Oct 5, 2017

I Get That I Don't Get It

Remember how worried I was about having a child "changing me"?  I've had some time to reflect on that and I think I was guilty of 2 things: 1) Not fully understanding what it's like to be a parent and 2) Being really fucking judgy.

So I've had a baby for 8 months.  I'm still me.  I still like all the same things and I'd love to run around and do those things.  But in order to make time for them, I have to not spend time with my child, not work on my business, or lose sleep and/or a precious scrap of time to myself.

It's a lot harder to get out and do all those things I was running around doing before and the trade off doesn't necessarily look all that appealing when you're tired.

So Dear Past Self,

Kindly fuck off.

Lol!  Just kidding.  That's unnecessarily harsh.  But it's totally true that I was over here like, "New parents just change and lose themselves in their children" and on and on and I had no idea what was actually happening in their lives or why they were making those choices.

We do not have a baby sitter outside of my mom.  A few friends have offered in the past but, frankly, it seemed either half-hearted, logistically difficult, or (in one case) we weren't sure could actually handle it.  So we didn't take them up on it.  Roommate actually babysat once or twice, but he's got a second job now and is rarely home.

As you may recall, we HAD a nanny, but she hurt her back after a mere one week of watching the baby, so she is no longer an option even for occasional childcare.  Of course, I could pay for another month of Care.com and screen through a bunch of strangers, hoping for another good option.  Or recruit more seriously among my friends, or any number of things.

So yeah, we should find a babysitter.  But even if we did, now that Orion's in daycare, I don't feel like I spend THAT much time with him.  Thursdays and the weekends.  So to go out and do something with someone else, I'm literally prioritizing them over time with my baby.

Dear Past Self,

Did you think you deserved to be more important to someone than their own baby?  No, you did not.  You just never thought about that at all.

I do happily go out and do things when babies are welcome.  He goes to dinner and the dog park and the store and museums and anywhere else someone won't side eye us.  He's even been on an airplane, despite the side eye.  (And that lady was a total asshole before we even boarded.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm trying, in a kind of tired, half-assed way.  If everyone else who supposedly wanted to see me would compromise just a tad, even in their own half-assed way, we'd see a lot more of each other.  Example: We went to the beach all the way in New Jersey because my bloggy buddies Alyssa, Michael, and Dani wanted the baby there.  That birthday part the baby couldn't come to?  Yeah, we'll come but only for one hour because my mom doesn't want to put the baby to bed and I don't blame her.

To better sum up: we're a package deal now.  And I know that's not optimal and I know there are a lot of activities that are better and more fun without a baby.  But I made the choice to have a baby and I accepted all those trade-offs.  I guess my friends didn't necessarily agree to the trade-offs when I got pregnant, but they're also not the ones living my life.

I'm just rambling now, but if there's any point to be had in here it's this: you really don't know what you're talking about until you experience something.  And if you're thinking, "She's just saying that because she's a mom now" you're right!  I was totally judgy and not sympathetic and now I have a kid, and holy crap I get it!

My own personal goal is to chill out a little and stop judging people in situations I haven't experienced.  Because I am wrong all the freaking time.

Even about something as basic as love or instinct or whatever.  Prior to baby, I thought, "Sure, yeah, parents love their kids.  Duh!"

Now I'm like, "NO!  I did not get it.  I LOVE my kids.  I love my kid so intensely that I don't know if I'd want to keep living if something happened to him.  Which is not necessarily good or healthy but it's the truth."

I'm not even going to think about that any more because it makes me upset.

So anyway, I guess the point is not just not to judge, but to be ok with not getting it.

There's a South Park episode (and yeah, South Park is kind of gross - I usually don't watch) where one of the kid's dads says the "n" word.  Token (the "token black character") is upset about it and the kid (white) keeps trying to make it up to him and saying, "I get it.  Why won't you accept my apology?"

Finally at the end of the episode, the white kid says, "I get it.  I get that I don't get it and I could never get it."  (And many more words that I don't remember.)

Token says, "Now, you're getting it."

Lol!!!  Ridiculous, but it stuck with me because the whole point was that there are some experiences we can't understand because we have never and maybe even could never be in that person's shoes.

My book club recently discussed Bad Feminist and the one chapter where I felt completely distanced from the group was the one on weight.  I like that we occasionally address this topic but in this case the author had said something about a book about fat camp where the main character was traumatized by being 30 pounds overweight and how unrealistic that is.

I am overweight.  The rest of the book club is not.  Now, I'm not obese and I'm not overweight to the level that Gay talks about in the book where you don't fit into clothes outside of plus size stores, and you don't always fit on public transport and people treat you like shit.  But I guess being overweight and having friends who are closer to that side of the spectrum makes me more sensitive to that point of view.

The rest of the book club thought Gay was being too judgy for saying you can't be traumatized by a 30 pound weight gain.  I thought they were ridiculous for thinking 30 pounds overweight could compare to 100 or 200 pounds overweight.

In both cases, I think we should probably just assume there are experiences we don't understand.  They couldn't possibly understand what it feels like to not know if you'll be over the weight limit for things you want to do, and I can't possibly understand feeling traumatized by 30 pounds because I've gained it and more and still think I'm fabulous.

I'm sure there's more examples I could apply it to, but I'm just beating a dead horse at this point.  Let's all chill and try to be more understanding.

Jenn out.

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