Parenting, as you might be aware, is the name we give to the rearing of children.
The rearing of a child – singular – is more accurately described as “keeping an eye on the kid” while the other parent has some time to do that thing.
It isn’t parenting.
If it were parenting, the having of time to be doing things would not be part of the equation.
You think it’s parenting when you first start doing it, because it impinges on the life you were used to; one that revolved around you, and your needs, and how they might be best met in the next five minutes.
But you recalibrate.
You follow your offspring around, helicopter parenting as a tag-team, and you tell anyone within listening distance the following things:
- You are tired.
- Your child is showing early signs of being gifted.
- Parenting is really hard.
People not currently raising two or more children might show an interest and give you sympathy. People who are, will not.
Eyebrows will be raised. Eyes will roll. These primitive forms of communication are in lieu of actual words…words that might look a bit like:
- No you’re not.
- No they’re not, they’ve got wind.
- You have no fucking idea.
Unfortunately, you will be too busy doting on your little bundle to notice.
The fact is, real parenting is a bit like chasing a big wheel of cheese down a steep Gloucestershire hill; it starts as a wacky idea, and before you know it you are committed, unable to turn back, and genuinely worried about how it’s all going to end.
But unless you try it for yourself you’re never going to know.
And there’s a reason why so many people who have one child take the plunge with two, or three, and give real parenting a go: peer pressure.
Those of us who’ve taken that plunge were talked into it by parents already doing real parenting. And we, in turn, pressure anyone we know with one child to do the same.
We say: “It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done…but you won’t regret it for a minute.”
We mean: “I am so sick of hearing how tired you are…once you have another child, we can talk. For now, you are dead to me.”
If we’re going down, we’re taking you with us.
It’s not big, it’s not clever, and it’s not logical.
But when you’ve been real parenting relentlessly for three or four years, big, clever, and logical become laughably irrelevant.
(Image: via pixabay.com)