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The Parent Trap – How Those With Kids Suck Those Without into Our Cult of Misery

Admiral Akbar "It's A Trap!" Meme - Parenthood
(memegenerator.net)

Misery loves company. It’s human nature. So what better way to spread that misery than by coercing people into the lifelong commitment of raising children.

I have been a parent for nearly 10 years, the past seven of which I’ve spent helping raise two. Why it took me so long to realize I’ve been suckered into what could possibly be the world’s largest and longest running cult, I don’t know. Maybe it’s due to the fact that since I’ve spent a good chunk of that time breaking up fights, arguing over hypothetical situations my kids have brewed up in their heads, or debating the importance of regular bathing, I haven’t had the time to think about much else.

But for whatever reason, this moment of clarity hit me the other day out of nowhere, like what I imagine it would be like for a blind person to see sunlight for the first time. A blinding light (for lack of a better term) that opened my mind to the whole conspiracy.

Follow me here. Think of all the times you’ve had to get on to your kids about something silly in front of your own parents, and the ensuing blowout that followed when they didn’t get their way. What do your parents do? They smile. They chuckle. They’re filled with an overwhelming sense of pride that we are finally getting our comeuppance for all the miserable experiences we created for them when we were kids. Why do they do that? Because it was part of the plan all along.

This isn’t some get-rich-quick scheme, luring you in the premise of making $5,000 a week working from home by surfing the internet. No, no, no. This is a carefully crafted, intricate, multi-tiered plan that is carefully executed over years, that begins with one simple, seemingly innocent question…

When Are You Going to Get a Girl/Boyfriend?

Man Playing Video Game
Also, when are you going to move out? (iStock)

Think about it, for years you’ve been living the high life, no bills, little responsibility, then out of nowhere the winds start to shift and suddenly there’s a movement to get you hooked up with someone and out of the house. As time goes on, the frequency of this question will intensify, and eventually will be followed by the guilt-inducing, “I’d like to have grandchildren before I die” comment. If things go according to plan and you do find that someone special, the plan moves into phase two…

When Are You Going to Get Married?

Engagement Ring
(ThinkStock)

Congratulations! You finally found someone. He or she gets along great with your family and friends, and now everyone wants to know when you’re going to take “the plunge”. This is all done under guise they just want you to be happy, while secretly, they’re just trying to advance their agenda. If successful, it’s on to phase three, the meat and potatoes of the whole thing.

When Are You Going to Have Kids?

Labour childbirth  - breathing exercises
Excellent. Everything is going according to plan. (Leah-Anne Thompson / Thinkstock)

Overzealous parents will start asking this question at your reception. Others will at least wait until you get back from the honeymoon. However, you may wonder, “if the ultimate goal is to get us to have kids, then why not just jump straight to this phase?” Because last time I checked, prostitution is still illegal pretty much everywhere, and they want to make sure you’re at a point where you don’t wind up living with them again. That throws the whole plan out of whack. Plus, given our culture, wouldn’t it seem a little odd if your mom and dad just came out and said, “when are you going to get out there and get knocked up?”

If everything goes as they hoped, then the recruitment you had no idea you were even a part of is complete when…

You Become a Parent

Baby smiling in bed with eyes closed and arms out.
It may look like an innocent smile, but it’s basis is pure evil. (Ingram Publishing)

You’re officially part of a cult you never knew existed. You’re life will be turned upside down. You won’t sleep like used to. A quiet meal is a thing of the past. At some point, you’ll be that family in the restaurant whose child is ruining everyone’s experience. And when there is silence, you’ll enjoy every last second of it because you won’t be sure when it will happen again. All the while, your parents will smile and nod their heads in satisfaction for a job well done.

Don’t believe me? Look at your close friends. Did you all start dating people around the same time? Did you get married within a year of each other? Are your kids roughly a few months apart in age? Do you really think that’s simply coincidence? You’re fooling yourself if you do.

Now that you know the truth, what do you do? You continue the fight. Ask your single friends when they’re going to settle down, when they’re going to have kids. Be relentless. There’s no reason why they can’t be as miserable as the rest of us.

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