The Cult of Parenthood

John Devitt

A hockey strike and the onset of winter.  What do these two things have in common?  Fact: both are the cause of increased pregnancies.

I still remember the barbecue I went to a year and a half ago for a multiple birthday celebration at a friend’s house.  There were probably about twenty people there, all couples, and just as many children no taller than my waist.  The chaos in that backyard is possibly only rivaled by what our veterans faced on Juno Beach.  Sometimes I shudder when I go to sleep and see that image flash across the back of my eyelids.

When I arrived with my date, another couple I know noticed us right away.  “Thank God you’re here!” was the relieved cry to the pseudo-rescue I had unknowingly just performed “Until you arrived we were the only ones here without kids.  Everyone kept asking us when we were going to have one!”

It would prove to be less than twenty minutes before my date and I were asked the same question.  When I had first been invited to the barbecue, I had expected it to be a good time meeting some new people, catching up with old friends and eating a plethora of delicious salads while sitting on soft grass.  Now the true purpose of this barbecue was clear.  I had unknowingly wandered into a recruitment drive for a not so secret cult.  Here, if I did not keep my wits about me, I would be quickly indoctrinated and likely start franchising my seed before I knew it!

First off, before someone starts getting all bunched up and feels the need to comment below about how I’m probably childless myself like that’s a bad thing, I have to say, I am very grateful for all the extra income I have to spend on things like heating oil and mortgages.  I’m also thankful for the time I have to go visit with friends, ride my bike or quietly get caught up on a book I’m reading without needing to reserve a sitter first.   I’m sure my childful friends will appreciate this description of what it was like to one time be childless.

The behaviours of parents have to be some of the strangest of our species.  Take this example:  How often has someone asked you to hold their baby, whether you want to or not, compared with how often they’ll lend you their car.  Personally, I have much more experience behind the wheel then I do with a newborn, yet for some reason all parents want to thrust their infant into my arms.  Meanwhile, I still need that ride to the grocery store.

Similarly, while many people use the market for its traditional purpose, the buying and selling of goods, most new parents instead arrive only to showcase their procreating skills.  Congratulations are definitely in order.  You have managed to do something completely unique that mere billions of people have done for millions of years.  Your reward is the newfound elitism of parenthood where you can brazenly tell the rest of us to watch our language around the indistinguishable bald little person who looks just like all the other stroller bound offspring at the market.

Half of my extended family chose to raise children.  The other half did not.  Quite frankly, I have not yet made up my mind.  However, I have made up my mind not to question others decision for or against.  Anytime anyone asks when someone is planning to have a child is highly inappropriate, including at a barbecue amongst strangers and casual acquaintances.  What if the person you are asking is physically unable to procreate?  It is unlikely they will thank you for that potentially painful reminder in the onrushing awkward social situation.

The only reason to ask another this question is to validate your own decision of entering the cult of parenthood.  The theory goes: if everyone around you becomes a parent, there will no longer be any single people to remind you of the fun life you once lived.

To test where you are on the scale of this theory, visit the following link.  Based on the level of cuteness or relief you feel, you will know how deeply in, or out, of the cult you are.

Be wary new visitors, if you don’t have an infant to match your toque and dog in Revelstoke, you may get run out of town!