Why Talking About Parenting is Hard
A thing happened to me last week.
A friend of mine gave me a call to wish me happy birthday...and to mention, just as an aside, that his girlfriend was pregnant.
In the space of about 0.25 seconds my mind raced through all the things I've said about fatherhood to him over the years, and the result of that search was not promising. Most of the conversations we had were pretty negative - even though much of it was joking around, it still did not paint being a dad as being a fantastic thing.
(Luckily he is excited at the prospect of becoming a father, despite my poor representations)
"But AfroDaddy," I hear you say, "Isn't your whole website and brand about encouraging engaged fatherhood? Why are you slamming it with your friends?".
While I don't like your accusatory tone, dear reader, it is still a good question. And here's the answer: It's just easier.
Real talk time: becoming a parent can be the toughest thing to go through, and it can be the most extraordinary thing to go through, and it can be both at the exact same time.
I call this phenomenon the "Duality of Parenting", and pretty much any mom or dad instinctively understand what I mean.
But here's the problem - while it's easy to explain the tough stuff to people who don't have kids, it's really hard to explain the great stuff.
For example, everyone can have sympathy for "I only got 2 hours of broken sleep last night and am exhausted", but how do you explain how great it feels that your child feels safe in your arms at night?
Also, everyone completely understands how awful bad smells are, but only a parent finds joy in the relationship-building moment of a nappy change.
All this being said, I still don't think the answer is to NEVER talk about the tough stuff. We need to show the reality of our parenting experience, not just to encourage other parents, but to help non-parents make informed decisions about what they want for their future.
I'd hate for friend of mine to become a dad who then tells me, years later, that I gave a false idea of what he was in for and at the same time it would be terrible if I gave him the impression that it's the end of any joy he may have.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that finding that balance is hard, and some days it's really tough to find the positives to talk about, but we have to try. We have to try to tell parents-to-be that it's hard but worthwhile, and that they will be great at it.
How about this - in the comments below or on the Facebook Post, tell me one positive thing about being a father or parent!