I’m writing this in a somewhat uncomfortable position. I’m sitting on my couch with the recliner out. My son is sleeping on my legs, waking up every few minutes to suck on his pacifier. The computer is sitting to my right, and I’m kind of twisted at the waist. This is representative of the experience of parenthood so far.
The thing about being a parent is that its rules are easy to follow. The child sleeps, and then they wake up. When they wake up, they want food. So you feed them, and maybe they go back to sleep, if you’re lucky. If not, it’s time to play. I jingle toys in front of him, show him black and white picture books, or pick him up and bounce him around. Not a single difficult task, there.
It’s the consistency of these tasks that can begin to wear you down. You have to be absolutely present for what is a fundamentally boring experience: you’re watching the kid drink milk. Or maybe you’re listening to a podcast while you do it…he can somehow tell. You have to be present.
It’s a rewarding experience, and one that runs completely counter to how millennials are used to operating. We have our phones and our social media, and it’s constantly giving us the dopamine drip, new experience, however shallow. Parenthood confronts you with this addiction, and it’s like quitting cigarettes cold turkey. If I could just reach into my pocket and wrestle my phone out…see if I have any texts…any Instagram messages…
But you can’t. If you try to get that phone out of your pocket, the kid wakes up and now you’re really fucked. Then it’s back to rocking, feeding, playing, walking…
And now his eyes have snapped open and he’s stretching. I’ve seen this pattern before. I know there’s no time left. In closing, I will say that I think the parenthood experience will be a good one overall, in that it will teach me more patience, less distraction…although it isn’t really about me anymore, is it?
Tough for a person in modern society to wrap their head around!