I feel like I’m a contradictory person. I’m equal parts optimist and pessimist. One minute I’m a bright and cheery soul without a care in the world, the next minute I’m a dark and dreary emo kid whose thoughts are full of death and destruction. I suppose that’s why I can go straight from listening to an uplifting pop rock band like the Rocket Summer to listening to a blistering black metal band like Emperor.
These two halves of me seem mutually contradictory, but they are both equally necessary to making up the sparkling yet murky enigma that is me. At least in my warped mind, there is no darkness without light, and there is no light without darkness.
I mention all this so that you, dear reader, can gain some assurance that, as cranky and angry as I may come across in my blog, I really am a cheerful person. Except when I’m not, of course. And right now, I am not.
The source of my crankiness this week is a little difficult to explain, so bear with me. First of all, I love my kids and my wife. I just want to get that out of the way now, so that there may be no doubt later on, despite anything I may or may not say. Such as this: sometimes, I miss my life prior to having a wife and kids. I miss the days of being able to sleep as much as I wanted. I miss being able to buy as many video games as I wanted, AND having time to play them all. Ah, it was the life.
Of course, it wasn’t REALLY the life, or I wouldn’t have left it behind. At the time, I was desperate to find somebody who would be willing to put up with being my wife. And when I did finally find somebody who fell for my ploy was willing to share my life with me, I jumped at the chance to say goodbye to my bachelor lifestyle.
The thing is, I didn’t really realize at the time what I was getting myself into. And now I sometimes wonder if I would have been so eager to leap headfirst into marriage if I’d really known what marriage was like. (Again, I love my wife, so don’t read too much into anything I’m saying here.) Marriage is hard, and parenting is even harder. Sometimes, I miss those easy days when all I did was eat, sleep, play video games, work, or some combination of those four things.
In any case, it’s not really pining for my youth that’s making me cranky this week. No, my crankiness stems from the fact that some people seem to genuinely love being a parent. I mean, not like me, who loves it but sometimes wishes that he could take a break from it. No I mean like, loves it and never ever in a million years would ever give it up. These people make me cranky.
Now, I’m not sure whether it’s them and their attitude that’s making me cranky, or if it’s what their attitude says about me. All I know is, I’m cranky and I gotta take it out on somebody.
First of all, I find it very difficult to believe that these people ALWAYS think it’s perfectly wonderful to have kids. Could it be? Do they really enjoy their kids at all times? Do they never think, “Man, life was so much simpler back before I had kids”? Or is their sunny exterior really just an act? Unfortunately, I don’t know anybody like this personally, so I can’t exactly ask.
Secondly, if there really are people who never regret their child-having, why am I not one of them? Am I a bad person because I sometimes think about my kids, “Boy, if you hadn’t been born, I could be playing Halo: Reach right now”? I’m not sure I appreciate the implications about myself if these people really exist.
So basically, the real reason I’m cranky is because there are people out there who seem like they are better than me and I feel like a bad person by comparison. Frankly, I need to just stop comparing myself to other people. There is always going to be someone out there who is more attractive, or smarter, or richer, or a better parent, or whatever. There’s really not much point in trying to be “the best” at something, because there’s always going to be somebody better. Unless of course you’re Peyton Manning. But even if you are, someday there’s going to be somebody who is better than you. Just ask Brett Favre.
I’m probably going to keep on comparing myself to other people anyway, cause that’s just how I roll. I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as I keep in mind that it doesn’t make me a bad person just because I sometimes wish I didn’t have kids, or because I don’t have a Ph.D, or because my mother and my wife are the only people who comment on my blog. I just am who God wants me to be, and that’s (more than) okay.
But I digress. I still confess to being baffled that there are some people who seem like they never yearn for the simpler days before kids. Now, when my daughter snuggles her little head into my chest, I have no regrets. When my son says “Snuggle with Daddy?” and he’s not just saying it so that I won’t punish him for something, I have no regrets. When my daughter is screaming her little head off because she doesn’t have a sippy cup 5 MINUTES AGO, I have regrets. When my son is screaming his head off because I didn’t eat my lunch in the right order, oh yeah, I have regrets.
Maybe people who never regret having kids have perfect kids. I wouldn’t know what that’s like. But, I love them anyway. And even if I sometimes have regrets, I really wouldn’t ever go back. Now if only they’d just grow up and move out. I’m totally turning my daughter’s room into a man-cave the day after she leaves for college.