Parents Are the Worst

You’ve met them. The humanoid creature with an empty stare. Your friend, who used to be witty and interested in your life. Now, her only focus is managing to stand upright and tell you stories you don’t need to hear.

Don’t worry, you’ll be able to talk about your life as well, but be prepared. If you do, your friend will tell you all about how clueless you are about your current situation and how you’re not living life correctly, grasping all the opportunities she wishes she did. All of this is based on your friend's latest experience with her own life.

You guessed it, we’re talking about parents.

People change when they become parents. Now, they’re in charge of other humans, and they have to learn how to deal with all the new things they never knew anything about. When they figure out a way to patch the series of disasters into something livable, they believe they know everything about the subject. At least enough to teach everyone else about it.

It seems like parents grow worse and worse until you either lose contact with them or become one yourself. When you do, you will slowly emerge into this weird, know-it-all creature you disliked roughly nine months ago.

Parents seem to have a need to tell you about your life from a parent’s view. They develop a way to twist everything in life to be centered around parenthood.

Whenever I feel my brain accumulate these paragraphs, I try my best to stop them before they reach the end of my tongue.

I don’t want to be that parent. Sometimes, unfortunately, I am.

Oh, you’re tired. That’s cute

When you become a parent, you realize you won’t sleep for a year or two — at least not a full night. You’re either breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, changing diapers, or trying to figure out what the cryptic cry is this time.

You become a zombie, and falling asleep standing on the bus is normal. You also develop a new skill — complete loss of empathy.

Whenever a crowd of 23-year-olds talks about how tired they are because they partied all night, you can see how horns start growing out of parents’ heads.

Oh, you’re tired… That’s cute. You don’t know what tired is! Just wait till you get kids. You won’t be able to separate day from night cause you’re in a tired trance!

After spewing out this bag of lies based on your current life situation, you drag your sleepless body along the street to disappear into the horizon while the crowd looks at each other, shrugs, and keeps talking about last night.

If you think back to when you were younger and kidless, you were tired too. It turns out that tired has no age. You can be exhausted even if you don’t have kids. Just because you are kids-style tired gives you no right to tell other people they aren’t.

You don’t have time. That’s cute

Yes, having kids take up a lot of your time. It is a shift where you get less time to yourself. Fortunately, that’s why toilets and cell phones exist — the global parents’ recipe for alone time.

Oh, you don’t have time. That’s cute. How many hours do you have per day? 500? You’ll see what not having time looks like when you have kids. Believe me! You have time! You have ALL the time!

Sure, you can’t go out whenever you want, and other people depend on your availability. This doesn’t mean you don’t have time to do anything at all. Doing things with your children has great value and if you are two parents, give each other time to do other things.

Parents lost one privilege they used to have — do whatever they want, whenever they want. That was the point of becoming an adult, wasn't it? You can eat candy on a Tuesday.

The freedom to waste time is lost.

If you find a 15-minute window, you know you can almost finish a book in that time because your efficiency level has blown through the roof. Who even has 15 minutes these days? Pretty much everyone without children and most likely you as well. It just doesn’t feel like it.

15 minutes! Full focus!

Meanwhile, kidless people waste those 15 minutes on Snapchat. They might not even learn a new skill, make content, or invest, they just waste the whole 15 minutes. Those golden 15 minutes…

When someone without kids tells parents they don’t have time to finish their studies for the day or send you that e-mail, you can see the ticks in the parents’ eyes change pace.

Just because you have less time as a parent does not mean that other people can’t be busy. So you regret not following your entrepreneur dream in your twenties. Those who do spend all their time on that. They don’t have all the time in the world as you claim. They are just spending it on other things than trying to get someone else to fall asleep.

Oh, he’s two years old? Just wait until he turns three. It’s so much better.

If you feel parents only go for the parentless people, don’t worry. They are going after each other as well.

Being a parent gives you a huge icebreaker arsenal. You can approach any random parent, and you have 657 subjects to talk about even before you greet say your name.

One of the natural subjects to talk about is age.

How old is he? Oh, two? Trust me. Everything is SO much better in every way when he turns three. Bye!

If you meet a parent with kids older than yours, they think they remember what it was like when their kids were younger. The only problem is that they only remember all the struggles. They remember the tantrums and how that seemed to fade out after a while.

Just because they escaped some of the exhausting parts of having a two-year-old, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any good moments being the parent of one.

Please stop telling me how everything gets better like we’re walking around in lava, begging for you to rescue us. Let me enjoy the good things about having a two-year-old.

You’ll meet the same parents the next year, and they will tell you how great it is to have a four-year-old compared to a three-year-old.

When will this end? Oh, he’s 17? 18 is so much better. They move out then…

Poop and puke everywhere

Before I had kids, one of the grossest things I could witness was parents eating their kids' food with their greasy cutlery. Eating sloppy baby porridge from a spoon pulled out of a mouth covered in some liquid and snot. God, it was torture to watch.

Now, I eat everything with anyone’s cutlery. Those boundaries disappeared years ago. A year or two with diapers will cure you. Carsick kids throwing up in your car and changing clothes after “accidents” cures you as well.

This doesn’t mean people without kids are cured yet. They might walk around enjoying life with less body fluid interaction.

Haha, then he puked all over the table and we were swimming in it trying to save our $20.000 floor. When it was all wiped up, round two was incoming.

Sentences like that can drop out of a parent’s mouth whenever they want. If you are trying to eat your lasagna, which slowly resembles puke more and more, they don’t care. Not only did parents lose their own boundaries dealing with this s**t (literally), they also lost all contact with the normal etiquette.

Just because you are immune to body fluids as a parent, does not mean everyone is. Especially not when they are eating.

Oh, you have one kid. Well, that must be tough. Try having two.

Having a kid can be the best experience in the world. Sure, there are tough times and life changes drastically.

The parents that told you three-year-olds are great when you run around on the grass with your two-year-old also have more wisdom coming your way.

If you are ever in a situation where you express how much of a struggle you are in right now with your one child, prepare for a hostile takedown.

You have one kid. Seriously? You aren’t even outnumbered when you are alone. If you think having one kid is tough… try running around with two. One is one, two is ten.

Yes, going from one child to two children is a bigger step than you think. It isn’t just another human added to the family. It means that if one wants something, the other one has a built-in switch telling it to reply the opposite.

The same goes for location. Maybe they can be at the same place for hours playing or reading. When you need them to be at the same location at the same time, they turn into magnets. The only problem is that they both turn into the same magnetic charge so that they won’t attract — quite the opposite.

They turn into Brio trains that won’t connect because you hold them the wrong way.

This does not mean having one kid is not hard. You just forgot how big that change was. Just because you have more stuff to deal with, please give the new parent with only one child a break. Going from not having children to having one is a huge step.

Final thoughts

The most valuable things we can give parents are additional memory and empathy refill.

Memory seems to leave the building whenever the next step in parenting kicks in. Oh, it was like this before? I can’t recall. The focus on the current life situation of a parent totally overshadows others' current life situations. If they remember anything, it is all the bad stuff and how you should look forward to it all to end.

If you are a parent, try to place yourself in other parents’ shoes. If you can’t remember anything due to lack of sleep, try to reset and see the joy in others’ day in the park with their little ones.

Finally, just because you have children doesn’t give you the right to measure everyone else’s lives in children metrics. Some people are younger and deal with other things in life while others choose not to have children at all. Some people can’t have children.

Give them a break. It’s not always about you.

CG supervisor with 17 years of experience in the Animation- and VFX industry. Focus: UX, Writing, Programming, Productivity. Contact: martinandersson@me.com

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