Upon greeting me in the morning, it is common for my workmates to enquire as to my demeanour.
“How are you?”
This is a dangerous question. My natural defences haven’t had a chance to replenish themselves at this time of day, nor have I had the opportunity to artificially shore them up with some sort of caffeinated beverage. It is far more likely that this question can dig it’s way right through to my gooey centre, my reaction more reflexive than reflective.
“Right, bad night with the girls then? Who’d have kids, huh?”
Unfortunately, this is the Jason that my friends see most of the time. They don’t get a chance to see me when I’m at home, playing with my smiling and new-to-giggling offspring. They don’t see me in social circumstances due to the fact that I generally like to get home as early as I can to spend some time with my girls/relieve Amy of them. They don’t see the illogical complexities of parenthood – e.g. 3 hours of screaming is almost entirely negated by 15 minutes of smiles and cutes.
I think I may also be overly sensitive to gushing about my kids. I’ve heard the reactions of people to overly-excitable parents with their fold-out photo folios and extensive and innovative stories about poop. They aren’t generally well received. I may take it too far, but the result is that they don’t get to hear about the best parts of the whole experience. Practical examples of the oft-used “It’s hard, but it’s so worth it” affirmation.
I encourage parents out there to be mindful of how they come across as parents to others. If your peers were to describe you, would they class you as “having a tough time of it”, or “loving it, despite the difficulties”? Rest assured, minuscule readership, that I am in the latter category. It is hard, but it is so worth it. There are times when it all seems too difficult, but those times are rare and separated by the most intense feelings of love and validation that mere words simply cannot describe.