Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe that I am so important in the lives of my millennial friends that I am the deciding factor in whether or not they have kids. But I have been watching them, and I am wondering.
My generation, those of us born in the ’70s, seem to have the loosest lips when it comes to parenting. Some time in the last decade, people started telling the truth. We started talking about the sleeplessness, the frustrations and the reality that sometimes, even though, we love our children (and we do…we really really do), we don’t like them at every moment of every day. Because frankly, they can drive us to the brink of insanity, and pull us back a moment later.
But I worry. Because at work, my younger friends see my exhaustion. When they ask me about it, I tell them that Josh threw tantrums for an hour before bed, again…that Abby is 6 going on 14 and fights me with every ounce of her being, about nothing and everything. That every morning, just getting them dressed and out the door is a feat of extraordinary heroism. That Josh clings to me, as his nose runs, and he coughs his craggy cough, and I just want two minutes of me time to do a push up (just one) or read a sentence from my book or stare blankly at the television screen, but if I do leave him alone, even with his sister, within minutes (sometimes seconds) there will be screaming and the sound of something (someone?) falling. And most of the time I just want to scream. I tell them these things, and maybe I shouldn’t.
But it’s not just me. I don’t believe that I am that powerful. But there are blogs, and essays ad infinitum from moms and dads, preaching to the world about just how hard this job is…and strangely enough, these young 30 year-olds smile at my tired eyes, give me a hug, and put off having babies for another year, maybe two.
Would I have done it, had I known? Would I have read all of these blogs, and still had my two monsters? I think I would have. But then, I even refused to read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, because it was too honest for me. I didn’t want to know what could happen. I figured I’d learn about it when it did happen. Now, the truth is so much harder to avoid. As a mom, I love that the truth is out there. I love that I can read about others going through what I am, and feel less isolated. I love that I can speak to my mom friends and hear about the horrors of their mornings, and somehow feel like I can make it through the day now, too. I especially love that when I did a search on the internet about why my three year old was refusing to swallow his food, leaving it clumped and chewed in his cheek for later investigation, I found story after story from parents experiencing the same thing. No one had an answer, but I no longer felt like my child was a complete freak. It was a phase, and he would get over it (which, thank goodness, he has).
But are we giving these millennials too much information, or is it just enough for Darwin to do his thing? Maybe we need a bit more survival of the fittest when it comes to parenting? I don’t know, but for now, I like that we’re all talking.