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Complaining About Fireworks, Daylight Saving Time & Leafblowers Is Just Another Parenting Stage?

Posted by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM
  • 8 Replies

Complaining About Fireworks, Daylight Saving Time & Leafblowers Is Just Another Parenting Stage

by Linda Sharps

When I was the parent of a noise-sensitive toddler and a never-sleeping baby, I hated Fourth of July fireworks. I hated how people started setting them off two days before the actual holiday, and how the sizzling pops and bangs went on forever -- like, it's midnight, have some goddamned consideration! -- on the night of the 4th. I hated every asshole who furtively set off an illegal mortar or two, activating sonic booms that would cause me to bolt upright in bed, waiting fearfully for a child to start crying. I hated all of it, and I complained bitterly about July's selfish noise-polluting jerks every chance I got.

Now that I have older kids and my own sleep/sanity isn't threatened by holiday-themed explosive pyrotechnic devices, I have a brand new perspective on fireworks, along with Daylight Saving Time, afternoon leaf blowers, and phones that ring after 8 PM. Namely: that the entire world does not in fact revolve around people with small children -- nor should it.

Here's the thing: as parents, when we complain about the insensitivity of someone getting trigger-happy with fireworks in the days leading up to the Fourth, we're really complaining about how our child's reaction to the event will affect us. Ditto to moving the clocks twice a year, or enduring the sound of a doorbell being pressed in the middle of naptime. When our children are very young, we get downright feral about preserving their sleep, which is why we fantasize about plunging a salad fork into the eyeball of the neighbor pressure-washing his driveway at 11 AM OH MY GOD HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO MEEEEEE.

I remember being angry at the Blue Angels for having the audacity to go screaming over our house during Seattle's Seafair festival. I imagined picking up the phone and calling, say, the Secretary of the Navy. "HELLO?" I would bark. "YEAH HI YOUR STUPID FLIGHT DEMONSTRATION SQUADRON JUST TOTALLY WOKE UP MY TODDLER SO YOU OWE ME $29 MILLION DOLLARS AND A NEW NAPTIME."

Peek at any social media platform during DST and you'll see thousands of parents bitching mightily about the horrible injustice of having to set the clocks forward or back. It screws up their kid's sleep schedule for weeks. It's totally pointless. It's the worst. I was like that too, until the beautiful year came when I could just send my kids to bed and whether or not they fell asleep right away didn't affect me at all. Now I can't wait to set the clocks forward because it signifies the end of the Pacific Northwest season of Just Kill Me when it's dark out at 4 PM, and I'm sorry, I cannot muster the energy to care that it's not universally loved by my fellow parents.

The fascinating thing about having children is how your world expands overnight -- yet somehow everything simultaneously narrows. In those early months, I think everyone has a sort of tunnel vision where it's all about just making it through the day. We react with fury to things that disrupt the flow, even though they're usually perfectly innocent (pressure-washing neighbor: "I'm sorry! I didn't know! Please put down the fork!").

It's natural to complain about things that make our lives harder, whether that's a chainsaw running down the street or a screeching ground spinner firework or a guy knocking on your door to hawk his carpet cleaning services. But honestly, no one should expect these things to go away because they have a baby at home. Life goes on, and life is loud and messy and if we're lucky, sometimes there are bitchin' roman candles.

And truly, the bottom line is that everyone has to serve their time in the trenches. Certain things just intrinsically suck with little kids, and the only way out is through. Eventually you'll be on the other side ... feeling just a tiny bit smug when everyone else is rending their garments over a few celebratory explosives.

Where do you stand on fireworks/noises/changing the clocks?

by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM
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Replies (1-8):
bzzybeemomof3
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 10:06 AM

 I have 3 kids, 11 5 and 17 months and I can honestly say when they were babies, fireworks, phone calls and time change and any other kind of noise didnt not effect my babies.

I never gave 2 thoughts about any of it at all, and I am not American but on labor day and on Canada day ppl set of fire works days before and days after going well into the middle of the night 1-2am, and nothing I haven ever cared. lol

mnmbaby
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 11:21 AM
I've never liked the time changes, period. It messes up my sleep and schedule for almost a month each time. I didn't need to become a mother for any of those things to irritate me.
Alexsi1
by Alexandra on Jul. 16, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The time changing drove me nuts before kids, but that's it. Fireworks and noises are just something I let roll. 

Marimaru
by Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 3:55 PM

I think it's funny that the author starts out being a parent who would complain about other people living their lives not caring about her kids naptimes, but then once her kids are older, she now says "The world doesn't stop for you, you shouldn't expect it to."  I wonder what her feelings would be if she suddenly had another baby, and was back to hoping naptime was quiet.

I try to control what I can, and manage the things I can't control.  So, 4th of July, my baby fortunately slept through everything.  My toddler liked our fountain show, but the mortars other folks were doing late into the night were freaking her out.  So we set her up on the couch with her favorite pillow, and turned down the lights and played on our computers quietly while she fell asleep.  It wasn't a huge deal.  

So, to the author's closing statement, no, I won't be "on the other side feeling smug", because I'm just handling it while I'm here, instead of flipping out and wishing other people weren't affecting my life by living their own.

mysticalmalissa
by Silver Member on Jul. 16, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Since I am guilty of mowing at sun up, I have no issues with others making noise at crazy times.  


Momniscient
by on Jul. 16, 2013 at 4:07 PM
I've never thought the world should revolve around my kid.
I'm the parent. I manage my kids and I expect other to do the same as I will not be changing my habits to suit their kids.
MooseMomma
by Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 4:59 PM
The only thing that has ever woken my son up from a nap/bedtime is when someone knocks on our door and the dogs go crazy barking. Otherwise he sleeps through everything. Only time I get really snippy about it is if it is a Jehovah's Witness or the time it was a guy who wanted to know if we wanted to sell one of he cars in our driveway. Don't come knocking on my door if you aren't invited. That annoys me.
JTE11
by Gold Member on Jul. 17, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Where I stand is that while these things are annoying or troublesome they are a part of life and there is a great difference between venting about the inconvenience of them and actually, say, yelling at the neighbors to complain as if they owe you something. The world does not revolve around my DD's sleep schedule, but my world does. I had a baby who almost never slept and who screamed with colic when she was awake so when she did go to sleep it was miraculous. If I needed to vent about being awake for the third straight night because of fireworks then it's better than the nuthouse or harming my kid but I would never be so self-absorbed as to think other people should see my difficulties and change their activities to cater to my needs.

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