By Charissa West of The Wild, Wild West
In college, I spent my fair share of time in Greek life and I can confidently say that parenting is a lot like being at a fraternity party. The people are irrational, everything is filthy, and there are way too many bodily fluids. Here are, in no particular order, four stark similarities between parenthood and your run-of-the-mill frat bash:
#1 Nakedness – At a frat party, if you made no cups in a game of beer pong, the standard penalty was to run a naked lap. My boys need no such excuse. Nudity happens at the most random times and I don’t even have what I would call “naked” kids” — you know, the kind who just really dislike wearing clothes. Sometimes there’s a reason provided, however suspect: “My tushy itches,” “My underwear were bothering me,” “I fell in the potty” (yep, that has happened here). More often than not, the reason remains a mystery.
#2 Potty Incidents. You expect that parenting is going to come with its share of potty-related disasters. What you don’t expect is the frequency with which these disasters occur and the lack of warning that accompany them. I would love it if my morning (this very morning, to be precise) didn’t start with “Mommy, can you check my underwear to see if I pooped? It feels weird in there…” This is not unlike a frat house, where potty incidents are also commonplace–some expected (someone drinks too much and pees their pants), some completely unexplained (like discovering an unclaimed dump in the middle of the floor with no toilet paper in sight).
Beyond true accidents, my children also share the absolute disregard for toilet-aiming that is observed in frat houses around the country. Sometimes, the good times, it’s just a few sprinkles on the seat. Other times, it’s a puddle on the floor and an all-out aerial assault on the walls (this is why we can’t have nice things!). I’ve decided that the only way guests in our house will be able to use a truly clean bathroom is if I clean it while said guest is actually on the toilet (now there’s a “hospitable” image).
#3 The House. Like any frat house, the residence is a mess. As the mother of three boys, I can tell you with certainty that “The Brothers” do no cleaning. Sure, they occasionally pretend to help out here and there (Look, Mommy, I put my napkin in the trash), but for the most part, they are thrashing about willy-nilly, leaving havoc in their wake. No need to wait another 15 years for college: these boys are ready for Chi Psi now.
In college, the newest members of the fraternity did all the grunt work. Unfortunately for you, in Kappa Kappa Parenthood, the traditional Greek seniority system is reversed. When The Brothers finally pass out, they leave the pledges behind (that’s you, Mom and Dad) to clean up their mess. Like the true pledges that you are, you’re overtired and overextended, so you do a half-assed job of picking up before passing out yourselves, leaving the house better than before but still relatively messy. When tomorrow’s party starts up (and it’s a rager every day in frat row), the damage continues and it’s a steady decline into Animal House filth.
#4 Intense emotions. The family frat party can go from love and kindness to a WWE cage match in record time. No sooner can I unbutton my pants (and by unbutton, I of course mean slide down my button-less yoga pants) than I hear the death shrieks from one or more of the boys down the hall. There is intense affection between my kids or blood-boiling rage. There is rarely any in-between.
You are an attendee at this party, too. You know when you’ve had one too many beers and you just loooooove everyone so much or it’s just sooooooo unfair how mean everyone is being to you or you could just kick something because you’re sooooooo angry? Parenting is just like that: your emotions are heightened at all times. I have looked at my precious babies more times than I can count and thought “I just love them so much I could die right now.” The mere sight of their sweet little cherub-faces can bring me to tears with no notice whatsoever. My children share this feature with Jose Cuervo.
At the same time, the depths of my exhaustion and frustration have also never been deeper. Before parenthood, I thought I knew exhaustion. I was tired for a few hours or maybe even a few days, but I didn’t know what it was like to endure years of minimal sleep. I was never the type to pull all-nighters and I preferred day-drinking soirees so I could have my fun and be happily in my bed by 10 p.m. Now? Now, I attend all-night baby and toddler raves, night after night. I am never more than 30 seconds from passing out at any time or any place. Once again, parenthood shares this feature with Jose Cuervo.
This list could probably go on forever, but naptime is over and the pledge-masters beckon. Cheers!
This post was originally published on The Wild, Wild West.
Image credit: Eli Duke / Flickr
About the Author
Charissa West is a high school classroom teacher turned stay-at-home, work-at-home mother. When she’s not chasing around her three young sons, she teaches online classes and works as a freelance writer. She also shares her honest, sarcastic thoughts on motherhood on her blog, The Wild, Wild West (https://www.thewildwest3.com). Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/thewildwest3 Instagram: https://instagram.com/thewildwest3/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/thewildwest3