*This is from writer, David, who blogs at Bring Me Death… Or A Sandwich. His is definitely one of my newest, favorite blogs out there. He’s a married dad with a son and newborn daughter. You can catch him on Twitter, @thedavidcmurphy, and check out some more of his blog posts…. Return of the Living Dead and Clowning Around.
So, This Is Daddyhood.
When you’re fortunate enough – as it seems I am – to be a parent to both a toddler, and a newborn, there are certain changes that need to be made. Some might call them sacrifices, but I think that implies some kind of volition, or decision-making involved. These aren’t sacrifices, so much as enforcements.
Getting sent to a North Korean labor camp, for instance, isn’t a sacrifice; you don’t choose that just to make North Korea the awesome place it undoubtedly is. It’s forced upon you. Just like my two miniature little Nazis aren’t asking me kindly to give up that which I hold dear; they’re fucking demanding it.
Nonetheless, I love them immensely, and have made these changes without complaint. Ok, that’s a lie, there’s quite a lot of complaint, but they don’t seem to care – those two are just like their Mother. Anyway, it’s all about priorities: I have to work, I have to get up three times a night to help with my daughter’s bottles/change diapers/endure screaming.
I have to get up at 7.30 to give my son his breakfast/change his pull-up/endure screaming. This means there are certain things I must give up: sleep? Nope, no time for that. Time to myself? Pfft, forget it. A social life? I haven’t had one of those since before the first kid came along.
By now, I can’t remember what any of my friends look like. Time to blog? I’m writing this in work, on Microsoft Outlook, pretending it’s an email. Alone time with the wife? Mwah ha ha ha; that ship hasn’t arrived at port since last summer. I do get to eat, which is nice. I feel grateful for that. You don’t get that luxury in your garden-variety North Korean labor camp.
In a nutshell, there aren’t many things harder than being a parent of two younglings under the age of four, while attempting to hold down a fulltime job (attempting being the crucial word here – yesterday I fell asleep at my PC; face-planting the keyboard every few minutes was the only thing that kept me awake).
To be fair, slaving away in a North Korean labor camp is probably one of those things that is harder. Complex quantum physics? That too. Being the parent of three kids under the age of four, and trying to hold down a fulltime job? Ok, you’re now officially fucking insane. And… that’s it: there is literally nothing else harder than my life right now.
You can’t even numb yourself to it. Fortunately, I don’t drink anymore. Alcohol doesn’t agree with me. In fact we don’t so much disagree as have full-on brawls: ninja-style, with nunchucks, and other weapons designed to maim and kill. So yeah, me and alcohol don’t hang out anymore. I did, however, drink when my son was brand new. Things were great in the evening. I’d stay up drinking and watching TV, not a care in the world, while my wife and baby slept soundly.
But the mornings, oh God, those next mornings were sent from hell. A hangover and a screaming, hungry baby? Why they go together like a horse and … a fucking glue factory. If, like me, you’re thinking “hey, well why not just drink in the morning as well?” then yeah, you too should probably think about quitting.
You may have read that I recently hurt my back, and was on really strong painkillers. I think I blogged about it, but I’m not sure – I was on really strong painkillers. They did make things better. I slept soundly at night, and was waaay less grouchy in the morning: after a muscle relaxer and two Percocet I was literally professing my love to my Mother-in-law (Yeah that’s awkward now). But, I had an excuse to sit on my ass and not work. In fact, not only was it expected of me: it was a requirement. Doctor’s orders!
My wife would be running around taking care of everything: the kids, the laundry, meals, me… while I sat drooling, watching TV and getting the munchies. I’m pretty sure if I was just a regular ol’ pill-head, my wife wouldn’t have been quite so charitable, and that would have sucked. The buzz of oxycodone is more difficult to appreciate when you’re changing shitty diapers, and getting yelled at for falling asleep in work.
The good news is being a parent only gets harder as your kids get older, or so I’m told by absolutely fucking everyone with a kid older than mine. I might have just met you and the first words out of your mouth will be “enjoy it, it doesn’t get any easier than this” or “you think it’s bad now? Wait ’til they reach their teens”.
And the thing is: it’s fucking true. My son is exponentially more incorrigible than he was a year ago. My daughter is a veritable Saint in comparison to him. And all I can think is: I have 17 years, ten months and 12 days of this left!