An article at the Huffington Post details five things parents need to stop saying to non-parents and I am totally guilty as charged. Before having Orson I explicitly said to myself that I wasn't going to become one of those parents who can't talk about anything other than babies (yawn), who acts like their child is everyone else's problem (grr), or like the world actually owes them one for being generous enough to reproduce. There is a serious debate to be had as to whether reproduction qualifies, in some respects, as an act of biological altruism (for example, some have called mammalian breastfeeding a selfless act). But my gut instinct says its mostly entirely selfish. Aside from environmental guilt, I'm pretty sure that nobody (apart from maybe grandparents) gets such a kick out of Orson's existence as I do.
Anyway, Simo and I swore blind that we weren't going to stop going out, or let our lives revolve around the baby. We weren't going to let the everyday phenomenon of self-spawning make us lose sight of the bigger picture, of our idiosyncratic interests and intellectual activities. In short, we were going to be cool parents, who stayed just as close to all our non-parent friends and didn't become boring.
But its so HARD!!!! At some point, some number of weeks into the brain-numbing relentlessness of the nappy changing, breastfeeding, rocking etc etc you just realise that fighting the baby-take-over just makes life harder, and we-must-not-do-anything-that-makes-life-harder.
I'd like to think I'm still a fairly considerate parent. I fold my pushchair up on busy buses. I try to keep Orson quiet in places where people need quiet. I try not to subject family members to him before about 8am. But clearly I'm falling into all the cliches of a new parent who thinks everyone should be interested in the details of their darling offspring's daily habits (i'm blogging about it, for god's sake!) and that life pre-baby was a meaningless distant memory (see Exiting the cave). As for being a cool parent? I haven't got the energy!
So yes, I am guilty as charged, and I'm sorry! I really ought to be more considerate to the feelings of all those who cannot or choose not to have children. On the other hand, its hard enough worrying about the impact of all this on my academic life without worrying about my social life as well. Hopefully one day when all of this has calmed down a bit (*will that ever happen, she pleads*) my good friends will still be there for me, waiting patiently with a large bottle of vodka.