Thoughts on Parenting

I am now at "that age." The rate at which my friends have been procreating went from a trickle to an ocean tide and now everyone is having babies! All the babies are everywhere! It's a baby tsunami! Babenami!

Of course, in true childless-person fashion, I am acting like there is an ocean of babies that have risen up and crashed over my life, sweeping houses and farm animals out of the way, when really there have been like six new babies in my world in the past few years.

As a childless person who has observed more than three babies and parents in action (so, tsunami levels), I feel like I am in a reasonable position to have some opinions on the matter, and of course, I will share them with you on the internet! Because the internet is for people to share their TOTALLY EDUCATED opinions about children and how to raise them!


Let me tell you about parenting:

Becoming a parent seems sort of like getting a brand new job where they just sort of point you at a work station and then walk away and you're like, "but... but... help?" Except the job is to keep a tiny creature alive, and everyone tells you how you're supposed to do it (and how you're supposed to feel while you do it) and all their advice is different and you don't get to sleep and you need to go pee, but WHAT IF THIS CREATURE DIES WHILE YOU PEE??? Possibly, this all happens while your body heals from major trauma.

While all this is going on, you're not allowed to talk about it too much because then people will be annoyed that all you do is talk about your baby, even though when they got a new job all they did was talk about their new job, and sometimes people only have one thing to talk about and that should be OKAY!

Some parents go outside every day, taking their baby for walks and hikes and to baby yoga and for coffee with friends. Other parents stay at home most days, cuddling and recovering from body trauma and sleeping and mashing up bananas. APPARENTLY, what matters most is that the parents do what works best for them, not what you think you would do.

Some parents are happy to leave their baby with friends or grandparents or their partner for hours to go out and do something else, maybe something with you. Others want to stay with the baby all the time. Apparently, this is also a matter of the parent doing what's best for them? And their baby?

It turns out it's possible to watch someone do something you wouldn't do and keep your mouth shut about it the ENTIRE TIME. Even if they are a parent dealing with their child, and even for the rest of your life. Really.

It's a sad truth about the world that not all parents love their children. I do not think this is true of most parents, and assuming this of anyone seems about as smart as assuming that a random car driving down the street is going to try to mow you down on the sidewalk - it's technically possible, but not likely.

Okay, if what they're doing is actually endangering the child - like in a real way, like it might fall on its head or ingest poison? Then maybe just catch the baby or take the poison away and find a very gentle way to mention it because it was probably a mistake and the parent will probably feel TERRIBLE when they realize it and you don't need to explain to them why it was wrong because they know it was wrong and are just trying not to cry all the time and maybe they just finally got to go pee.

It is hard to know exactly what a parent needs. Is it food? Help cleaning? Someone to hold the baby while they shower? Conversation? Conversation about the baby? Not about the baby? Answers: who doesn't want food? No one. If you are unsure about other things, just ask. Or better yet, offer to do it so all they have to do is mutter, "OMG thanks."

Since we are alive, our parents and grandparents lived at least to child-rearing ages, and humans from all over the world grow to adulthood, there is probably not one way to raise a child.

Parents are really just doing their best, guys.


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Comments

SMLois said…
As a single, childless woman in your circle I can't decide if it's most or least appropriate for the photo to be of me holding a baby :)