Oct 10, 2012 0 Share

A Universal Experience


Father at laptop about to give baby a bottle.
iStockphoto

Moms and dads out there, how do you know when your m(p)aternity leave is over and you're back at your job? 

Your boss gives you crap that you need to spend some time, energy and annoyance dealing with. If the crap wipes off, you're still at home with your baby. If the crap is metaphorical, you're back at the office.

Your boss insists on frequent changes. If you carry him literally to do them, you're still at home. If you only carry him metaphorically, and it's the boss who gets to explain what kind of change is needed, you're on the job. 

Your boss gives you sleepless nights. If she is just as sleepless as you are, quite likely it's a baby. Otherwise, it's your (theoretically) adult boss at the office. 

If you're trying to get your boss to sleep more, it's a baby. If you want him to wake up and smell the coffee, it's your supervisor. 

You need to chauffeur your boss around. If you can do it while walking—and you can strap her in over her objections—that's your baby. If you can only do it by driving, that's your work superior. 

If you have to be there when your boss has lunch (and breakfast, brunch, mid-afternoon meal, supper, late-night repast, etc. ...), it's a baby. If you want to have lunch with the boss but sometimes can't, he's full-grown. 

Your boss demands results yesterday. If the “feedback” is totally inarticulate and delivered at the top of her lungs ... ummm, never mind! 

Just goes to show that some experiences are universal to Aspies and NTs alike. I know multiple Aspies who have raised children. Now it's my turn. 

Now I guess I have an excuse for certain things ... like my occasional OCD/paranoia about what could possibly go wrong in any given situation. (That's correlated with, but is by no means confined to, autism spectrum conditions.) 

It seems such worry has a name—concerned parenthood! You may have heard that “The poor are crazy, the rich just eccentric.” Well, some childless people might be OCD or paranoid, but parents are just watching out for their kids! 

“Why do all those cars drive so fast?”

“They're only going 30 mph, and that's the speed limit! What's your problem?”

“Well, what if my little one dropped her ball and ran out into the street to get it—could a car stop in time?”

“You're right—we need more stop signs (maybe one every block?), more speed bumps (ditto) and we could cut the speed limit down to 15 mph. After all, we always need to keep kids safe!” 

Or at home:

“Honey, this milk is a couple of degrees too cold!”

“Look, just drink it. Milk is supposed to be cold! What difference does a few degrees make? I swear, you are so finicky sometimes.”

But after the baby is born:

“Honey, this milk is a couple of degrees too cold!” 

“Oh dear! Junior can't drink that! Let's heat it up for a minute or two right away.” 

One thing I've learned so far as a new parent is that when you have a baby, you're reliving one of nature's oldest stories. In many ways the experience is much the same no matter who you are.