Dad Brog (#088): The house of cards that is parenting

A long time ago, when I was an active member of a baseball community, among the numerous swipes and passive-aggression shown between nerds on the internet, one of the phrases that often times would set people off, was when person X would make a hypothetical transaction, and then person Y would respond with something along the lines of “[Name of baseball team general manager] would laugh and hang up the phone.”

Person X would usually become incensed and defensive at the hyperbolic idea that an actual general manager would find their proposal to be so ludicrous and stupid, that it would result in their laughter before hanging up on them, and I would imagine the Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif in my head before letting them bicker, before I would inevitably have to call timeout on them because I was also a moderator.

The point is, I often times loved how much the phrase, laugh and hang up the phone on you, rose to such a prominent slight within the community, for something so fairly silly and innocuous.

Two weeks ago, we shipped #1 to South Carolina for the weekend, so that all of her grandparents could get some quality time with their eldest granddaughter, and mythical wife and I could have a weekend where we only had to take care of one tiny human instead of two.  It was one of the easiest weekends we’ve had in quite some time, as caring for one infant/toddler is tremendously easier than caring for two.

It was at this point where I realized that I would be extremely critical and judgmental towards parents of one out there that think their lives are at all difficult, because one child is a fucking cakewalk in comparison to dealing with the two that I’ve got.  I would, metaphorically, laugh and hang up the phone on any parents who thinks their singular child is difficult, because they are one or more additional kids away from knowing what true parenting hell is.

However, no good deed goes unpunished in the world of parenting, so as welcome and pleasant as it was to have a more relaxed weekend less one child, when #1 came back, she brought a nasty virus back with her.  Within a day of returning she had a fever, sneezing and runny nose, and I experienced the joy of having to administer my first COVID test to a toddler, who naturally was not a fan.

Fortunately the test was negative, but of course there’s all the doubt in the world that I did it right, or got enough brain juice on the swab to get an accurate test, but because we don’t have unlimited tests, we just had to have faith that it was negative.

Naturally, within the span of a day, mythical wife is sick, the nanny’s kid who is with us daily is sick, and I thought that #2 managed to escape the plague, but much like her sister, there was about a day of gestation before the shit started to hit the fan.  And unlike #1’s two-day bounce back, #2 has been feverish for five days now, been to urgent care once, only to confirm that it’s not coronavirus, it’s not the flu, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s routinely spiking up to 103F, and on the way back to the doctor first thing in the morning.

And just like that, this is where the house of cards that is our general life comes crumbling down, once again.  My kids are sick just about every single month, it spreads like wildfire, including to the nanny, and her very needed attendance or punctuality takes a hit, which means I have to take a hit with my job, and then I fall behind and feel shitty about my job security. 

Usually, by the time I catch back up to things, the cycle repeats itself with one of my kids getting sick again, passing it onto the other as well as anyone adjacent to my household, and I’m exasperated and repeatedly getting called out by mythical wife for “always being upset.” 

Life is hard.  Parenting is hard.  I love my wife and kids, but everything is hard.  We’re trying our best.  I’m trying my best, and I am not perfect.  I lose my cool and I get upset more than I’d like to admit, but I’m trying.  But damn if it doesn’t feel like there’s occasionally no end to hard mode, and I have to tell myself to not think so hard about circumstances, because there are just a bunch of rabbit holes to fall into, where the outcomes of them aren’t always the best for one’s mental states.