This is totally going to come as a surprise, but I am here to tell you right now that Babies Are Hard. Not hard like you can cut diamonds with them hard, but hard like, Ohhhh, they’re so haaaaaarrd, like the way Barbie thinks math is. And! Get this. Not only are babies hard, but kids in general. Hard!
Hey. Can you spare me a tiny detour segue thing? Because I really wanted to share this with you. And by this, I mean the awesome Jamie and Jeff’s Birth Plan over at McSweeney’s. Go on. I’ll wait. Because 1) in my world it relates to this post and 2) how can you NOT weep from pure happiness at birth plan talking points that refer to Zoey Deschanel, Oregon Tilth, Gisele Bundchen, texting, and placenta donation?
Back to the whining. So, in my world, if you take Jamie and Jeff’s Birth Plan (and all its social implications, because, this stuff has to come from somewhere) and add to it Yes, All New Parents Are Lame and Selfish But C’mon, Man, over at Jezebel, and you get a picture of the future.
Defensive, crankypants twentysomething: sorry, Jezebel writer Tracy Moore, but I judge you. Your life-as-you-knew-it is over now, and your beautifully crafted, clever essay is not going to make me believe that you are not now trying to tell your former friends (Ghosts of the Past You) that they Just Don’t Get You, because, well, you MADE A PERSON and they did not? And that making a person (read: wearing baby poop, being eye-blindingly tired, and alienating your former friends because they can’t relate to your incessant talk about baby poop) is way more meaningful, then, say, inventing the thing that brings clean water to Africa?
Dear parents who might spawn again, and dear everyone who might one day have a baby, let’s be clear on one thing: you will probably never get just how hard it is to have a kid.
If we really knew how hard it is to have kids, more of us wouldn’t.
But we forget. We turn a blind eye. We smell babies’ heads and necks. We start nesting. And we just know that we can do it. We will be awesome parents! We won’t make the mistakes our parents did, or we will and it will all turn out anyway. We forget how hard, because if we didn’t? If we remembered and really thought about this giant step we make when we put Tab A into Slot B and make a person? Then maybe we wouldn’t even be here. None of us would be here.
But we do. We do the Tab A/Slot B thing. We make people. And it is really hard. Because we care and we want to do it right.
So dear New Parents, you people who are trying to figure it out and have it make sense and have your life while you do this Make a Person thing, stop trying so hard. Stop whining about it. Don’t just suck it up and stuff it down, but start thinking about trust. Capital-T Trust, the kind that comes when you tap into eons of person-making experience of our collective ancestors and you remember that the little person in the crib over there is going to make it — maybe even despite your best efforts. That little person in the crib over there has a drive to survive. That’s why his neck smells like bottled awesome. That’s why she learns to smile right about the time you’re ready to throw her out the window from the crying, but you don’t because your heart is melted into a puddle on the floor and you are more in love with her than you ever thought you could love another person, because this person is part of you and that never stops.
Stop whining. Start Trusting.