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

Mom Moment 17

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 p.m. 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 a.m. 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 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 p.m., 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? 

Image via Linda Sharps


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nonmember avatar Gretta

I think these things matter less the more kids u have. I was more uptight with my first.

nonmember avatar Jen

I agree, except my neighbors started fireworks in May and are still going every single night at 9, 10, midnight, 2AM, and noon for some unknown reason. That's just not acceptable behavior.

Andrea Byrd Plate

Oh, I disliked the fireworks well before I had a kid-because I have dogs who are terrified of them and it's like pulling teeth to get them to go outside to do their business every year on New Year's eve and the 4th.  As for ringing the doorbell...I'm not ashamed to admit I was proactive when my daughter was born and hung a sign on my door during her naptime asking people to please not ring the doorbell or knock, as it would set the dogs off and I'd never get her back to sleep.  Most people respected this and didn't disturb us.  The ones who did, well, let's just say I had no problem going downright feral on them in the early months when my daughter pretty much never slept, on account of being one ounce above officially being a low birth weight baby and had to eat all the time.  Day light savings hasn't ever been an issue for us, thankfully.

miche... micheledo

Great article!!!  Made me smile, laugh, and nod in agreement.

It's much easier now that we live in the country.  Neighbors are to far away to disturb the kids.  :D  

nonmember avatar justamom

I hated and still am only one notch above not being able to stand people who do not respect the fact, at a certain point it's basic common courtesy. while you may not realize 2 hrs. of cutting your little lawn during the day and incessantly barking dogs are a p.i.a that I have to deal with, but at night when you see my lights off, means, "don't bother us." when a lightly sleeping baby turns into a noise-sensitive toddler, yes, I can get nasty. I didn't take my lo to fireworks at local places, so don't set them off across the street from me! also, my lo is 6 and we STILL have the ringer shut off on the upstairs phone. and day light savings time, ugh, at least a week to get adjusted.

JS0512 JS0512

I'm ok with the clock changing, somehow my kids have always adapted.  But the noise gets to me.  It didn't with my oldest, because she was a great sleeper.  But my youngest (2.5) is NOT a great sleeper.  Fireworks are still going off in our neighborhood at 1am these days, nearly two weeks after the fourth.  And I have a neighbor who constantly mows the lawn at 9pm.  With a VERY loud rider that backfires.  He's currently laid off, so it's not like he's doing it because it's the only time he has.  The whole time he's out there I'm on edge waiting for the cries.  Our biggest nemesis right now though is thunderstorms.  She is terrified of them and screams the entire time.  WHO DO I TALK TO ABOUT STOPPING THOSE!?  :)

Coles... Coles_mom

I've never like fireworks. Never will. I did nicely ask my neighbor if they could schedule their lawn service differently. I'm a nap-nazi with three small kid and his lawn service was very punctual twice a week literally at exactly nap time. Everyone was really nice about it and they just bumped it up a couple of hours.

nonmember avatar Kristi

I try not to sweat the small stuff but when you have 2 under 3 sometimes the small stuff is a bit bigger! Great article as usual.

ashjo85 ashjo85

Naps are a public service. My kids turn into fire-breathing, eardrum splitting devil-spawn when they don't get enough sleep. And the effect seems to last for days. I'm just squeezing my eyes shut and waiting for it to pass.

nonmember avatar Kristi

No, the world doesn't revolve around people with small kids but it also doesn't revolve around self centered people. Setting off fireworks in the middle of the night for a month before and after the 4th (and New Years) is rude. Other people need to sleep. Mowing your lawn at 7am is rude. Letting your kids play outside until midnight (in AK, it's still daylight) and not making them check how much noise they make, is rude. Most of these issues could be resolved if people just took a few minutes to think not about themselves but about others. It's called common courtesy, yet if you expect it from people you're being unreasonable and if you're a parent and expect it you're suddenly the most selfish person in the world and only care about your child. Daylight savings time, hated it before I kids. It throws me off for a week and there's no reason for it. And leaf blowers, only hated those when we lived in an apartment where the front doors were kind of in an alcove and they would use the leaf blower to clean the alcove out, which would leave it and your apartment smelling like gas. Hardly pleasant.

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