleeping, the list goes on and on. We saw these posts and shook with envy. We would curse you by saying, “One day. One day they will suffer the same fate as us.”
In addition to hoping you suffer through the same misery that is having children, we just want to be able to do stuff with you again. We can’t afford the three vacations to Jamaica every year, and drinking all day with a 2 -year-old is typically frowned upon. Now that you have kids too, you’ll be forced to come over and drink shitty light beer on our couch just to say you had a “night out.” We miss hanging out with you. Ruining your life as you know it is the only way to get you back. So we make you think that you really need to have kids too.
Then we took it a step further. We make parenthood seem like the greatest gift on the planet. Bloggers wrote about the joy of being a parent. But there must have been a typo because what they meant to write about was the joy of Xanax. We fooled you, like the generation before had done to us. “Kids are great,” they would say. “There is no greater joy.” Bullshit! A childless vacation is a greater joy. Sleeping til whenever the fuck you want is a greater joy. Taking a shit by yourself is a greater joy. The day will come when you realize all things you once took for granted, and you will attempt to make a deal with the devil to finish a cup of hot coffee, just once.
So, welcome to the club! We are so happy you are here. If you need help or have any questions be sure to direct them to honest parents. You will recognize the moms by the sweatpants and lack of makeup. You can recognize the dads because they will actually have a child near them. We will be here if you need us, and we will do our best not to blow smoke. We will tell you that being a parent is exhausting, hard, neverending work that never receives thanks or appreciation. There are no more sick days. There are no more Sunday Fundays. Most days, I don’t even get to sit down for more than 20 seconds without someone needing something or shitting their pants. Your whole world is these little people who require all you have and then some more. While it most certainly is not always the most fun you will ever have in your life, being a parent is certainly the most challenging, and I’m still hoping for the most rewarding. Fingers crossed.
**For all of you reading this who are struggling to have your own bundle of disaster, never give up. Never stop trying. There is always a way to become a family.**