By Colin Bennett of Holy Sh*t I’m A Dad
No phrase was uttered more to my wife and me on our road to parenthood than that one.
If you’re about to have children, or recently had one, you’ve undoubtedly heard it a hundred times. The phrase comes out whenever you talk about the impending journey of child-rearing. Or topics ancillary to child-rearing.
“Oh, you’re tired now? Just wait until your child is screaming all night long.”
“Oh, you’re hungry? Just wait until you can’t eat for 36 hours because your child is demanding all of your attention.”
“Oh, you want to go to dinner tonight? Just wait until you have a baby and never leave the house for two months.”
“You think your child is fussy now? Just wait – soon he’ll be a teenager and he’ll call you a shithead for taking his weed away.”
There is nothing that you can say to a grizzled veteran dad about having a baby that he won’t one-up you on. It is the way of things. We’ve seen it all now – or at least we’ve seen worse than you. And boy howdy, we can’t fucking wait to tell you how deep in the shit we are.
That doesn’t mean it’s not exhausting for you, or that it’s a fair thing to put on new parents. Not a day went by in my office before my son came along that I didn’t hear the Office Moms laying into me because I wasn’t properly concerned about having a boy.
“Just wait,” the chorus rang out, “soon he’ll be peeing in your eye.” “Soon he’ll be keeping you up all night.” “Soon he’ll be trying to drink bleach.” “Soon he’ll take a dump on your computer.”
I didn’t really get it then, and in the months since I’ve gotten only slightly clearer on the subject. This conversation, more than anything, is just your indoctrination into the club of parents. Kidless Folk don’t get to share these kinds of concerns.
First, because we don’t see them that often anymore. Second, and more important, we are always trying to trick childless adults into having their own children. If we don’t get them to have children, we don’t get to have any fun. Because nothing, it seems, is more fun than looking at someone with a baby and laughing at them as they slip into the endless torment of child-rearing.
Still, I work really hard to not use the phrase “Just Wait” when I’m talking to prospective parents or people with brand new babies. I remember what it’s like when you just want everyone to be excited for you. I know how it feels to have every little milestone thrown back in your face with older parents playing a one-up game of shitty child stories. You deserve a little time to just bask in that new baby glow. There will be plenty of time for horror stories and untoward things happening to you and your partner.
But the truth is that parenting is downright defeating sometimes. And commiserating with other parents about how much it can suck helps. Laughing at the misfortune of other parents can only be appreciated when you’ve been there before. You’ll try, as you come out of the world of “Just Wait,” to be the supportive and ever-enthusiastic parent friend. But you, too, will get caught up in the club. It is the way of things.
If you don’t believe me, just wait.
This post was originally published on Holy Sh*t I’m A Dad.
About the Author
Colin Bennett is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad. He is the author of Holy Sh*t I’m A Dad, found at hsiad.wordpress.com. He’s 30 years old, and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a wife that’s out of his league and a 10 month old boy.