Speed dating with Parenthood

My wife and I are fortunate to have many dear friends that have given us the privilege of enjoying the love of their children. We have become the “unofficial” uncle and aunt that, even though do not share a blood connection, have a deep emotional bond with the little ones. We have seen most of them be born and have marveled at their physical and emotional growth. And the unconditional love these kids give back is simply amazing!

And I believe that a small part of being a good Uncle is to be available for babysitting from time to time. And boy, how do I learn every time we are with these kids…

It is always great, but it made me wonder how parents do it on a 24 hours basis as I was simply exhausted at the end of each stay… And I had the easy part! Since the kids could be with us for a couple of hours or for the whole night, we shared tasks. I was responsible for some of the entertainment, for most of the driving and for pretty much all of the cooking. Bath time, poo time and the terrifying dipper change still remained something my wife diligently and efficiently took care of… And yes, I was there the entire time and did not run to a friend’s house to watch a game… Of course we had the tendency to “over do it” every time we had the kids around and that required an extra boost energy from my part, but what good of an uncle I would be if I would not spoil them a bit? Even though we were respecting the specific schedules and needs of each kid regarding eating, playing and sleeping habits, we often found ways to fill in the gaps, thinking of different ways to entertain them in ways they would not normally do on their daily routine.

And it was fun! So much so sometimes I had to remember myself of who was babysitting who…

But having the kids around also gave my wife and me the opportunity to speed dating with parenthood, having the chance to glimpse, for a few moments, into the good and the not-so-good aspects of raising a child. Of course we both knew that we were not experiencing the “real deal”, since we were with the kids for a short period of time, in an environment that was not their day-to-day routine, making their behavior already different from what it would normally have been at home. And we were lucky to have friends that did a great job in prepping them up for a time of fun with their uncles, so we have not experienced yet a day of tantrums and meltdowns. But kids are kids no matter what and I believe that all our practice in watching for them have been valuable to give us a quick peek into what life would be like when our fertility treatment is successful at last!

And the opportunity of having that sight, that quick look into a life with children is priceless. It demystifies. It educates. It reassures. Yes, raising a kid can have all the beautifully Instagram moments I see when my wife has the website on and will give us the chance to put to work all things pinned on Pinterest, but it also has all the harder times never shared on Facebook. And this reflection, in my mind, is key for someone wanting to have a family while dealing with couple’s infertility, as it takes the myth out of the equation. Experiencing what raising a child can really be offered the opportunity to see a baby for what it really is: a human being, with its beauty and its flaws. The kid we so much want to have will not be perfect. His or her upbringing will not be made of only pretty moments people will “like it” and “hash tag it”. Instead, it will be like the movie trailer from the Real Life Theater: fun, frustrating, rewarding, loving, trusting, challenging, more fun, more rewarding, still challenging…

I imagine that educating a child and establishing limits is not a walk in the park, but neither is it life itself. I for sure understand that having a child is not an easy job, but I also know that actually raising a kid is a much greater feat. And if babysitting was speed dating into the privilege of parenthood, than I am definitely up to the task!

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2 Responses to Speed dating with Parenthood

  1. Daniel s. says:

    i sumoly love the open heaeted truthfukbess in your writing. thks!

  2. Ruth says:

    Love this one! It is funny because in fact, I lost my fear of motherhood when I was taking care of my friend’s daugher (who is now 17…). If you want to borrow a pre-teen, let me know! Though you won’t have second thoughts, I am sure you will be quite surprised with the learnings… LOL

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