Parenthood is tough – no doubt about it. Well, someone once asked me why I don’t write about the not-so-cute reality of parenting. It’s that alternate reality that strains patience and tests sanity. It’s a reality that invokes frustration and sometimes tears. So, at your request, I present to you the less glamorous side of parenting. If you’re not a parent already, this article may be the best birth control next to contraceptives and abstinence. Enjoy.
- Given the young age, children are not quite aware of all the dangers that the world presents. Stairwells, electrical outlets, the terrifying drop-off that is the edge of the bed – to an infant that is a long way down. Therefore as a dutiful parent, it is your assignment to protect your little one from varying dangers as best you can. It’s like parental secret service. And besides rogue infant explorations, a parent also has to deal with natural health related issues that may arise too. Now, I readily submit, I can be overly protective on occasion. However, when you have visited the emergency room with your little one as much as I have within the first two years, one tends to develop a slight parental paranoia. Having your helpless little one poked and prodded by strangers is never easy, even if you present a strong front for the public.
- I have visited this subject before in previous articles, but I truly realize why sleep deprivation is utilized as a form of torture. One never realizes how important sleep is until one is deprived of the luxury. Trust me. And when you still have the duty to properly function as a spouse, employee, employer, parent, or combination of any of those; the struggle becomes real. This is how psychologically damning it can be; when your child finally starts sleeping for longer stretches, you’ll still discover yourself waking up in anticipation of them waking up.
- Speaking of sleep deprivation, you’ll find yourself falling asleep anywhere and in the most awkward positions. I’ve blacked-out on the couch more times than I can count. The floor becomes a viable option when worst comes to worst. Even my car became a welcome sleeping area during my lunch break – even in the winter!
- So, with time and sleep a treasured commodity, a gentleman will be confronted with some difficult situations. Standard tasks become critical decisions. One has to begin to prioritize the business of relieving oneself of bodily waste, washing away funk and dirt in the shower, replenishing one’s stomach with sustenance, or performing any other rudimentary chore one has taken for granted. There will be days when you barely eat and definitely days you won’t shower – depending on levels of funk of course.
- Children are a germ factory. Seriously, children are a Petri dish of all sorts of nastiness that will navigate its way to your person. They will sneeze and cough in your face. They will hand you poop when you think it’s granola. They will rub snot in your hand when you think it’s lint. They will expel the digested contents of their stomach all over you. And you can’t disown the little germ magnet. Daycare? Yes, be prepared to become an expert on illnesses such as hand-foot-mouth disease, pink eye, croup, whooping-cough, and a whole host of other bad stuff that I can’t spell. By the time you’ve run through all sorts of nasty bugs, you might as well apply for a position at the CDC as an infectious disease specialist. Oh, and we live in an age where more and more parents often shun vaccines. So, get ready. I’ve NEVER been so sick in my adult life.
- I abhor being the bad guy. Nevertheless, it is a necessary evil. Children must learn discipline. And trust, your little one may be small, but the intelligence level is greater than you might assume. And best believe, your little one will test you. The moment of truth will arrive when you will have to put your foot down. Through the cries and tears, you must remain resolute. Sure, you feel crummy afterwards, and you might even wonder if their little mind will formulate a lasting disdain for you. No worries, they’ll still love you
- Lastly, as a parent, you can bid farewell to your privacy. That translates to your little one pulling back the shower curtain like a reenactment of Psycho, brazenly interrupting your intimate time with the porcelain throne, and if you have lofty aspirations of adding an additional germ-spreading, sleep depriving – I mean – bundle of joy to your family, you better lock that bedroom door cowboy!