And like addicts, you can't just give up on them, because ...
We're Trying Not To Lose You
This may seem completely intuitive but new parents don't want to be this way. They aren't dragging their baby to your birthday at a bar as an excuse to bail early, they aren't spinning every conversation toward parenthood because they are narcissists, and they're not posting 100 photos of the same goddamn trip to the aquarium to be malicious. They do it as a desperate bid to keep you in the loop of their life.
Pixabay Public Domain
"Dad! I am TRYING to POOP!"
There's a very good reason it's so hard to talk to someone you haven't seen in years and then run into again in a grocery store: you can't possibly fill them in on everything and it's all those unshared moments that separate you. We're scrambling to make sure that never happens. We're holding the door for you to what's most important in our lives right now and hoping you'll follow us in. In the same way someone who starts running regularly, or juice fasting, or reading The Secret won't shut the fuck up about it, parents are so excited about this new thing and they hope that they can say or do the right thing to make you excited about it too. Granted, those attempts are frequently oblivious and clumsy but we just can't help ourselves. You need to love our baby, you need to see what this feels like.
When we invite you to our children's first birthdays or ask if we can bring our babies to your bachelorette party (I do some dancing on the side), we already know these asks are huge inconveniences. We know our presence will make any social situation objectively less fun. The kid aside, we are still secondary characters obsessed with death and dealing with a drug problem.
But we also know this isn't forever.
We're trying to do just enough to maintain our relationships through the hard part until our children become more autonomous and their continuing existence helps calibrate our fears. We're all at least peripherally aware that when we abandon everything in our lives other than parenting, it actually makes us worse parents in the long run. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, come to my kid's birthday. Spend some time around him, smell his head. Smell it. He's great, right? Man, wouldn't it be crazy if you just decided to have one? Have one.
Soren is a senior writer and editor for Cracked. You can follow him on Twitter here. Also, you don't really have to go to his kid's birthday, just say you have a thing.
For more check out 5 Things No One Tells You About the First Year of Parenthood and 7 Things 'Good Parents' Do (That Screw Up Kids For Life).
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