It’s an interesting phenomenon: parenting. One is offered a whole new perspective on things one knows, and indeed, on things one never dreamed they’d think about. Budgeting one’s money moves on from entertainment to diapers, from eating out to just plain eating, and from vacations to finding a baby-sitter. One often finds oneself daydreaming about one’s child, and speaking to adult strangers as though they are two years old. Precisely how does one respond to, “boosie boosie boo?” Yes these changes are a sacrifice, both financially and socially, but it is all worth it.
For the longest time I dreaded becoming a parent, not only for the very firm belief I had that I would be no good at it, but for the fact that I was just plain sick of children. It’s a terrible thing to say, I know, but growing up in daycare will either cause you to cling to children, or repel them. I went with the latter, and I blame myself. The decision to have a child, and the welcoming of the idea, was an instantaneous thing. I didn’t slowly latch onto the idea; one minute I despised the notion, and the next I was saying, “gimme.” I’m reminded of How I Met Your Mother, “sock.” That was a very fast change, and very easy to get my head around.
Of course, not all changes are instant, in fact almost none following the aforementioned change are. Did you know you have to name your child? Doing so is a very grueling process, particularly if every name suggestion is followed with, “but I know a guy with that name.” Naming the child, before or after conception, is not just a thing people do out of habit. It’s not just a label, but a dedication. It’s like the difference between knowing you’re pregnant, and seeing the ultra-sound; suddenly the baby’s real.
Budgeting. I have little to say on this front, my wife is the money person in the family. All I know is that I feel guilty asking for a video game when we need to get new clothes for a very rapidly growing child. Putting a five-month-old child into nine-month clothes is not part of the initial plan, I assure you. But it’s a good guilt, I’m happy to sacrifice entertainment that rots my brain for the consistent entertainment that is a child. A budget, while quick enough to set, is a long process to, well, process. I have never been one to go out and spend big money on a whim, but I certainly spend very little on things many times in a week. The quick trips to the gas station for a Pepsi, the stop-overs at Wendy’s, the occasional morning coffee and doughnut; all have come to a close, at least for now. It’s not in the budget. Thank goodness for my wife. Otherwise, Nick would be eating a lot of Wendy’s, and drinking Pepsi. Something tells me that wouldn’t be a good thing.
Having a child, thus far, has been the most wonderful experience of my life. There is no such thing as a permanently sad day. If I’m feeling down at work, I whip out the cell phone and look at his picture. If I’m home, feeling a bit groggy, I’ll just watch him for a moment. Making him laugh, watching him cry, the little noises he makes when he has his bottle, him rubbing his bib all over his face while theirs food all over it; these things are so precious. His gummy smile immediately transfers to my toothy one. It’s been one heck of a ride, and I can’t wait to continue it.