It doesn’t have to be like this.
We’re sitting here very early at the Detroit airport, waiting to fly home from a long family visit. We stayed six different places, saw 4 sets of parents, 2 sets of grandparents, two brothers and sister in laws, 2 nieces, 8 aunts and uncles, 6 cousins (and four of their kids), and roughly 8 friends. It’s probably the longest we have been in Michigan since we moved 5 years ago and we feel we actually got to spend some time with people so that was nice.
My biggest annoyance as a pregnant lady is people saying something like, “You’ll change your mind about that” or “That’s what you think now” when we talk about parenting choices. Normally we hear this from disgruntled parents- the tired ones who remember the kind of parents they hoped to be and feel guilty about falling short. It upsets us both and is the one thing I will no longer tolerate. I know parenting will not go as expected- I’m not dumb. But every day if worry about having a healthy baby, about recovering from that process, and surviving as a family through the first year. I believe steakums and I will be fine through delivery but know we could not be. I do not fear for our lives but am nervous and scared about the whole thing so it’s nice to hold onto some optimism that we can do parenting our way. Quite frankly, I find the naysayers to be assholes.
That last few days we have been with our bet friends. They came to join us and my family at my dad’s and then we spent two nights at their house prior to them taking us to the airport today. Yesterday their daughter turned two. They visited us over her first birthday and we saw her at a relative’s house when she was around 3 months old. This was a fun visit with them and she’s great but there were so many reasons we left the Midwest and I wonder if our child would be raised like theirs if we were still there. Throughout our time with them Lesley and I kept looking at each other and saying, “It doesn’t have to be like this.” We know we can parent/live in a different way.
Their house looks like a toy store blew up. There are multiple play kitchen and other huge place play places. They have yet to get rid of a single toy. She has two tables where you can hit buttons that light up and they keep them both, despite one having no batteries. They keep the other because sometimes she hits the button sometimes and likes that it plays music. There is a child’s picnic table in the middle of the living room she eats at. There are piles of books in every room. It doesn’t have to be like this. Becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean losing every inch of my home.
Their house is filthy. I would say that it’s just cluttered but it is dirty. There is no organization to anything and straight up trash all over. It doesn’t have to be like this. Becoming a parent does not mean I cannot pick up after myself ever.
My best friend is stressed about their daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. They are hand making many of the decorations and preparing for 30 people. We spent most of out time there putting together gift bags and coloring Winnie the Pooh characters on poster board. It doesn’t have to be like this. Becoming a parent does not mean having to throw elaborate birthday parties for a kid who is 2.
Their daughter’s favorite treat is whipped topping. She is allowed to eat junk food. While my best friend tries to limit it her wife does not. It doesn’t have to be like this. Becoming a parent does not mean that you lose your ideals about not feeding your kid junk or at the very least does not mean that it’s okay to have yours and your partner’s behavior completely contradict one another.
While at my dad’s house it took them an hour to get a bag together to walk to a different family house across the street. It doesn’t have to be like this. Becoming a parent does not mean it has to take you forever to accomplish one task. (Especially not when the adult to child ratio is 2 to 1.)
They bought a minivan for their three person family so their daughter can watch movies in the car. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS!
I know that believing we can escape these things means that we may be in for a big surprise. While I love our friends and their daughter is well taken care of, healthy, and loved. I just have to keep my belief that our lives will be different than that.