There's a recent Time article that pegs millennial parents as self-involved, competitive optimists who just want to be friends with their children. Most of what is below confirms these things. Except for the friends part. I do not want to be friends with my one year old- he shits himself. We get a bad reputation, but I bet if you asked each generation what they want most for their kids, they would all have similar answers. We all fear they'll turn out exactly like us and nothing like us at the same time. In the spirit of Halloween, here are 5 things that terrify this working millenial mom:
1) Daycare. I'll be honest, the infant room is the saddest place on earth. When Coop started "school" (calling it that makes me feel better about essentially the second mortgage we pay to send him), I wasn't comfortable leaving him there. All the babies are too young to move, so the teachers rotate them from crib, to bouncy chair, to exersaucer, to tummy time, to a lap for a bottle. I'm sure I did the same thing on maternity leave, but it feels negligent when you're paying for childcare. Are they hugging him enough, and have they told him about the importance of equal rights and feminism?
2) Career. Everyday I ask myself if my job is worth missing #gingerbaby. Most days the answer is yes because A) I have not been blessed with the sainthood it takes to stay home with a tiny human all day, every day. I have girlfriends who do it. They are patient and selfless and know just what to say to their children all the time. I am not most of these things, and I make Cooper listen to This American Life in the car when I run out of things to talk about with him. And B) I really do love my job and the people I work with. They are the ones who get me through when I just don't feel like being there. So is the job worth it? Yes. Being a mom just makes you question it more, which is scary stuff.
3) Marriage. #Gingerdad and I have been together for nearly 10 years, but there's nothing like a tiny dictator to make us unrecognizable to each other. Between work and life, sometimes the only time we really see each other is in passing like zombies in the night. Before Coop, the hardest decision to make was what we were having for dinner. These days we're lucky if we remember to eat a plate of nachos before 11pm. We have so many new decisions to make together, and some of them are frightening. Which doctor will help us keep the kid alive? Is our dancing causing him emotional trauma? Do we have to read "It's Pumpkin Day, Mouse!" again? We make each other laugh, which keeps us sane between night shifts.
4) Functioning. Since having a baby, I think I've become terrifyingly good at driving, eating, standing and talking while asleep. I don't know how I would function at any level if I wasn't sneaking in some extra hours somewhere. I'm not sure I'm awake as I write this. Coop has started pushing the boundaries a bit, running away from us in stores and throwing mini-tantrums in the car. I don't seem too bothered, probably from parent-induced narcolepsy.
5) The Internet. I read the millenial Time article online, which told me I rely on the internet too much as a crowdsourcing tool to help raise my child. According to the headlines (who has time for the whole thing?) I read in my Facebook feed, I'm usually doing it all wrong. Formula feeding? Causes terrorism. Pacifiers? Keep orthodontists in business. Gluten? The devil. I guess parents used to just ask a friend or two for recommendations. I ask Google.
There are a lot of things about parenting that freak me out more than ghosts. Gingerbread Baby, himself, isn't one of them.