Parenthood is a club which to the uninitiated remains shrouded in mystery, and it is kept this way for good reason. Unknowingly, a secret oath of silence is sworn by every parent before the placenta even hits the deck. ‘Tell not of the stress that prevails, lest the childless run screaming for the hills and their clocks stop ticking.’
Yes, sometimes it really is best to let ignorance prevail.
Now, back to this club. Not unlike many fitness centres, this particular set up comes with a couples automatic lifetime membership, and a host of non optional add-ons. A list of rules and restrictions as long as your arm, a strict code of conduct and a need for such self sacrifice that even the most devoted disciple will be tested.
The contract is and remains iron clad, watertight and completely non negotiable. Even if you could read the incredibly small small print, you most probably wouldn’t understand one word of it. The joining fees that seem reasonable, even good value at the on set, can and will increase at an alarming rate as the years go on, with no particular rhyme, reason or warning.
In short, much like the mafia, this club is defiantly not one for the faint hearted, flighty or indecisive. It has no backdoor escape or payout clause, and the term ‘lifetime’ in your membership does actually refer to the remainder of yours.
So just to be absolutely clear…
When it comes to parenthood, there is NO instruction manual, NO complimentary allen key and NO 0800 Help Line. And there is defiantly NO ‘Oh My God what have I done’ 30 days satisfaction or your money back guarantee.
Now that we have covered the realism of it all, let me quickly say that there are of course a 1000 positives to parenthood, not least that to join this club there is no interview or intimidating panel to impress, and no limit to the number of times you can reapply. It is undoubtedly the best thing since the coco bean was first discovered and Ebay introduced couch potato shopping.
Becoming a parent is like entering a world where everything trivial that you ever thought mattered, no longer does. Your life and your priorities change forever and the universe ceases to revolve solely around what side of the bed you got out of that morning.
But the best thing about being a parent is that, even when you realise your carefully planned and structured life is in utter chaos, you also realise that you wouldn’t change it for the world.