|Image by Anne Worner|
I get a lot of questions from non-parents about what it’s like to raise children. I’ve been a father for almost nine years, and I suppose a lot of this stuff is second nature now. It always seems strange to me when I have to explain some simple thing about parenting that has become so obvious to me. Here are a few questions that I’ve gotten from non-parents and the answers. Perhaps you can share this with your non-parent friends. It might help clear things up.
You’ve been sick for over a week. Why can’t you just take a bunch of cold medicine and sleep for like 15 hours? That’s what I do.
Ha! Ha! I have three kids under 9 years old. I’m lucky if I get 12 hours of sleep in three days. Kids sleep when it is convenient for them. They sleep when I am at work, or when I have shit to do. Rarely do they sleep when I need them to (like at night). When they are awake, the are needy wanting little turds. I love the hell out of my kids, but it feels like they want me to be sleep deprived. Perhaps this is a plan to wear me down and get more screen time and candy. Or maybe it’s because they hate me. I don’t know, but what I do know is that when I am sick, I want to sleep more than anything, but I won’t get it because someone is always poopy, or hungry, or fighting with their sister over a string cheese.
What’s up with parents always using Wet Wipes?
People will tell you that the secret to good parenting is love and patience, but that isn’t true. The real secret is Wet Wipes. They provide a barrier between you and a poopy butt. I use 7 to 10 wipes with every poopy diaper change. My wife sometimes asks why I use so many, and my response is, “Why wouldn’t I use this many?” Wet Wipes also have a million parenting uses: Puke on the car seat? Thanks Wet Wipes! Boogery nose? Don’t mind if I do. Food in a toddler’s ear? Wet Wipes. Wet Wipes. Wet Wipes.
Why do parents always have white spots on their clothing?
Boogers. It’s usually boogers. I don’t fully understand why young children always produce so many boogers, but they do. Their heads are full of them. They wipe their grubby little faces on your clothing, and they don’t really care if it’s a pair of Dockers or a Chanel Suit. This is one of the many reasons parents rarely get dressed up. You can only look so professional with boogers on your shirt.
Why are parents late to everything?
Because the second a parent goes to leave the house, a kid becomes thirsty, or a kid can’t find their shoes, or two kids are fighting over who get’s to sit next to the baby, or a kid pooped their pants… you get the idea. No matter how much prep I put into getting out of the house on time, no matter how early I try to leave, one of my children is going to ruin it. Getting out of the house with children is a parent’s eternal struggle. It is one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done.
Every time I call someone with kids it sounds like a war is going on in the background, and we can only chat for a few minutes. Why is that?
There are really two times when my kids want my 100% full attention. When I am using the restroom. And when I am on the phone. I really don’t understand what it is about picking up the phone that suddenly makes my children interested in me. Most of the time they don’t listen to me, but once I pick up the phone it’s, “Dad! Dad! Dad! Dad!...” Every child since the invention of the phone has done this. It’s a scientific mystery.
Why is it that every time one of my friends has kids, they don’t want to hang out with me anymore?
It’s not you. It’s them. Kids take a lot of time and energy. Parents get really invested in the way they act, how they do in school, and what they look like. If your friend had kids and suddenly they don’t hang out with you anymore, it’s because they are trying to do the most challenging and most rewarding thing ever… be a good parent. It means that your friend is a good person and that they want to be a good parent. They don’t have time to play x-box, or go to a bar, or play golf because after having children, those things start to feel selfish. With parenting, it feels like every moment away from children is lost time. I hope you understand.
Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.