becoming a parent.

Becoming a parent means accepting that your children come wrapped in worry, and that this worry will be a part of you for the rest of your life.

Becoming a parent means taking on a new passel of jobs: teacher, nurse, driver, bodyguard, caterer, entertainer, maid, therapist, consultant, security blanket, nutritionist, and a hundred others.

Becoming a parent means performing those duties twenty-four hours a day.

Becoming a parent means working seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year.

Becoming a parent means having to plan ahead every time you leave the house.

Becoming a parent means learning the value of logistics and redundant equipment, and that “two is one, and one is none” when it comes to diaper bags, strollers, and car seats.

Becoming a parent means knowing the magnitude of the crisis when you realize a favorite stuffed toy was left behind in a shopping cart that’s now ten miles away.

Becoming a parent means not minding the ticket you get on the way back to that grocery store.

Becoming a parent means learning to handle EPA-grade amounts of  bodily fluids and secretions without being bothered, regardless of how much they grossed you out before.

Becoming a parent means learning a whole new definition of the word “patience”.

Becoming a parent means saying good-bye to a neat house.

Becoming a parent means having all the songs from all the kiddie shows and movies permanently seared into your brain.

Becoming a parent means never being able to read about dead kids in the news again without imagining yourself in place of their parents.

Becoming a parent means rediscovering just how much fun it is to blow dandelion seeds into the wind.

Becoming a parent means that someone else’s injury can hurt you more than if the same injury was your own.

Becoming a parent means adopting a whole new level of intolerance for careless, reckless, and stupid drivers sharing the road with you.

Becoming a parent means structuring your vacations around anthropomorphic rodents and princess castles, rather than booze, parasailing, or hiking in Tuscany.

Becoming a parent means airline travel becomes less pleasurable than a root canal, and only slightly less stressful than participating in armed conflict.

Becoming a parent means realizing that the only time you had all the answers on child-rearing was before you started having them.

Becoming a parent means finding out that most things that used to make you upset aren’t really all that upsetting at all.

Becoming a parent means getting used to hearing–or saying–the same word or phrase a hundred times a day.

Becoming a parent means wishing painful and inventive torture on the manufacturers of “easy to assemble” toys every Christmas morning.

Becoming a parent means being the center of the world for another person.

Becoming a parent means trying to be the kind of person that you want your children to become.

Becoming a parent means being concerned with the state the world will be in after you’re gone.

Becoming a parent means having the occasional adult beverage with lunch already.

Becoming a parent means being able to say and hear the words “I love you” much more often than before.

Becoming a parent means deciding to not freak out over the permanent marker murals on the formerly white bedroom wall.

Becoming a parent means diligently transferring money into your kids’ education accounts before you even pay anything else out of that paycheck.

Becoming a parent means your own sickness and death are no longer your worst fears.

Becoming a parent means building another person’s ethical system and worldview, piece by piece, from the ground up, whether you actively try to do so or not.

Becoming a parent means having to lead by example.

Becoming a parent means having much less time to yourself than before.

Becoming a parent means continuing a quilt that was started hundreds of years ago, and then passing the quilt on to the next pair of hands when you’ve added your little bit.

Becoming a parent means seeing yourself in your children every day.

Becoming a parent means finding out that the amount of love you can feel is not finite.

Becoming a parent means having the permission–the obligation–to be silly again.

Becoming a parent means laughing at your younger self, the one that used to say “My children are never going to behave like that.”

Becoming a parent means seeing your own parents in a whole new light.

Becoming a parent means feeling like you’ve left vital parts of yourself behind whenever you leave the house alone.

Becoming a parent means being utterly humbled by unconditional love.

Becoming a parent means feeling the urge to get out of bed and sneak into the kids’ room at night, just to make sure they’re safely asleep and warm.

Becoming a parent means realizing that your children’s happiness has become a prerequisite for your own.

Becoming  a parent means embarking on a trip that’s one-way, without refunds or return tickets, and finding you wouldn’t have it any other way once you’ve started, no matter how many bumps there are along the way.

25 thoughts on “becoming a parent.

  1. Michael says:

    Becoming a parent means rediscovering that truly wonderful things – like “Daddy, I love you” – are not material things.

  2. Jen says:

    Being a parent means apologizing to your parents for being such a schmuck as a kid.

    Being a parent means trying really, really hard not to laugh while you scold.

    Being a parent means your heart is now and forever walking around outside your body.

  3. And one thing that you have yet to experience- it never ends. As a parent of 36 years, while the environment changes, most of those things stay the same…

  4. Cheryl says:

    I agree with all of it.

  5. Jumblerant says:

    Oh, so relevant. We had our first child on March 4th!!

  6. Lissa says:

    Oh, the things I have to look forward to . . .

  7. Chris Byrne says:

    Pulling a Scalzi there Marko?

  8. Marko says:

    Chris,

    just riffing off the last item in today’s MSTS.

  9. MarkHB says:

    “Becoming a parent means knowing the magnitude of the crisis when you realize a favorite stuffed toy was left behind in a shopping cart that’s now ten miles away.”

    Your face was priceless. Then again, I think I felt the blood depart points north myself on “American Bear is the the cart”.

  10. Jay G. says:

    Becoming a parent means that you are in condition orange ever time you take them anywhere.

    Becoming a parent means that sometimes you have to let them fall, get hurt, or fail.

    Becoming a parent means never being alone in the bathroom before 9PM.

    Becoming a parent means you trade in the sleek sports car for the roomy – and 5 star crash rated – SUV.

