One of the most challenging things about becoming a parent is changing the way you go about your daily life. Suddenly, you can’t just get brunch any old time you want, or book tickets to a concert, or do basic things like shop at the grocery store without thinking about what the hell you’re going to do with your child. After all, that tiny person needs full-time care and attention, and if you’re not the one giving it to him, who is? Babysitters are expensive, daycare isn’t always an option, and some people don’t have any relatives nearby to help. It can be a real hassle. And that’s something I understand, even not having any children yet myself. I often ask myself what I would do in certain situations if I had a baby, because I am one of those people who lives far away from family and would struggle to meet the demands of both a child and my career and social life. But that being said, the list of things that people are and aren’t “able” or “allowed” to do after becoming parents is a funny one.
For instance, some places simply don’t cater to the needs of a baby, and that’s to be expected. Some events are inevitably going to take a back seat to the obligations of parenthood, and that’s just something parents have to deal with. There’s no use in complaining, because it’s out of parents’ control. On the flip side, there are also plenty of things that parents are told they can’t do by society, friends, and family simply because they’re parents now. It’s the voice of “reason” (reason being an uptight know-it-all), whispering into parents’ ears (or on their Facebook walls), all kinds of critical judgments. Do you really want to go skydiving now that you have a little one at home? Did you really need that third glass of wine, knowing your child could need you at any time? Or how about that vacation you’re planning — six whole days away from the kids? Is that really a good idea?
How parents negotiate these things is what interests me. I think you have to keep your cool, no matter how hard that can be, to fend off those voices of “reason.” But I also think you have to keep your cool so that you yourself don’t become an uptight asshole who asks everyone to bend to your child’s needs. There has to be a happy medium somewhere. In the meantime, here are some submissions I’ve received that showcase several things that parents can no longer do now that they’re responsible for a child, according to Facebook.
1. Celebrate Your Birthday
If anyone ever told me to “kiss my birthday goodbye” because “I’m a new mommy,” I’d probably smash a cake in his or her face. Celebrating a birthday can mean many things, but ultimately it’s a personal decision how one chooses to celebrate. That’s why it’s called “that person’s day.” For all Lupe knows, Thea just wants to get a pedicure and take in a movie. I can’t imagine having the audacity to call out a friend on her Facebook page and tell her to stay inside and breastfeed on her birthday, but perhaps that’s just because I’m not a mom.
2. Get Sick
We’ve all heard — possibly from our own moms — that being a mom really sucks when you’re sick. And I for one am not going to deny that claim. However, I do not necessarily think it’s worth complaining about on Facebook, partly because it’s become a cliché. I’ve read more submissions like this one than I can count, almost to the point where I no longer feel pity. It’s a bummer that full-time moms don’t get “days off” or pampered when they’re sick, but it also comes with the territory, like cleaning vomit off a carseat. Some days on the job are harder than others.
3. Go To Taste of Del Ray
This guy Sean really got pissed off about missing the Taste of Del Ray due to its “poor timing” or “lack of consideration” or whatever it is he’s griping about here. But the real thing he’s annoyed about is the fact that his kids’ nap time is encroaching on his day of fun. But sometimes, when you have small kids, you’re not going to make it to the Taste of Del Ray. And that is not the Taste of Del Ray’s fault any more than it’s a toddler’s fault for getting sleepy around noon.
4. Listen to Top 40
This is another one I’ve heard a lot, and I can somewhat understand in the sense that Flo Rida‘s “Whistle” is currently at the top of the charts. When songs about blow jobs are “what’s hot now,” it does create a bit of strange predicament when you’re singing with your kids in the car. That said, there are these amazing things called “MP3s” that can be stored on devices that easily plug into your car, and hey, you don’t even have to include the Black Eyed Peas in your playlist. I wouldn’t, but that has more to do with the fact that I hate their music than it does with the word “shit.”
5. Nap in the Car
I don’t recall a time that my mom and I napped together in the car, whether it was at a park, in a driveway, or on a bridge, but I guess I can understand why someone might do that. However, as much as I find it incredibly weird that someone knocked on Art’s window to ask if the car was for sale (??), I think it’s actually rather comforting that a park ranger knocked on Kari’s window to make sure she was okay and/or the mother of the children in the back seat. I understand that kids need a little midday shut-eye, but if mom needs the shut-eye, too, it might make more sense to just go home.
6. Go Camping
Sometimes it’s not the Taste of Del Ray’s scheduling, or relatives telling you not to celebrate your birthday, or the Black Eyed Peas using the word “shit” that throws off a day, weekend, or event because you’re a parent. Sometimes it’s just your own damn kids making life complicated. K. may be annoyed that her camping trip wasn’t as fun as it could have been because her whiny kids sucked all the fun out of it, but at least now she knows for the future.