Wednesday, May 01, 2013

"Nothing Really Matters"

A while ago I read a post by someone whose child was ill.  It went something like, people complain about their kids' irritating (shrieking at 2 AM!) or intolerable (running into traffic!) behavior, and I used to be all annoyed because they should be so grateful for their healthy children and nothing else matters. And NOW I just realize I should shake my head, because they don't realize that nothing else matters, those foolish people.

I was all like, why is this so irritating?  And then I realized: it's more pain olympics.  Something bad happened to someone; therefore, any lesser pain, irritation, or inconvenience is as nothing.  You're very ill?  Well, at least you're not DEAD!  (See also: My mother-in-law. Yaaaaargh.)

Okay, fine, my wee toddler throwing up in the middle of the night is only once, but I don't have to be happy about doing vomitous laundry at 3 AM.  Nor do I assert that you, or anyone, is required to be happy about vomitous anything at any hour, without respect to the overall health of your child.

Or, as Miss Piggy says, "Nothing really matters.... but MOIIIIII!"


10 comments:

  1. I call this behaviour the misery wars (and wrote/ranted about it here: http://mrscomethunter.blogspot.ca/2010/10/misery-wars.html). It's like the parent who tells the non-parent that they can't really understand what it's like to be tired until they've had a kid. It drives me batty.

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    1. I'll agree with "don't really understand the desire to throw the baby out the window, before they've had a kid", but I feel the experience could be replicated with any mammal which wishes to scream and eat all night. For a very long time. As for tired.... well, that comes in many forms, right? Eh.

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  2. You've written about this before and I don't know what I said then, but here's my take. I think your annoyance is totally justified. It's a dismissive kind of assertion--"you don't get it." Also a healthy dose of "you are wrong for feeling your natural feelings" and some "you don't love your children enough/ the way you should." F* you, random person.

    But I am not annoyed by it. I think it's because I interpret it as "I am forever on the inside of a horrible experience looking out, and if you were on the inside it would forever change you, too, and probably in the following way." And while people experience things very differently, they are probably right--if one of your kids were ill, you might discover that they were spot on. It's like the way kids get told they'll understand when they're older, which is super patronizing, but true. Maybe you've had experiences (depression, graduate school...) that changed you to the extent that you feel like other people are jackasses about that topic. Maybe you're too polite to express such things, but if you feel them on some level, you can relate, maybe? I know I can.

    Obviously these people have the right to express these thoughts and you have the right to be annoyed. Maybe the real reason it doesn't annoy me is 'cause I heavily filter my information flow--people's annoying crap on facebook doesn't annoy me because I'm not on FB, people's annoying blog posts don't annoy me 'cause I don't read many blogs and fairly rapidly stop reading ones that regularly annoy me...Which is all just to say that I am superior to you in many ways. Which I hope you can tell is me being "funny".

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    1. Exactly! Your information filtering is CLEARLY superior to mine and the influence of your many wise years beyond mine also renders you much superior. :)

      I think if my kids were seriously ill I'd stop caring as much but I don't know because they're not.

      (I don't read this blog any more either. But hey! This is MY blog! I complain A LOT!!)

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    2. Though I would like to add that I've never in my goddamn life said "Well, at least I'm not in grad school any more, so everything is just peachy! By comparison the rest of life is wine and roses!" I have said "Now that I'm not in grad school I'm not depressed any more."

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  3. I feel like I can kind of see both sides of this. Like, I think it IS important to be thankful for the things you have, but it's close to impossible to "appreciate" getting up and changing puked-on bedding at 3:00 in the morning. And I think that when people say things like "nothing else matters" it undermines the daily struggles of everyone else. It makes others feel unvalidated, and like they shouldn't be complaining because, in the grand scheme of things, their problems mean nothing. In reality, everyone is fighting their own battles, and if puked-on laundry is the nemesis, I say let them complain! I don't know, but that's my two cents.

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    1. I think, on reflection, it's just the part about 'nobody else's struggles matter' that gets me. Everyone has their own priorities, depending on the severity of their problems, but yes, I doubt many people have ever thought HALLELUJAH at 3 am when changing the sheets... again.

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  4. The pain Olympics is annoying. Everyone has their own things to deal with and it doesn't mean that lesser pain is not still painful.

    That said, my own personal experience with sleep is that I've never known tired like the tired of being a parent of twins (and yes we have done all types of sleep training, many illnesses etc interrupted). And that is compared to the life I had before where I worked 80hr per week and traveled all the time. I don't doubt that there could be people who are because of different life situations

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    1. ... but just imagine if you'd had triplets now.

      (Just kidding.)

      The illness interrupting the sleep training is so frustrating! Tatoe keeps getting un-trained (my latest involves a light on a timer and vapo-rub on his feet for coughing) and I just want him to sleeeeep. And there's only one of him.

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    2. That's what keeps us going in the dark times, hey at least we don't have 3.
      The whole thing reminds me of the fable with the rabbi and the goat/sheep/etc in the house. Would it seem easy now to have only one baby? Sure. But it probably wouldn't have if I had only had one to start. We all acclimate to what we have. (Maybe all new mothers should be given 3+ kids. Then after a few weeks you take a few away, and voila life seems good)

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