As some of you know, my wife and I have begun to explore the possibility of having a kid. Backstory here (no, my current car was not a bribe to get me to agree to have a kid):
Anyway, for someone who is beginning to think about having a child, other people who are already parents can be valuable sources of information. They can give you tips, tricks, advice, warnings, etc. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen them give is a sense of fear and dread.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not accusing anyone of being a bad parent. I just think that people sometimes don’t realize what an impact their statements can have. For every happy or uplifting child-related status or photo that I see, there are at least two or three negative ones. It seems all I hear are things like “I used to have a clean car/house, but then I had kids.” “I used to have hobbies. Then I had kids.” “I used to have money. Then I had kids.” “I used to have things of my own. Then I had kids.” “I used to sleep. Then I had kids.” And so on.
Basically, many parents portray life with their children as exhausting, expensive, and sad. I know they don’t mean to, but that’s how it often comes across to perspective parents like myself. Sure, there are Facebook statuses and Instagram posts about the love and the snuggles and the cute sayings, but they seem eclipsed by the #stressedoutmom or #exhaustedparents posts. It’s all scary to me.
As someone who struggles with self-esteem and thinks being a halfway decent father is probably out of his reach, the negative connotations associated with parenthood make me alarmed and also make me feel selfish. I know, I know. Selfish? Yes. I don’t want a disgusting house. I don’t want a disgusting car. I don’t want to not have a life outside of the bathtub and the living room couch in front of Nick Jr. on the television. I don’t want to never sleep again. I don’t want to be broke 24/7. The list goes on.
Does that make me unfit to be a dad? Am I unable to care for a child because I am already putting my needs ahead of said child’s needs (even though the child doesn’t exist yet)? That’s how I feel. It’s all a world unknown to me and what little knowledge I have gained from others has been mostly negative.
I don’t know, maybe I’m listening to the wrong people. Maybe I’m looking at it with the wrong point of view. I am a certified pessimist, after all. But, with today’s social media obsession, it’s hard to take anything at face value. There’s more to many updates than there seems to be, and that “more” is often negative in some way. It has become human nature. We always see the “doom and gloom.” My wife even mentioned minivan ownership for us some day. If that’s not sad, I don’t know what is. (Kidding...sort of.)
Sorry for the rant. I would post this on my Facebook, but my assorted “friends” that all seem to have multiple children under the age of 5 (despite the fact that we’re all in our mid-20s) would be coming for me with pitchforks. Or diaper genies. Same difference.
A pic of my “family sedan” for your time.