Ah, love. It's a many splendor thing -- especially when you're a new parent. The oxytocin levels increase, you look down at your sleeping or barfing little mini-me and say to yourself, "This. This is what I never knew I was missing from life, and it is incredible." Right? How many people do we all know who have expressed this feeling, or have had it themselves? But the funny thing about abstract concepts like 'love' and 'happiness' is that they're supposed to be self-defined. Who I am to tell a person that she hasn't experienced true bliss until she's had the carnitas from my local taco truck, or hiked to the peak of a particular mountain? Why should I deem myself an authority on someone's happiness meter when my subjective reality probably vacillates wildly different from theirs?
I often wonder this when I hear about people telling their friends to have a baby and either partially or completely accusing them of not understanding what love really means. Granted, the love parents feel for their (own) kids appears to be pretty universal, so there's a good track record to believe that having kids is as good, if not better, than hang gliding in Costa Rica. Everyone, even the shittiest parents who roam the earth, appears to agree that having kids is the fucking shit, a notion brought on by an animalistic desire we all have to protect and nourish our babies once they're born. Normally, I'd be glad that we have this built-in barometer that adjusts itself accordingly once a tiny baby needs sustenance in our clumsy care -- and I am glad, for the most part -- except that every time a couple has a baby, they become official annoying authorities on all things Love.
All of a sudden, the love new parents thought they knew B.B. (before baby) is a total joke. It's pretty much a single penny in the massive FOUNTAIN of love they now swim in on the daily. A poopy diaper equals love. A gassy smile equals love. The way babies' eyes can see right through you, can see all of the mistakes you made in your youth but can forgive you for them, too, because babies are sweet li'l redeemers, is equivalent to eating at least 100 carnitas tacos from the best truck you can find. And if you're not in the know, your friends, or even total strangers, will ensure that you will be.
What cracks me up is that so many parents believe they're the first ones to tell their friends to have a baby. As if no one else who's ever experienced the wondrousness of parenthood has metaphorically taken each of their friends by the shoulders and said something to the effect of, "If you don't have a baby, SOON, you will be missing out on the greatest human achievement possible, and the greatest feeling of your entire life, EVER. But yeah, sure, take that new job in Singapore or adopt a new puppy or whatever. Those things are good, too, if you're baby-less." NEWSFLASH, parents: You are not the first person to tell your bestie or a random passerby that she should have a baby in order to experience love's fullness. That's precisely why it's so grating. If you're a person of a certain age (female or male!), and you've either happily chosen or sadly been unable to have kids yet, the chances of hearing from someone, or multiple people, on the Positively Procreation PR Team are extremely high. But it really shouldn't be that way, and I'm going to keep cramming that fact down new parents' ever-loving throats until I stop receiving messages like this from readers:
Hey, someone has to say it. Why not me? Let's take a look at some examples of parents who might want to press the brakes on their baby evangelizing both online and in real life. No one wants to hear about "the meaning of love" from some asshole with a baby. Trust me on this. New parents should enjoy parenthood, but when asked, say something like, "Honestly, it's been better than we anticipated," rather than, "Your life is a meaningless shell until you pop out one of these little sweethearts." Try not to tell your friends what they've heard a million times before and never need to hear again. They'll be happy you did. Maybe not as happy as the time your three-month infant laughed and sharted at the same time, but close to that.
1. #Blessed #Duh
Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. OF COURSE Laura is a sanctimommy who named her baby Brayden. Of course she is. It's typical that a woman who follows baby name trends so closely would know what's best for everyone -- even her friends who are unable to have kids, who she consciously addresses in one of the most ignorant status updates of all time. It's one thing to say something like "non-parents don't know what love is until they have kids," but it's quite another to add, "...and even if you've tried and failed, FYI, you're life is a fraction as awesome as it could be." Screw you, Laura!
Matthew Mather is a dude who writes science fiction and fantasy books, and here he is getting mommyjacked on his own Facebook author page by someone who easily could've deleted her pre-published comment after writing the first two idiotic sentences. Annie just can't stop herself, though. She knows what is totally, Totally the best thing of life ever, and it's not writing a 350-page technothriller; it's birthing and raising progeny. Since when does a "book baby" compare to The Real Thing? Since never, says Annie. She's probably got a blog all about it.
3. New Puppy < New Baby
Aw, what a cute puppy! Look at those big paws! Look at those needy eyes! I think he just ripped my heart from my chest and is gnawing on it on his new doggy bed in his new home! What a cutie! Except, of course, for the fact that he's not a human baby. Good effort, Chris and whomever the original poster is, but your puppy pales in comparison to Michelle's child. They both pee on rugs, they both make funny noises and have the capacity to shatter any breakables within reach, but one is unfortunately infinitely superior to the other. That's why parents are always telling people that dogs aren't kids, so that those people can learn right from wrong. Having a dog is nice and all, but having a baby is just better. FACT. End of story. Enjoy your new puppy that will never call you "mom" or "dad" and give you butterfly kisses on your nose while reading "Charlotte's Web" before bedtime. Enjoy that.
4. Self-Summary Of An OkCupid Douche Dad
This was sent to me recently by a reader who was perusing OkCupid, possibly looking for the man of her dreams, when she came across this douche. What kind of guy goes out of his way to alienate all women without children just because he's convinced that they "don't seem to understand the sacrifice it takes to raise and love a child"? Way to close yourself off not only from a potentially amazing (step-)mother figure for your kid, but also a woman who would be willing to put up with your selfish garbage outlook on life, Douche Dad. How many women with kids do you think are going to be interested in a misogynist jerkoff such as yourself? You sound like the kind of guy who "calls the shots" and "speaks his mind" and assumes people actually want to listen. Big mistake. Big. Huge.
5. Welcome To The Mommy Club
Whooookay there, Ashley. We get it. Even Katie is able to sum up her intense love and devotion to her new baby in a single line. Somehow you still required another eight lines on top of that, each one more saccharine and unnecessary than the last. I know I ask this question a lot, but why don't more parents keep diaries for ramblings like this? They can jot down their endless love for their baby, tape in two or 200 pictures scrapbook style, and write "I <3 Bailey" all over the front cover -- but no, instead they choose Facebook. Ashley had never even began to imagine the love she would feel for her son, and now look at her! Gushing all over her friend's page about mommyhood and the amazing feeling and unconditional love it brings. It's almost as though she's only able to see through the eyes of baby love now...through the eyes of a mommy. How lovely for all of her friends.