    Becoming a parent means you lose a little of yourself, but gain so much more you don’t even notice it.

    Becoming a parent means pulling random socks out of your jacket pocket from time to time.

    Becoming a parent means finding the occasional LegoMan in the air conditioning duct.

    Becoming a parent means tearing apart the central vacuum cleaner canister looking for the LegoMan who formerly resided in the air conditioning duct.

    Becoming a parent means searching YouTube for videos from the ’80s so your kids can laugh at how you used to dress.

    Becoming a parent means that you never stop teaching – or learning.

    Becoming a parent means you’ve joined an exclusive club, and your membership expires when you do…

  11. amen to all of that, marko…

    and *being* a parent means that laying down your own life to protect theirs, figuratively and literally, is a no-brainer…it’s an all-hearter.

    jtc

  12. Kristopher says:

    Take the kids hiking in Tuscany.

    They’ll remember that more than that loser rodent.

  13. Marko says:

    Oh, that’s on the schedule for 2015, for sure.

  14. paulcr39 says:

    Becoming a parent means you always have kleenex in each and every pocket, just in case.

    Becoming a parent means you say good bye to getting that G8 GT and instead getting your wife the GMC Acadia she and the girls want.😉

    Becoming a parent means that you can either change your wardrobe 3 or more times in a day or get used to the smell of spit up .

    Becoming a parent (of twins) means not caring that you teared up when telling your employees that one of your girls called you Papa for the first time. I teared up at that first Papa also.

    Becoming a parent (of twins) means working as many hours as I can so their mom can be the stay at home mom, all the while making sure they see enough of Papa to not wonder who that guy is that comes home every day at lunch.

    Becoming a parent (of twins) means you never really knew the meaning of the word tired before they came in to your life.

    Becoming a parent (of twins) means taking all of the above into consideration you would do it all again, happily.

    On a side note to doubletrouble: You are more correct than you know. This 44 year old father of 9 month old twin girls asked his 74 year old mother (after the girls, their mom and I returned from a 1:00 am visit to the emergency room) when do you stop worrying about them, she replied: never.

    BTW, why are all emergency room visits after 1:00 am ???

  15. crankylitprof says:

    Beautiful, Marko.

  16. perlhaqr says:

    Becoming a parent means when you’re worrying about all the stupid bullshit the government is doing to wrap the chains of slavery in a perfect mesh around every person on the planet, you’re playing for keeps.

    Which is a big part of why I’m not going to become one. Frankly, I hate the world, and unlike 52% of the US electorate, I have absolutely no hope at all for it. Why would I seek to inflict it on someone I’m nearly by definition going to care about and love, when I can spare them by simply not generating them in the first place?

  17. perlhaqr: your lament is the lament of parental generations immemorial…only the details of the particular fears have changed. but to each his own; a person who chooses to remain childless for whatever reason should certainly not have them.

    as for myself, being a parent is the one thing that does give me hope for the future, for what else is there, really? the logic of fear and hatred might point to deliberate obliteration, and thus solve and relieve you and me of our angst. but to deny my children and their children their very existence, and their opportunity to undo the harm done by my generation, even possibly to cure some of the root ills of society, is presumptious beyond my comprehension.

    not to mention the selfish fact that my own existence is defined and given purpose by theirs.

    jtc

  18. MarkHB says:

    perlhaqr,

    That’s one of the reasons I’m not planning on breeding. The freedoms I had as a kid have pretty much evapourated, and most of my freedoms were pretty shitty compared to those of my parents’ generation.

    It doesn’t seem worth giving up being the most important person in my life just to hand over a shit sandwich. But I’m a very, very selfish person, I acknowledge that with no shame.

  19. Rick in NY says:

    Becoming a parent means spending hours and hours reading to them. Even if it is only a 5 minute bedtime story, they add up.

    Becoming a parent means you got promoted to live-in math/chemistry/english/etc tutor, even if you flunked these classes yourself.

    Becoming a parent means you have to answer lifes’ hard questions: Why is the sky blue? Why is grass green?

    Becoming a parent means eventually you will have to let them go on that first date, though you will darn sure still be up when they get home.

    Being a parent means it falls to you to teach them what’s important but is no longer PC and not taught in school.

    Being a parent means sometimes you have to punish your kids when they’ve been bad, then going to your room because you feel that you’re the one who failed them.

    Being a parent means you get to jump up and down screaming your kids name at the top of your lungs at a school sports event because you are their biggest fan.

    Being a parent means driving to the hospital at 1:00am, hearing your wife say “she’s turning blue” knowing that hospital can not get close enough soon enough to suit you.

    Being a parent means waking up and seeing the miracle of life, every day.

  20. Trebor says:

    It looks like Maj. Caudill has hit another one out of the park. Expect to see this everywhere soon.

  21. Laughingdog says:

    “It looks like Maj. Caudill has hit another one out of the park. Expect to see this everywhere soon.”

    Damn, you beat me to it (the basic idea at least). I was wondering how long it would be before I was getting this emailed to me by friends with it being attributed to Dear Abby, or something similar.

  22. JIGSAW says:

    Becoming a parent makes experiencing the “joy of silence” a RARE occurrence.

    (loved the list) …

  23. perlhaqr says:

    Pawnbroker: Sure, but it does mean that things like this: http://republicbroadcasting.org/?p=763 don’t weigh so heavily on my soul.

  24. upmaan says:

    beautifully penned thoughts .. really appreciate ..

    pls go through me experiences and provide your valuable feedback…

    http://upmaan.wordpress.com/category/fatherhood-experiences-being-a-father/

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