Sunday, February 1, 2015

Things I've Learned Being a Parent

L is now rapidly approaching her 2nd birthday and I feel like I have learned so much about how M and I parent. A lot of what I thought would be true has been true, but there certainly have been surprises along the way. Now in know particular order is a list
  1. Coherent, long-form thoughts can be very difficult in a world of constant interruptions. Thus the list....
  2. I can't do the "cry it out method" and I realize now how foolish I was in passing judgement on anyone who cosleeps. L is a light sleeper and it works best for our family to have her in our bed. Articles like this one make me more justified in our decision: Screaming to Sleep.
  3. Being a parent is the toughest and best thing one will ever do. I know that sounds somewhat obvious, but it is somewhat crazy how true it is. My career, Duke over UVA, the stock market, etc all fall a distant 2nd.
  4. Being a parent can and often does mean being selfish. I've heard more people talk about how "selfless" being a parent makes you, but I have found it to be the complete opposite. There are often times I have to miss things I would like to do or be a poor friend or a poor coworker because I have to take care of L. For example it is snowing right now and L might miss school tomorrow. At that point we have to decide if M's parents watch her, we take off work or if we hire a babysitter.
  5. I am a lot more productive at work when we do get a babysitter since I know how expensive it is ($10/hour) to be at work. 
  6. Our country's attitude to being a parent is so backwards that just writing this makes me upset. It makes no rational sense why there is a mortgage interest tax deduction, but childcare isn't subsidized. (Note - I am not saying our childcare should be subsidized or that we don't take advantage of the mortgage interest tax deduction. My main point is there should be a national discussion on our antiquated tax code.) The mortgage interest tax deduction incentivizes people to take on debt. A child care tax deduction would incentivize people to have children, go to work and have high quality day care. All three of those points is a net benefit to society. One of my favorite books of all time was Pamela Drunkerman's Bringing Up Bebe. I am so jealous of the French's attitude towards affordable, high quality daycare. 
  7. Over the past few months, L and I go to Block's Bagels and read the NY Times on Sunday. I have found myself more and more looking forward to this time. The people at Block's are friendly, there is a normal Sunday morning crew of customers and L absolutely loves the food there. I feel like we are building a little tradition, while also giving M some time to sleep in, clean the house or do whatever she wants without a toddler interrupting her.
  8. Dishes, laundry, cleaning up, etc - they never end. One wouldn't think that the addition of one small person would make such a difference, but I feel like the amount of housework has grown at exponential levels. 
  9. If Greek Methodology was written using modern day examples, Sisyphus would be cleaning up children's books and toys for eternity.
  10. Time is finite. I think that is the main lesson I have learned from being a parent and growing up in general. It has really sunk in for me with L because as a teenager or even someone in your 20s everything is possible. Now I realize that is no longer the case. Often times I would like to play basketball, catch up on The Americans, write a blog post, etc. That isn't possible when you have only a two hour window due to L's nap. Time seems incredibly short with L around. Part of that is because as a parent you are a lot busier than you were pre-children. The other part is that especially at this age they change so rapidly. L went from just learning to walk to saying a few small words to saying small sentences to counting to 10 in what seems like no time at all. And the way at which she learns is just fascinating and makes me realize that this very moment right now is going to pass so quickly. This is common advice from parents, but still it is something I didn't expect from being  a parent.
My Dad has often talked about how he wasn't someone that thought for a fact that he would be a parent. He said that for my Mom it was her destiny, but he needed to be coaxed a little bit. However, he would always end this speech with the line that "now that I am a parent, I can't imagine it any other way." That is how I feel about having L. I have learned so much from being her parent, and I am so thankful that our family is a family of three.

No comments: