Have you ever hung out with someone who has a kid, and prior to said kid you had spent loads of time with them, and now upon reconnecting you caught yourself thinking “who the fuck are these people”?
This past weekend I spent time with some family friends and I brought my girlfriend along to meet them. After raving and ranting about how cool and down to earth they were (given their backgrounds and status), I was sure it was set to be a fun night. Now mind you, up until this point, we are by no means best friends, but we would exchange advice and spend warm summer nights together as families, and combine social circles for parties from time to time. And in all of this, the one constant was just how dynamic their rapport was with each other, and how down to earth they seemed regarding all social ideas and settings.
They seemed like people that were a perfect fit, always dressed sharp and well paired. And as a couple, or separate, they could hold their own in any social setting regardless of any constraints that might surround them(parents,children,colleagues).
But now, here we are, just a few years since their child has been born, and I now find myself sitting here thinking, “Who the fuck are these people”?
In times past, a spread of both delicious food and drink, energy and interest, and people from different backgrounds would be on display. Conversations about anything and everything took center stage, as it seemed like everyone was both interesting, and interested.
But now, just us, and another family who’s children are the same age as theirs. As if to combine both sets of kids of achieve albeit momentary, but some form of respite nonetheless.
And the spread? A glass of whiskey, and some ravioli pulled from the oven.
TO be fair, the intent of this particular gathering was not to be a party/gathering like one’s in years past. But I’m painting the picture as droll as possible in hopes of illustrating my main issue.
Somewhere during the conversation, I said “Kiss her”. That’s all. Not in the context of any inappropriate person, or places, just “kiss her”. And the manner in which the wife corrected me and spoke the law of the house, was all but baffling. Off-putting to the say the least, as everyone could tell she’s clearly applied this iron fist to all sorts of aspects of life.
Her poor husband. He couldn’t even look at me as she tried to explain whilst going in circles of why you can’t say things like that in-front of children. He looked a bit embarrassed to say the least. And as I scanned around the room for some sort of social-flotation-device in the form of an understanding look (to bring me back to reality), I got nothing. In my girlfriends defense she was new to situation and place, and couldn’t be asked for much here, but even her overtly well mannered self looked surprised. I eventually let the moment pass, because frankly I was raised right, but boy has it been the topic of debate as of late.
I think it’s fair to assume that with any child, marriage, or major life change, the people involved must also in fact change. To which degree, I think is clearly something up for debate. However, when you get to a point where you’re picking words out of context that your child can’t possibly be sheltered from in real life, well… You’re clearly proving that you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a kid, and just how resilient and understanding you have to be to survive your adolescence.
Simply put, you can’t be preparing your 5 year old child for a life in which they won’t hear the word “kiss”? Because I can promise you one thing, almost every person who I knew to be sheltered, is at my age now(26), a fucking nightmare. Or bland AS FUCK.
Just relax a little, take some deep breaths, and realize that a good bond, one that is open and without judgement(of words or actions) will lead to your kid understanding how to think for themselves and digest information in way that I GUARANTEE you will be proud of. As oppose to sending them off with some silly checklist they have to keep in their back pocket their whole life.
An Ode to Parenting from a Childless Fuck