On the topic of children

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On the topic of children

Postby Neo » 08/3/18, 9:17 pm

It was no secret that I wanted to wait until I was 30 to have children; and that I wanted to have twins, so that they "would have someone to play with and leave me alone."

Obviously the reasoning was as short-sighted as one would expect from an early 20-something with no real responsibilities around children.

Now, I've had one for what will be 15 months tomorrow...and for the 2nd time in as many months I have contracted the sickness she has contracted from playing with other babies.

I made the comment to my wife earlier in the day that "contracting [the kid's] every illness is one of the Top 5 things I dislike about children." It was an off-the-cuff reference to a list that didn't exist in the moment I said it; however, I feel like there are really probably only 5 things I dislike about kids in general.

Before I go into any of that, though, I do want to share how my perspective has changed, even over the course of 15 months, since becoming a father...with the most important point being:

If my child were to suddenly disappear from my life, I couldn't imagine any reason for the rest of my existence. If anything, she has given purpose to the next 18 years of my life. Without her, there would be no point.

But with her...I can come up with 3 things at this point that bother me, reserving 2 spots for what I am sure will occur sometime in the next 17 years. I am having a hard time determining which should be #2 or #3, but since it's top-of-mind right now, I'll start with the sickness.

She doesn't speak English, because she's only been on this planet for 1 year, and only picked up a few word-object pairings...so when we try to explain that we are trying to help her by wiping her green shot-streams out from between her nose and mouth, it doesn't register with her. So she fights it, wipes it with her hands, puts her hands all over the place - including our faces - as she struggles to move our hands/arms/bodies away from her, all while we are trying to avoid contracting her illness.

It doesn't matter. I still contract it...because it's been rubbed into the carpet - it's on the furniture - it's in the air, as she sneezes right into my breathable air while holding her - it's present in her dirty diapers - on her clothes - on her toys. There is no escape from it. If any baby in the "group" gets sick, I am going to smurfing get sick, and I smurfing hate getting sick.

And then my wife believes she can "hope" or "will" the sickness away... or take homeopathic OTC remedies instead of actual medicine. Germs don't work like that.

And so (I guess) "#2" would be the strain that having a kid puts onto the relationship - which may be completely imaginary on my part. But to me it feels she has to do all the work when it comes to family & house...but also works part-time to get that Starbucks health insurance. So I try to help when I know what can/needs to be done... but I also try to balance it with working my own job full-time as the main income.

It's not much different from when I was a kid, and my dad was gone to work from 6a-6p, and my mom would go out at night and sell Tupperware - but I don't remember much from those days, and I certainly don't know what kind of legitimate description of the relationship I could get from my parents about that time - seeing as how my mom was unhappy with the relationship from the time I was 2. The only other kind of parental relationship I know of was one in which the dad/stepdad worked and the mom/stepmom stayed home...or also worked with no young kids at the house.

Having to balance what needs to be done around the house, and what needs to be done to ensure we can both perform our duties at work leads to the #1 issue for me, which is "my life is not my own anymore."

On the weekdays the schedule hasn't changed much:
  • wake up at 8am
  • work at 9am
  • dinner at 5:30pm
  • shared DVRs at 6:30pm (now it is dishes/kid time 6-7pm)
  • video games at 7:30pm
  • bed at 10:30pm
The Weekends and "PTO" from work are where it hit me harder. Previously the schedule was:
  • Video games from 8am - 10:30pm
  • * Optionally/Conditionally leave the house, yard work, or eat
Now that there is a child around, there is no such thing as "taking a vacation day" from work... Work is my release from the uncertainty of #2 and lessens my exposure to #3. I took a week off between Christmas 2017 and New Years 2018, expecting to do nothing but play video games during what would have otherwise been my work hours.

No, that doesn't happen when you're a parent. If you're home, you're a 100% increase in capacity to handle the issues of the moment: diapers, baby relief, chores, etc.

Why? Well, just because you can put in for some time to not take care of responsibilities with your employer, it doesn't mean that the other parent gets to put in for some time to not take care of the responsibilities of the child. Everyone is always working... you work at the office, or you work at home...and there's no relief unless someone else takes the child for the weekend (like your parents, or a babysitter).

Eventually that smurf-poo wears you down... or at least it wears me down. And that's why I'm typing this. I was "given" 2 days off of work this week for completing the project I have been working on for the past year - and 2 days off of works means 4-days ON at Sick Baby Care Inc. where your payment is an open mouth, full tongue lick from a sick baby.

And don't you think for a second my wife and I aren't in a competition for who gets more kisses during the day... ;)

Is this normal, or am I just ill-prepared to be a parent?
[[Neo]]
"Because I choose to."

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