Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yes, I'm calling you liars!

Parenting is the inversion of physics. The warping of chemistry. The undoing of scientific knowledge. The refutation of logic.

Laughable concepts: The nuclear family (word association takes me directly to Hiroshima-styled mental images of devastation). Solo-parenting: I see a half-crazed person balancing on the wing of a bi-plane. In fact, when you talk about parenting and family life, I don’t get some warm smile-crowded Norman Rockwell painting in my head, I get images of a ransacked house, burgled and emptied of all valuables. Physically and emotionally.

That’s where I am right now. You may be post, pre, not interested in or trying to be a parent- those things are all fine for you, collect your goody bag on the way out- I’m just talking about my own expectation versus experience.

I don’t blame them- the three people whose presence and demands give me the role and name of parent. They didn’t ask to be born, and particularly not to this household. There’s more to having them than scrutinizing their facial features for echoes of my own. They need feeding and clothing and stimulation. Very selfish of them.

We’re pretty much out of the being stopped in the malls to be told ‘Your babies are so sweet’. We now get double-takes: What the hell made you do THAT? Am I transferring?

I have read so many Daddy blogs, in which the fathers refer to Thinglet one and two, and how their amusing japes fill the family with endless joy, but rarely a complaining one. I read many Mommy blogs where the moms are collapsing in a state of near-hysteria, ragged and at the ends of their tethers. I’m somewhere in between. There are days when I go to bed smiling and full of pride (as if I somehow shaped their willful personalities into something approaching decency), and others when I lie in bed thinking, damn, this is hard, and feeling slightly stunned- as if I no longer trust myself to say ‘This is who I am’.

I know this is all seasonal, temporary, a fugue state- but it has to make you think about your own parents, perhaps especially your mother (often the more engaged parent in our/my generation), and shake your head in awe.

This isn’t a complaint, just a passing thought, one which will be replaced with elation, excitement, maybe satisfaction during the passing of the day. You could comment here, and say that I’m a great Dad, but you don’t really know that. I could portray myself as that, but it will only ever really mean that if it comes out of three specific mouths.

I love them, they stretch me.


  1. Kids.... I am not always a fan of this concept.

  2. @wenchy: And the related concepts: nurturing, giving, raising, forgiving, etc etc... Be nice if they paid you to look after them :-)

  3. I love kids. S'true. Just not my own. See I'm still figuring out how to take care of myself - the thought of having another person so completely dependant on me is a horrifying thought. What if I screwed them up? Or worse, didn't and they turned out to be normal, average, unexceptional, little colourless clones, as incapable as their matriarch when it comes to surviving in the real world? Hmmm? I'm thinking Shit Creek ... and no paddle. I think I'll stick with the gold fish for now.

  4. @SMP: I'm pretty much resigned to screwing them up. As long as they don't become handgun owners, I should be ok.

  5. Ah,I hear ya, Scott (and Neen - pls say *hi* to her for me!)

    And I only have ONE to deal with.

    She is both a great love and a tremendous pain in the arse.

    There: I said it.

  6. "I love them, they stretch me." That right there is beautiful and so perfectly true. And I think I could apply it to my spouse (singular, of course) too.

  7. hey, i commented here. what happened?

  8. @beck: Or all family! Sometimes more stretching than loving.
    @sass: I didn't remove it- it's the omment function on this page which seems to be acting up. Nothing personal, you understand!

  9. Its the nights I cry myself to sleep that I really admire my folks!

  10. @angel: It's amazing anybody survives parenting...


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