The transition

When you become a parent, you will go through a transition, and this is not a transition by choice. It’s a transition that just happens more or less naturally.

Once you have kids, hanging out with the people without kids suddenly becomes a different thing. Your childless friends don’t understand you, and while you still very much understand them, the relationship changes. Weekly nights out become monthly nights out. Throw in a pandemic, and you don’t ever go out – and changing that back after two years suddenly becomes difficult – awkward even.

But then, for most parents, daycare pops up. It’s where worn-out parents bring their kids, so they can wear themselves out some more at work.

Daycare is also the place to be to meet other completely worn-out parents. Some even have a second child, like us. Those parents are especially worn-out.

With so many worn-out people together, this place becomes a melting pot for potential connection with like-minded people. The more worn-out, the better the connection.

Yet, mostly, parents just awkwardly say hi from behind their masks every morning, and wait in line to guide their kid towards the sink to wash their hands. You know each other, but you really don’t know each other.

All these parents are looking for is an excuse. An opening. I guess the first springtime birthday is one great opening.

Today, we had an opening: our first daycare kid birthday, which we celebrated on a playground with picknick blankets. It cannot be more cliché, but for the first time in a very long time I had the feeling that there were a bunch of people together that understood each other on a level. Talking was optional, being a parent and being there was all it took.

Four or five other parents shared the same language barrier. It didn’t matter. They had kids after all, didn’t they?

We’re all worn-out parents. We can be friends.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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