Why Do We Do It?

When you really think about it, the whole scenario is ridiculous — a recipe for disaster. You meet someone, and no matter how well you think you know him/her, even if you’ve been together for years before making it official, you still don’t know how s/he will react in every situation. You just hope his/her reaction will be in harmony with your own. Taking that enormous leap of faith, you say, “OK, I agree to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Then you invite CHILDREN who need constant care to be your housemates. Seriously? What were you thinking?  Can you imagine a Craigslist ad: “Looking for a 3rd person to share our house. You don’t have to pay rent and we will fulfill your every need, including wiping your tushie.” THAT would definitely not work out among adults, would it? So why do we think it would work with children? What, just because they’re CUTE? My college boyfriend was cute, but I didn’t ever want to wipe his tushie.

THEN, as if that weren’t reckless enough, you do it again! The first one isn’t yet self-sufficient, his every whim still must be catered to, you have to buy all his clothes and food AND pay for his care while you go to work to do what? To earn money to pay for his care! So then you and that person you barely know decide it’s a swell idea to invite ANOTHER pants-pooper into the mix.

Let’s say you and that adult stranger both work full time. Why? Oh, because you spent years getting an education and learning a profession, and the idea of watching the Baby First Channel for hours on end or reading “The Berenstain Bears Go to Las Vegas” a hundred times a day just isn’t as mentally stimulating as writing a Supreme Court brief.

Meanwhile, there is still the same amount of laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, cleaning up, bill-paying, etc. to do, only more of it because of those cute little housemates and their demands. They, of course never do their share of the chores, and in fact they undo everything you try to do as if it’s their sole mission in life.

You’ve had housemates who played music with thumping bass well into the night, when you were studying for finals, right? You could try to reason with them, you could use earplugs, you could leave and study elsewhere. Now imagine a housemate who cries in the middle of the night EVERY NIGHT, and you can’t ignore him. You have to try to figure out what he wants, and oh, I forgot to say he doesn’t speak English. So it’s 2 am, you have a major presentation to make at work in the morning, and in your desperation to figure out the problem, you begin to play a guessing game: “Diaper? Bottle? Bad dream? Concerns about the depletion of the ozone layer?” Sometimes you hit on the answer, sometimes you don’t. And then the next night, it’s time to play Charades again.

OK, now let’s pretend you did get a good night’s sleep, by some quirk of fate. Good thing, because you, that acquaintance, and those children you’ve acquired are going to a big fancy party, and everyone must be on their best behavior. You want to show off those little housemates and you also want to seem in command of the whole situation. Both children agree to take a nice long nap while you get ready. You’re all dolled up – hair, makeup, lovely new ensemble that is both fashionable and elegant. You are, in short, The Bomb. You think you may be able to pull off this event with competence and tranquility. The little people awaken and you dress them in their party finery. That other adult in your house has also managed to clean himself up and put on respectable clothing. Off you all go, ready to dazzle the other guests at the party.

Upon arrival, you and the dressed up other adult each extract a child from the car. Wow, you think – what a fine looking bunch of people we are! Not bad for a collection of housemates! Then, the child you are carrying starts to look a bit pale, and before you know it, he spews gallons of stomach contents all over your tasteful outfit, into your purse, into your hair, and over most of his adorable outfit, as well as on the highly polished floor of the party venue. Why on earth did you think it was a good idea to invite this little creature into your life, much less take him to a party? And that acquaintance to whom you pledged your troth – he’s dying laughing at your expense! Har har har. You were looking for compassion from the other adult? Forget it.

We never learn. Human beings repeat this pattern over and over, despite all of the empirical evidence that it’s a roller coaster ride that never seems to end (complete with the inevitable vomit). We do it even though we could have used all the money we spent on diapers and daycare to take fabulous trips around the world, to own many gorgeous cars and boats, and to sport the finest of clothing, unsullied by bodily fluids. We consciously and willingly choose not to be able to read in peace or even complete a thought much of the time. We are wired to bring these adorable little parasites into our lives and our homes, and put up with all their whims, foibles, demands and tantrums.

Why do we do it?  Maybe because of this:

PreschoolGraduation004          Mom chalk

BMB (2)          graj

Wedding.10 crop

Is it worth it?  I think so!  What do you think?


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