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Friday, 3 May 2013

Thoughts on Parenting: Easy to Judge When You Don't Have Children

I've always found it quite strange that people view parenthood as a natural progression into maturity, but fail to recognize the amount of time and effort that goes into raising a child. Yesterday as I was going for my walk, I decided to sit at the park for a bit before heading back home. I was watching children with their parents and thinking about how it will soon be my generation and their children that inhabit the park. Strange. As I watched the parents, the image of a father in his late twenties to early thirties, pushing his five year old daughter on the swing with one hand, while talking into his cellphone with the other caught my eye. I remembered that I had seen him an hour ago in the beginning of my walk, again talking on his cellphone. It dawned on me that he didn't want to be there at all, and mentally he wasn't there. His restless daughter kept trying to get his attention and got nothing. I couldn't understand why a person like that would choose to have a kid.

Then I remembered a stand-up skit by Louis CK where he speaks about his children and how annoying they can be, and it made me laugh and a bit more sympathetic (although not much because I just can't wrap my head around a father who's on the phone the whole time he's with his kid at the park.) One of the biggest reasons that people choose to have children is that people think it will give them a sense of self fulfillment; it will complete them. Is it just me or is that a really bad reason? Having children is hard, and I don't think the issue is about them "completing" you, whatever that means, but about trying to not let them tear you to shreds. I just mean that it takes a lot out of you, physically and emotionally.

Also, parents are never given the right to complain about how annoying their children can be or how much they don't feel like dealing with them, and god forbid if they display these feelings publicly. I even had a look of pure disgust on my face when I was observing this careless father, but then I thought about myself and that if I had a child I'd probably bring vodka? tequila? spiked punch and Advil with me to the park everyday (for myself, not the child..what kind of a parent do you think I am?!) I was so entranced by this family that I forgot that I was completely staring and I think the father thought I was interested in him because he kept looking at me. Either that or he was scared for the safety of his daughter at the possibility that I could be a total creep. It was then that I thought it best to leave and head back, so I smiled at my own awkwardness and I left.