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OMG. I’m on the Other Side

Last night, a good friend texted, “I hate everything and everyone.”

We aren’t in regular contact, but we trade messages when we’ve reached the ends of our ropes. She has a 5-year-old and a 9-month-old.

She continued, “Am I a bad parent if I want to give my children away? The oldest one does not stop whining. Ever. And the youngest doesn’t stop crying. I may have to commit myself.”

I responded, “Yes. You’re a bad parent. And you’re on the bad parent bus with me as the driver. And let’s face it – do you really wanna be on a ‘good parenting’ bus with someone who can’t say a bad thing about their kids?”

Her husband was home watching TV with their older son, the baby was in the crib (crying). I told her “Go scream into a pillow. Go outside and lie on the sidewalk and stare at the sky. Go. You have the right. Have a drink. You’ve earned it.”

Then texting felt silly and I called her and said, “Vent. Vent away.”

“I’m so sick of it,” she unloaded. “And I know we just have to get through this stage and things will be easier when the baby’s a year old and I’d just forgotten how tough it can be but the older one is just so whiny all the goddamn time and I feel like I’m short-changing both of them, and…”

I listened and thought, “Wow. I remember everything she’s talking about, and I think I’m on the other side.”

We laughed and I talked about my coping mechanisms: blogging, self-flagellation, and…I admit…an occasional cigarette – it just felt so good to do something so bad for a few solitary minutes after kids went to bed. (And after 4 puffs I felt nauseous, anyway. No fear of addiction, here.)

While talking with my friend, I was astounded that, for once, I was the listener instead of the venter (despite the fact that sometimes I wake up in the morning calculating the minutes until bedtime.) I even had the cliché thought: “It was so hard, but I can’t even remember why. It’s a blur.”

Oh, but then I did remember something specific: #tearlesscrying. That encompassed 18 months of hell, for me.

She went on, “I know it’ll get easier soon.”

All I could think was: “If by ‘soon’ you mean 18 months, then…yes. It will get better soon.”

She’s just about to enter the age where my youngest grew into “dear-lord-when-will-the-whining-agony-end-did-I-kick-a-puppy-in-a-prior-life-to-merit-this?” hell.

I know…the difficulty isn’t over for me. But the irrationality of non-communicative toddlerhood is over. And talking to my friend, I had the realization that…I might actually be on the other side.

Things do get (slightly) easier…just like people told me a year ago…and just like I said to my friend on the phone, “It’s funny. Of all our friends, you’re the closest ‘behind’ me on the path…so I get it. Call and vent to me any time. It’s still fresh in my mind.”

“I know. Thanks. I will. I know it’ll all get better, soon.”

No, it won’t. Hee-hee.

Parenting is (slightly) more manageable, now. It’s still herding cats and repeating myself 17 times, and negotiating with an irrational (manipulative, stubborn, irascible, adorable) 2 ½ year old.

It’s still rolling my eyes and losing my temper when “no” results in immediate histrionics from my 4-year-old.

It’s still lost sleep and crying over a damn pacifier…(toddler tears, not daddy’s.)

But it is easier, now.

I dreamed this day would come, but reality hit me when I was the listener, not the venter…when I heard someone else lament their asshole baby and I respond, “I know. I get it. I’ve been there. I don’t know how I got through it. But you will, too.”

The view is different from this side.

And the future still looks daunting.

I think I’ll go have a drink. I’m earning it.

 

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This entry was posted in: blog

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I'm a father of two young boys living in New York and trying to cope with style and humor. I've founded a baby gear company, "George E. Knox" catering to stylish dads.

4 Comments

  1. EARNED IT! I am instantly a fan of your writing, and followed your phone call with your friend to the end. I have a 7 month old and only have a few friends ahead of me that can provide sound advice in my time of need. I’m slowly learning, as I start to blog about parenting myself and have the more than occasional cigarette, that it’s all in the community of supporters you have to reaffirm that this will pass and is worth every drooling smile! And oh damn, does the wine taste sweeter! Looking forward to your adventures as your new follower. -Kristina

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the enthusiasm, Kristina. A 7-month-old. Ah…you’re in a sweet spot, there. Enjoy this adorable time. It only gets…uh…better and better from here on out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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