[True Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad]

Why are parents so confused and disoriented looking all the time? Maybe it’s because while parenting is based so much on repetition and routine, it is also constantly changing. Just think of some of the ways parents change as their kids age.

First, there’s Pre-parenting. Pre-parenting is a delusional stage, where the expectant couple thinks they are going to do things differently than all parents that ever existed before them. Pre-parents think having a child won’t change their weekend and social behavior, and that a child can just be dragged along to all the usual activities (dining out, impromptu weekend getaways, etc.) Pre-parents say things like, “We’ve had a dog as a pet for a few years…how much different could it really be?”

The next phase of parenting, The Newborn Phase, hits new parents like a brick wall. The Newborn Phase (also known as the Dark Days) is a scary place to be. Sleep deprivation firmly sets in. Simple things like going to the grocery store or taking a bike ride, now take planning, effort and coordination with others. Spending time with friends is unlikely because of “the schedule.” When you do see your friends all you do is talk about the baby.

One of the worst phases occurs after the Newborn Phase, The Perfect Parent Phase. As the baby gets a little older, parents revert back to their pre-parent cockiness. Perfect Parents only purchase handmade wooden toys AND put them all away each night. They make their own baby food and later pack lunches on car trips to avoid fast food.

Perfect Parents only last so long before they crack under the pressure they put on themselves. They eventually give up the losing battle of neat play areas and organized toy closets. These parents will also be the first to pull over for a Happy Meal if it buys them 15 minutes of peace and quiet on a road trip.

Parenting. We’re all on this crazy ride together, so we might as well enjoy it.

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