Non-parents can never know the glamour.
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 97 13:40:18 -0700
Subject: Non-parents can never know the glamour.
Forwarded-by: Keith Bostic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: "Keith E. Sullivan" <KSullivan@worldnet.att.net>
Parents: Take Time To Decompress
-- by Randy Shore
I used to think I had a fairly busy life. I was a young man starting out
as a reporter in Vancouver, working many weekends and evenings and had an
active social calendar.
Clubs, drinks with friends, fishing, golf, girlfriends (later reduced to
girlfriend, then permanent emotional entanglement), dogs, and non-stop fun
were the staples on my smorgasbord of life.
So, when my wife Darcy said to me, "I want to have a baby," I immediately
responded. "Well, I'd like to get in a quick 18 holes before the barbecue."
Darcy insisted she was quite serious and so did I.
"Look, can this wait? I just had a shower," I said in a stunning display
of selflessness, then realizing my error continued. "It sounds like a great
idea to me; you run with it, I'll be back at about three."
And so it was done.
Perhaps surprisingly, Darcy decided to have her baby with me. Bachelors
envision fatherhood as a non-stop purgatory of crappy diapers, screaming
kids, nagging cranky wives and utter destitution. Most fathers I know wish
it were really that easy. But aside from learning the truth about life with
children, I have learned that it is absolutely essential to hold onto
something from that near-forgotten former life.
The most difficult part of childrearing is its relentless nature. Toddlers
rise at dawn and, possessing all the civilized manners of a charging phalanx
of Huns, want to eat something ... right then ... in the morning ... before
even a cup of coffee is made. This is a demand that Darcy is physically
incapable of satisfying and therefore falls to me. I accommodate, but it
is only the first in a series of demands by Keiran the Incorrigible that
continue until nightfall. Men wonder why their wives begin to narrate their
lives after having children. Simple. Children want continuous running
commentary on everything that is going on and the minute you break contact
to have a thought of your own, your toddler is tucking into a bar of soap
or scaling the stereo cabinet.
Have a child and never be alone again. But think about the pressure of
doing a 13-hour stand-up routine while performing household chores. Then
do it 900 times in a row. Now nod your head as the motivations of mass
murderers start to make more and more sense.
Four months ago we added a second emotional black hole to our daily schedule
and, although significant improvements were made over previous model years,
the claim to "low maintenance" should be viewed with some skepticism. A
not-previously-advertised feature in the 1996 model is the optional need
for sleep. This a luxury we could have done without, but Dylan the Dynamic
cannot be stopped. He doesn't sleep at all some days and when he does it
is usually for less than 15 minutes at a time. Non-parents can never know
the glamour of having to choose between a bowel movement and brushing your
teeth as a personal day's accomplishment. I usually get to do both, but I
am fortunate enough to work outside the home five days a week.
So now our days start around 5 a.m. and end -- if we are lucky -- around 10
p.m. and God help you if you don't get to sleep right away.
Darcy and I try to spell one another off, letting the other sneak away to
the basement to play a computer game or just sob uncontrollably, but
periodically it is essential that dads, and moms especially, breathe the
rare air of total freedom. A natural martyr, Darcy can be tough to pry out
of the house.
Suggest a round of golf or a party at a friend's home and she will sigh
despondently, "Oh well, have fun," implying that she -- as always -- will
make the ultimate sacrifice and stay with the kids while I go off and have
a good time spending our children's milk money on booze and cheap women, an
attitude that can take the fun out of going out.
This is a warning sign. You must force your wife to golf or at least have
a drink with a little umbrella in it in the golf course lounge. Ignore
these signs and you will come home one day to find your One True Love
perched on the roof with a high-powered rifle and your next door neighbours
pinned down behind a hedge.
HELPFUL HINT: the word "diaper" should never be used while talking her down.
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© 1997 Peter Langston