What Not to Say to a New Parent

I was chatting with a old friend of mine. You know a best friend from the past that you reconnect with occasionally out of some sense of loyalty. We were talking about some cool changes happening in her life. After chatting about her life, she asks me how things are going with Hell and life.

Whenever I answer the question “How are you?” or “How is parenthood,” I always tailor my answer to the person. Some people don’t really wan’t to know that you are occasionally miserable. Some people don’t want to know that parenthood is difficult. They only asked the question to check a box on the socially expected questions worksheet.

Well, not literally, but I am sure someone out there has made a worksheet like this.

This person, however, is the parent of three kids. I have heard so much crap during their reign as parent that I felt honesty was acceptable, so I told them that I sometimes missed my old life and felt like I lost a piece of myself that I had yet to rediscover. Then this person that I had looked up to as some example of parenthood, someone who would understand my pain, and maybe even a mentor to lead me through the fog said “Well, Welcome to Parenthood.” and moved the conversation on.

Welcome to Fucking Parenthood.

Instead of feeling comforted, I was one part hurt and one part angry. What kind of response was that? Maybe I misjudged. Maybe my expectations were too high. Who knows. In that moment, I wanted to tell them to go to hell, without my Hell, of course.

Ok.  A few people might be pondering what is wrong with that response.

To me, that response said, “It sucks for everyone, so suck it up.” Had this person been my sole support system, it would have been like having no support at all. What had I expected? An ounce of empathy, a millimeter of hope, or even a boatload of sarcasm would have shined a little light.

Some new parents take to parenting like it is their long lost destiny, others struggle to simply making it from hour to hour. When someone tells your they are struggling, please, don’t dismiss their struggles because they seem common. Never dismiss them.

Parenthood is not a club devoted to pain and suffering. If you or someone you know is suffering, please listen to them, even if you can’t help them. Sometimes a few comforting words are all you need to regain hope, or at least pretend to give a shit.

caring


 

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