Before I had my daughter, I always imagined I would be a cool, hip parent. I’d introduce her to science fiction and great literature early, she would have hip, bohemian clothes, and we would only watch cartoons that were completely awesome, like Phineas and Ferb. My husband and I would be those slim, cool parents that other kids would wish were there parents because their own parents were so uncool.
In short, we imagined that our lives would have clear delineations between our adult selves and our Mommy and Daddy selves. Our dorky parenting personas would stay inside the family. The world would see our sophisticated, adult selves.
Boy, I so off the mark on that one.
In the end, we gave in to the dork side of the force. We became PARENTS. We were Mommy and Daddy everywhere we went. And because of that, we will never be cool, ever again.
At first, you’d think we’d mourn the loss of our adulthood. We had to clean up our language, our laptops, censor ourselves, be on our best behavior at all times while being as caring, nurturing and as playful as possible for our daughter.
It was a pain at the beginning but now we’re starting to realize that we enjoy being parents. We enjoy watching family films, attending children’s parties, going to theme parks, dancing to silly music, and playing with toys. Parents are the only people in the world who experience the privilege of enjoying childhood twice. How can we not take advantage of that?
Our experience as parents also made us evaluate how we are as adults? Were we good people? Did we make the world a better place? Were we nice, helpful and inspiring? Or were we petty, shallow and malicious? Knowing that your child can see you and follows every move was the push we needed to make changes in our lives and make it stick.
It’s also instinctive, I guess, that once you become a parent it’s easier to find pleasure in the simple things in life. You find more meaning and satisfaction reading bed time stories with your children than going out drinking with your friends. Finding the toy your child really wanted for Christmas now brings a bigger rush than finding yourself a new pair of shoes. We have the occasional night out to break the monotony but now, nothing compares to watching a great movie and a great meal at home on a Saturday night.
These changes that we had to make in our lives made us seem boring and out of touch with a lot of things. It made us more aware of the world in general as we’re focusing on bringing up our child. Life for us is no longer about what we’ve done and how we appear to the world. It’s now what we’ve done to make the world a better place and how we can make our daughter a better person than we could ever be.