Sunday, December 23, 2012

Les Miserables

Sometimes I just have to marvel at this whole parenting thing.

Every sociological survey shows the same thing--parents are miserable creatures.  On every possible scale of happiness, parents of young kids score significantly lower than people without kids.

And man, is that an obvious 'duh' conclusion to me.  As a parent, I realize now that sleeping more than 3 hours at a time is a privilege.  Not a right.  A privilege.

And so is eating when you're STARVING.  And private bathroom time.  I can't tell you how many times I'm trying to have a private moment in the bathroom and for some inexplicable reason my toddler is there.  Even if I tell the spouse that I'M IN THE BATHROOM SO DON'T TAKE HIM NEAR ME--after about 20 seconds of alone time I'll hear "Let's see what mommy's doing.  Let's go find mommy."  WTH?!

And you know your life is sad when going to the office feels like going on vacation.  How sad when you happily exchange the stress of constantly wrangling with your kid with the stress of high-pressure deadlines and cranky bosses.  At least my cranky boss doesn't follow me into the bathroom stall and whine unceasingly when I'm on the phone or surfing the internet for 5 minutes.

The other day, in utter exhaustion, I told my spouse "I think we made a huge mistake having a kid.  Huge mistake."  It was yet another long day of wrangling and administering multiple time-outs and all I wanted was to have a peaceful dinner, with the spouse, in front of the tv, watching whatever documentary Tivo deemed worthy of our preferences.  That's not asking much right?

Do you know when the last time we got to do that was?

That's right, before the kid was born.

Now we never watch Frontline.  We never even eat at the same time.  Come to think of it, we never go on dates.  We never go on hikes.  We never watch movies in the theater.  We never go to restaurants.  We never go shopping.  So in short...we never have fun.

All this to say, why do people do this to themselves?

Maybe with your first kid, you didn't know any better.  You were young, ignorant and childless.  But why do people then have a second kid?  And some have even more after that?!

Because.  As a parent, you discover an amazing paradox.  There are moments.  Brief shining moments when you realize there's something so inexpressibly divine about loving another human being simply for no other reason than his existence.

There's something so incredibly freeing about being completely tied down.

To give your whole self without reserve and without conditions.  To make your happiness forever and directly proportional to the happiness of another.

To love with your whole heart.

As that great last line sung by Jean Valjean reminds us (sigh, yet another awesome movie I will probably never see in the theater thanks to parenthood)--to love another person is to see the face of God.

Who knew wiping another person's poop day in and day out is indeed holy ground?


CM said...

Love this post.
(And I'm here to tell you that while you should train your husband to keep the kid out of the bathroom, it won't make a difference -- he'll turn his back and the kid will find his way in. I can't tell you how many times X bursts in and tries to get me to move over so he can sit on the potty too, while my husband follows, futilely calling, "Mommy needs privacy!")

Alice in Wonderland said...

Hilarious! Husbands are kinda useless.