The birth of the McCaughey Septuplets has everyone thinking and talking babies. Even couples who have never before felt the desire to hear the pitter-patter of little feet stepping all over their stuff are considering taking the plunge. You hear them all the time, these poor, ignorant fools, saying things like, "Oh, the babies are so cute and the mommy looks so happy. And look at the daddy on TV, always smiling. Maybe we should have a baby, too."
If you're a regular reader you know that I'm the proud sire of two girls: Sierra, my two year old who daily redefines the word "hyperactive;" and Chelsea, who is nine. Her goal in life is to become something called "a Spice Girl." I'm thinking about having her checked.
So, as a longtime resident of the parent hood, I feel that it's my civic duty to give these mom and pop wannabes a good dose of the truth before they do something really stupid.
First of all, that is not a smile of joy you see plastered on Papa Kenny McCaughey's face every time he's on the tube. That's the look of a man in complete and utter shock. You see the same dazed grin on the faces of people who open their door to find Ed McMahon standing on the other side or who have had their overextended Visa card confiscated and cut in half by some pimply-faced, convenience store clerk. That's a deer in headlights look, my friends. It will disappear as soon as the chrome bumper of reality slams into poor Kenny's head. Parental roadkill, that's what he's about to become.
Secondly, it's definitely not a good idea to have children just because they look all cute and cuddly on the evening news. This is the same mentality that caused a run on Dalmatian puppies last year after the movie "101 Dalmatians" came out. The Dalmatian was the best selling breed of dog for months after the movie's release. Care to guess what the number one breed now being dumped at the pound is? You guessed it. Better think long and hard over this one, future parents. It's not so easy to get rid of kids.
The McCaughey Septuplets have punched a number of biological timeclocks, including the one belonging to my friend, Candy. Candy and her husband, Clint, are DINKS (Double Income, No Kids), but they're considering becoming DORKS (Demented Outcasts Rearing Kids). Since I'm the biggest DORK Candy knows, my advice was sought.
"Does life change when you have kids?" Candy asked innocently.
I thought about lying to her, telling her that nothing really changes when a bundle of joy is thrown into what has been a pretty calm mix, but then I thought better of it. This woman is my friend, I told myself, and I owe her the truth, no matter how brutal it may be.
Does life change when you have kids? I looked her squarely in the eye and said, "No, Candy, your life doesn't change when you have kids. Your life ends."
If you're a parent, I'll bet you my Barney video collection that your head is bobbing in agreement. Come on, I'll admit it if you will: we are not the same people we were before our kids were born. Those fun-loving, free-wheeling singletons are gone forever, probably off playing poker and drinking beer with all the other former selves. They're living in a world where there are no kids, no responsibilities, no fear of hangovers. Bet they're having a great time, don't you?
Now don't get me wrong. I love my kids more than life itself. Still, I can't help but think about my old self every now and then. I wonder what he's up to, how he's doing, how much hair he has. I say things like, "Before I had kids, I used to stay out all night and sleep all day. I used to take trips and wear fancy clothes and smoke and drink and drive a really cool car... that reminds me, I need to change the oil in the minivan before we go to Chuck E. Cheese on Saturday."
Since the birth of their septuplets, the McCaugheys have been showered with attention and gifts. They were given a customized van from the car dealership where Kenny works as a billing clerk. They've been promised a new home, a lifetime supply of Pampers, free strollers and car seats, furniture, clothing, paid college tuition for the kids, book and movie deals, and the list goes on.
Word to the wise, Bobbi and Kenny: all that stuff is nice, but in the end, it isn't going to make bringing seven screaming babies home any easier.
An abundance of patience, love and understanding, that's all you really need. Oh, and an unlimited supply of Valium. I'll bet you can get it if you ask.
And what did Candy and Clint decide to do? They're going to remain DINKS for now, though they are talking about getting a puppy.
I recommended a Dalmatian.
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Tim Knox, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Radio Host
Founder, The Insiders Club, Giving You The Power To Start Your Business Today
Bestselling Author of: "Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama"
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