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That said, there is something wonderful about living in a land of whimsy 24/7. Parenting young children means you’re bound to find yourself deep in complex conversations about invented animals, the inner lives of dollies, and whether or not wolves/fairies/cookie-trees/mean people are really real. Hey, it’s better than discussing Kimye or whatever it is grownups talk about.
I used to think my mother was exaggerating her distaste for any form of media that portrayed a child in danger. “I can’t watch this,” she’d say of the goofiest horror film. Well, guess what. Now that I’m a mother, not only can’t I stomach horror films, I get teary at the news. Heck, I get teary at the weather. The world has revealed itself to be a terrible, terrifying place, full of dangers threatening my babies.
Of course, all this means is that parenthood has pumped me up with an adrenaline shot of empathy. Really, slasher movies probably should be a bit hard on the psyche, and really, we probably should cry when we hear about another family’s tragedy on the news. Being a parent may leave you a bit raw, but it also makes you incredibly receptive to what the world has to say to you.
There is no faking anything once you are a parent. You just don’t have time anymore. Office politics? Whatever, you have to get home to sing your kiddo to sleep. Blahbedy-Blah’s sanctimonious Facebook post that rubbed you the wrong way? You have about 20 seconds to obsess before someone starts crying (not you). Those toxic friends who need too much and give too little? You don’t have anything for them anymore.
This can be a little brutal – hobbies get sloughed off like so much old skin. But there’s also something very clarifying about parenthood. You focus on the important things – your family, your main passion in life (probably don’t have time for more than one, not until kindergarten anyway). You have to. There’s just no time or energy for anything else. There is laundry to do, and children to soothe, and the aforementioned imaginary animals to discuss. Lucky you. Lucky all of us.