What's Da-da's Job, Anyway?

What? It works, ok?
Some young pup of 19 wrote in and asked what Da-da's "job" as Mr. Mom entailed, snottily suggesting that Da-da was a disorganized weenie (is it that obvious?), and that being a parent was "probably quite easy and natural" -- he used the word 'probably' because he admittedly didn't have children. 

Well. First, Da-da's gonna steer you to THE DA-DA TRENCH TEST (or COMBAT DA-DA), to give you an idea of what you're really in for. What you say is partially true: parenting should indeed be easy and natural, provided you have some idealized dream children that will eventually walk on water and be sacrificed by an unfeeling bureaucracy. The reality is that you'll be blessed with crazed wombat children (esp. after your snide comments). So, read TRENCH TEST ten times, stay up all night reading it, then read it again while carrying two screaming kicking biting 40 lb. wombats up and down stairs 17 times/day. Then plan and make 17 meals a day, clean up after 17 meals a day, change 17 diapers a day times two (Da-da's actually past this, thank GOD), clean out the diaper pail twice a day, stay up all night again, make another 17 meals, clean up barf, clean up barf again, get the wombats dressed, do laundry 17 times, find that favorite toy or stuffed animal that's MISSING AGAIN, coerce elementary school POWs to do daily homework that's clearly against the Geneva Convention, drive POWs from gulag to gulag, make small talk with camp guards and other wombat attendants, determine blame and punishment with an eye toward justice 24/7 (not REAL justice, parental justice), referee endless knock-down drag-out fights and Hulkamania wrestling matches, try and maintain an acceptable level of safety, failing that become a master of triage, clean and bandage 17 wounds, clean and bandage them again at night, bathe mental patients who are dead-set on killing either themselves or their brother in the bathtub, stay up all night again, teach inmates to read and write and speak and do math and science and art and how to do everything on earth without getting killed or becoming a target of rock throwing or lynch mobs, help mental patient wombats how to filter and understand a riot of emotions threatening to blow out their upper layers of red hot atmosphere, mow lawns, trim bushes and trees, rake leaves, kill bugs, weatherize structures, fix plumbing, unclog thousands of toilets, take out trash, become a Santa-like expert in toy maintenance and repair, wash cars, maintain cars, maintain bicycles, maintain scooters and skateboards, manage dry cleaning, change and wash bed linens, coerce mental patients into brushing teeth and wiping butts (theirs, preferably), clean clean clean, teach crazed wombats how to be self-sufficient and responsible, put mental patient wombats to sleep again and again and again and again and again and have them wake you up so you can put them to bed again and again and again and again and again, step on sharp toys in the middle of the night without waking anyone up, fix the toys you stepped on (or throw them away), buy kid clothing repeatedly as it only seems to fit for about three weeks, get sick yourself but do all of the above anyway, go to the doctor and smile and nod when they you need to get some rest and exercise. (And yes, Da-da left out a buncha stuff that doesn't need to be mentioned, but parents know of what Da-da speaks.)

While all this is going on, you'll invariably worry. WORRY ABOUT EVERYTHING. You think you won'.t, but you will. You can't help it. Are your mental patients happy? you'll wonder. Are they eating? Are they eating the right things? The wrong things? Are they eating the toys you can't find? And speaking of that, will your mental patients STAY mental patients? Is your youngest's meanness to the cat indicative of a deep-seated mental illness that will one day sprout wings and take out a major metro? Are your kids safe? Are your kids morons? Is it your fault your kids are morons? Are you a moron for having kids in the first place? (Sorry, that's rhetorical.) Does the car really need new tires to the tune of $940? Are you really saying the same words over and over again to no effect? Do your children understand any known language? And is that loud mean voice coming from your mouth being channeled from your own parents 30 years hence through some bizarre parenting wormhole? That can't be you, right? And are you getting fat? Is that really your face? Can you really live on french fries and chicken nuggets? What are these nugget things made of anyway? And why DID your hair go white overnight? Was it their screaming? Your screaming? The endless tantrums? Is that buzzing in your ears hearing damage from too much kid-howling OR ARE YOU JUST GOING CRAZY?

Now. Experience this every day and every night. 24/7/365. For years and years. Without sleep. Or a shower. Then perhaps you might understand that peculiar thousand yard stare you see on the faces of those strangely silent, unkempt and stinky BLANK-EYED people you carefully steer clear of and joke about at the store. Yes. They are PARENTS. And they are stark raving mad. The good news is that YOU will be the next victim. It's why the crazies are always trying to talk other people into having kids, so they can say, "SEE? TOLD YOU."

Children, like cats, are scale models of Chaos Theory in Action. Chaos always triumphs over order; organization works only so far. Sure, you need be organized, otherwise you're goin' down, but you have to accept the fact that your organization will be constantly imperfect, fraying and unraveling, just like Da-da's tenuous sanity. So, flexibility and a goodly sense of humor are more than important: they're all that separates you from the abyss. There is a bright side. You might get a hug once in a while. And then you'll eventually die. (Not from the hug.) Why? Because you need your rest. After you write about it all, o'course.

Shh. Da-da's sleeping.

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