8 Exciting Vistas that Parenting Makes Visible

1. Human Creativity:

You. Made. A. Person. YOU MADE A PERSON. Are you #%$&ing kidding?!? How cool is that?!? What else can you make?!? There is no #%$&ing spoon. None. If you can make a new person, clearly you can get it together to finish that novel, be a better spouse, clean the garage annually, etc.

2. Mortality:

Don’t get too excited, though, since your children are also evidence that your generation is, um, done creating. Demographers call it the replacement rate for a reason. You’re not just getting supplanted as the strongest, tallest, prettiest, etc member of your family—you are getting supplanted entirely. You are done creating. You are going to die, and parenting’s energy requirements, sleeplessness, etc, are only hurrying that fateful day along. Circle of Life!

3. Social Life Sea Change:

Whether you realized it or not, you are back on the dating scene. And this particular dating scene is even MORE awkward (no, really).

4. The Relative Importance of Sleep:

Good news! You’re going back to college! Up ‘til 2:30AM, cold leftovers for breakfast, sleeping on floors and couches, cleaning up weird bodily fluids, etc. Bad news! You still have to wake up at a grown adult time, don’t get to drink as much beer, have old and stiff joints, have a lean romantic life, etc.

5. Emotional Horizons:

Kids simultaneously augment and dull your sensitivities. You’ll start noticing extraordinarily tiny things that could threaten your kid (or their emotional stability, or their growth potential, or [insert parenting buzzword du jour here]). On the other hand, you’ll also become inoculated against crying kids in the corner of restaurants/airplanes/dr.’s offices. They just won’t bother you anymore. You won’t—up to a point—have any particularly ugly thoughts about their parents (since, you know, we’ve all been there).
Vista Overlook

6. Children’s Literature:

Children’s literature varies widely in quantity. It’s much harder to write than it looks at first blush. This won’t stop you from briefly thinking (at least once) that you have a great, actionable idea for a children’s book. “No matter how good/You think it may be/You’re dead wrong, my friend/Take it from ME.”

7. Selection Bias:

Selection bias works in every direction. When you’re ecstatic about parenting, you’re blind to those first dark months without sleep. When you’re spiraling downwards, toddlers’ smiles don’t even register.

8. Bodily Fluids:

Bodily fluids really aren’t that disgusting. After a while, wiping poop off your kid’s butt is no more consequential than peeling an orange. Seriously. Despite their reputation, college students are far more fastidious than parents. When someone boots on your floor in college, you freak out. When someone boots on the floor of a house containing infants, no one bats an eyelash.

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7 thoughts on “8 Exciting Vistas that Parenting Makes Visible

  1. I’ve said for a while that the single best analogue to having a kid is to pick up a really serious drug habit–something like Requiem for a Dream or Trainspotting. All of a sudden, the things you used to enjoy are less important, and you devote a huge amount of your time and effort to this new pasttime. You lose friends and replace them with others who share your new hobby, accept things that you never would have done before, and if anyone asks you will say–honestly–that you’ve never known anything this meaningful, even as it looks unpleasant to an outside observer. Honestly, the biggest difference is the relative esteem that society grants to each activity.

    (No offense intended, by the way–if this comes off as insulting, I sincerely apologize).

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    • As someone who regularly cleans up after four cats and an elderly pug, I can also see the parallels, especially given that said pug regularly wakes me between 5 and 6 a.m. needing to pee. But, unlike babies, my animals will never go through adolescence. Thank G-d!

      Great post!

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  2. There is a new series of Luvs ads, with a theme of “First Kid, Second Kid” and juxtapose a parent moving through a certain rite-of-passage with a first child and then with a second child. It’s a really great and clever series of spots that this post reminded me of. I am considering a write up of them, because the one involving breast feeding is generating some strong feedback.

    Regardless, as someone whose baby is do ANY MINUTE NOW, this is very timely advice.

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