11 things I've learned from having parents for friends
April 14, 2016 at 9:30 am
At just a few months shy of 26, I’m jumping for all joy that I’m childless. Being a parent is a hard, never-ending job. It requires wearing more hats and taking on more roles than you imagine humanly possible. Being a parent these days can be like planting a tree in a barren field and watching over it day and night to make sure it grows strong and tall and becomes a contributing part of society. Or it can feel like someone giving you the best gift ever, then attaching an 18-year, 100% APR and a million dollar price tag to it. Because that’s how much babies cost, right? Either way, parenting is weird.
What’s even weirder is being friends with parents. Some of my friends either have babies or are expecting. They’re tasked with things like planning play dates, hiring babysitters, nap time, tummy time, feeding time. They have to worry about travel accommodations, time zones, and what material a car seat is made from. Some of them are sleep deprived while others thrive on burning the candle at both ends. Some of them are scheduling pros and find ways to get out and be who they were before being a parent, while others can’t even remember what time they last changed the baby. I’ve been taking notes and here are 11 things I’ve learned while being friends with millennials who have kids.
1. Spontaneity requires extra planning
There is no such thing as being spontaneous unless there has been some serious planning on one side. It might be a pleasant surprise for one parent, but trust me, the other one has been going nuts in the background finding a sitter and sourcing food for an infant who eats like a grown man.
2. Date nights are non-negotiable
Watching the way my friends’ faces light up when they get a night off from mommy or daddy duties is the same look they get when they learn that the grandparents are coming to town for a week. In the parenting world, that is a big deal. You have to make time for just you two. Oh, sweet peace.
3. Parents hustle even harder
I don’t know what kind of friends you surround yourself with, but my friends all turn up their hustle game exponentially after having a baby. I guess having a tiny human to take care of is the greatest motivator.
4. Your tiny apartment is now a tiny obstacle course
Kids love to play. The unbridled energy these tiny humans possess might drive you to drink. You have to watch them. They’re fast.
5. Parents are weary of everyone
Some people are actually not going to be great around your kids. You have to be selective. You might lose a few friends, but in the end it’s worth it. Whether it be attitudes or ailments, everyone who encounters a baby needs to be screened.
Now here are the things that I’ve learned about myself by having friends with kids:
1. I do not want to change a diaper
The very high probability of being showered in pee (or worse), is terrifying. Somehow, getting baby diarrhea on my fingers has become one of my most prominent nightmares.
2. I need to get my savings account off of life support
The cost of living is high enough, add on a baby to all that you are responsible for in the foreseeable future and that price skyrockets. I need to get my finances in order before a baby. That might seem obvious to some, but actually executing this is a lot harder than you might think.
3. Babies love me
I don’t know if it’s the way I cross my eyes or the obvious look of confusion they recognize on my face that really puts them at ease, but whatever it is, it works. Babies run to me with their chubby little hands and their monosyllabic vernacular, ready to wear me out playing peek-a-boo for two hours straight.
4. Baby vomit is the worse
Baby puke is merciless in its destruction of clothing. I feel like I would have the child with the most incredible projectile vomit skills. Oh, you thought you would get dressed before me and stay put together? Think again.
5. I can’t be a deadbeat mom
Having such great influences around, I can’t drop the ball. Watching my friends with their kids has really set the bar high. I need to bring my A-game to parenting. Also, there is no room for petty when you have kids.
6. It’s a forever thing
I’m sure we all joke that our responsibilities to our children will have an expiration date of 18 years and then we are tapping out. The truth is, parenting continues even when your children become parents. Live up your current freedom because if you plan on—or don’t plan on—having kids, they change everything.
Here’s to still figuring out this adult gig.