Sunday, September 18, 2011

Middle of the Night, Hormone-and-GI-Induced Ranting

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Sometimes I like to listen to what parents have to say about their child-rearing practices and children, and other times I wish I could just drown them out.

You see, I've noticed that there are two ends of the spectrum: on one end are those parents who are completely chill and down-to-earth about child-rearing, and don't allow their offspring to rule their lives.  These folks are the same today as when I knew them p.k. (pre-kid); their identity is intact and they actually have interesting things to say apart from their child's last poop and most recent adorable anecdote.  Who they are is defined in multi-faceted ways, which include (but isn't exclusive to) their role as parents.  They're also musicians and artists and chefs and world travelers and working professionals and spouses and current events enthusiasts and athletes and...and...and.

Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum.  This is where one might find the sanctimonious, "expert" parents musing about their little idols, I mean children, and offering advice like it was the Gospel or something.  If only they actually spoke of the Gospel more, and of their precious youngsters less!  But you know what I mean, right? From FB status updates/tweets/blogs to in-person conversations, these people know only one topic to speak of, and it's *boring* to most of the world.  However, these folks have all but lost their identities as individuals, and are now defined (or derive the bulk of their self-worth) by their progeny, so that's what they talk about, and that's what they offer all of their well-meaning (but completely unwelcome) advice on.

(Forgive my annoyance.  It's 4:00 a.m. and I've been hit with a gastro-bug that woke me up with belly pains and bathroom trips.  For the two nights prior to this one, I had thse pleasure of waking up to charley horses in my left calf in the middle of the night.  Also lovely).

Every so often, I muse about the contrast.  The folks I seek out tend to be those who fit on the former end of the spectrum, whereas I find myself distancing away from people who elevate their children (or their role as parents) to the ultimate level; I find I have a dwindling list of things in common with them and then the conversation just gets dull.  Don't get me wrong; most people probably fall somewhere in the middle (and most of my friends are probably in the middle too - if I've spoken with you recently, you're more than likely still good), and there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving your kids and/or feeling proud of them and wanting to share some of that with the world.  However, it's a whole different matter when your identity or value or sense of self is entirely dependent on being a mom/dad or having children, and that's the only thing you know how to speak about anymore.  *yawn* Plus it isn't even Biblical, since apart from God alone there is nothing under the sun from which we should derive our value or our identity, and to elevate parenthood or children to that status is most definitely a form of idolatry.

So here's to balance, and to the preservation of self in light of parenthood.  Here's to loving your children but not making them your gods, and here's to having more to talk about than the topic of your tykes!