The thing about parenting is it can be lonely. Depressingly lonely. As a first time parent you get a tough reality check of who your friends really are. Once the little, or littles in my case (twins), enter this world, a lot of people fall off the face of the earth. Even the friends that don’t fall to the wayside have a hard time understanding the true commitment parenting takes if they don’t have children of their own. There is no spontaneous drives far away to grab special beer or food. There is no late night drink up followed by sobering pizza. Your life is just not the same after kids.
So what do you do? You become friends with other parents and learn to hate the late night party goers that live next door who always make a racket when coming home. You adapt to a completely new lifestyle and accept that the nights of bar hopping and clubbing are in the past. It is okay though. You have a whiny new person in your house who has the ability to melt your heart with a gummy smile, even after a long day of dirty diapers. You get over it, and the people who used to be important enough to be in your profile pic are pushed towards the back of the album as pictures of smiles, baths, and parent life begin to fill your Facebook.
As a young parent maybe the transition is harder? I became a father at the ripe age of twenty-one. When the bars welcome you in and most my age have spilled beer on their shirts I was at home rocking and cooing twin boys while wondering how quickly I needed to clean the spit up off my shirt before it caused a stain. Even when my wife was pregnant I hadn’t adjusted. She carried the burden of not being able to toss a few back. My feet weren’t sore after a long day of waddling around. That’s not to say I didn’t have a part-time job in the matter. During pregnancy the father is a glorified errand boy. We rush to get the food cravings or rub the coconut oil on to prevent stretch marks. We massage feet. We swear on the bible that our wives still look amazing even when they look like they swallowed a beach ball. And they do look beautiful. My wife is a gorgeous woman, but she will never top how beautiful she looked when she was pregnant with my children. My changes came later, signaled by the sweet cry of a child; heralding in the next phase of my life.
Parenting is certainly a lifestyle change. The things like partying and spontaneity are replaced immediately. It is okay though. That gummy smile I mentioned earlier, you see that and your heart melts. You forget about beer bongs and start helping Dora get away from Swiper. The new friends, fellow parents, chat you up about nap time fiascos and bath time disasters. You form bonds with people over your mutual hatred of Caillou. The childless friends that do stick around, though few in number, become honorary aunts and uncles to your children. You are born anew, as a parent.
Yes parenting can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. You accept the change and find yourself with something you never knew you were missing. Life gets an added level of meaning to it. Love happens; In its purest, most perfect form. Even now as I type, my son melts my heart from his rocker where he flashes me smiles while fighting drooping eyelids. With parenting comes a level of growth I didn’t expect and didn’t even know I needed. It is, after all is said and done, beautiful. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, would you?