Why Being a Parent is More Like Star Trek Than You Might Think
Captain’s log, Star-date 09/01/10…
Parenthood... for most the final frontier (you would think it would be a senior citizen ship...but you'd be wrong). These are the stories of the Starship Parenthood. Our mission: to explore strange new worlds, (playgroups, carpools, PTA and team sports), to seek out like-minded parents that we don't want to throttle, to find time for ourselves. And to boldly go where many have gone before us-only doing it either slightly better, or not that much worse.
Yes parenthood is the final frontier for most couples, finally taking the plunge into a world that no matter how much we think we know, we know about as much as the Starship Voyager after getting sucked into that wormhole. We are confronted with trials from the minute that wiggly pink screaming alien (baby) pops head first into the world.
From trying to decipher their language (cries) to learning their dietary requirements, every day is a new adventure that sometimes our computers, manuals or experience has no way to figure out. And like in most of the episodes we end up just winging it. Every parent is a captain switching to the role of Number One every so often with one another. Of our crew or support group, the head of security is the most neurotic in the bunch, making sure that no matter how baby-proofed your house is---it can be more umm proofed. This role doesn't have to be filled by a Klingon or blonde woman, any overly anxious person will do.
There will be one person who is a robot, holographic or Vulcan being that is in awe of all these new emotions arriving on the ship. This person is usually a friend with the following requirements; not married, afraid of children and thrown into this world not of her own choice but rather "built" into it because their “used to be fun friends” have decided to reproduce. He or she will be reserved at first but by the end of the tale will have either learned how to love this new being and even experimented to understand what it is like to be a parent (babysitting), or they become a redshirt which means they were a part of the show for exactly five minutes and then disappeared.
Then you have your doctor that usually takes on the form of your own parents, who after raising you, know what you’re thinking before your frazzled mind even realizes it, no fancy alien powers needed. Then there is the whiny teenager that hangs around. The teenager is one of the better ones to have on board because if you catch them young you can get them to do a whole bunch of things for you for free under the perception of "learning" or being included. This little bugger can even help save your butt once in a while, even if you have to witness poor wardrobe choices and some sulking. And if you can afford a Chief of Engineering (a nanny or housekeeper) to keep your house afloat with little or no help from the Bridge then more power to you (although without a visor, or Scottish accent I don't know why you would even bother).
You may find yourself like Q. Being the only one of your kind, meaning the only one within your circle, that has a child. You will explore vast galaxies, play groups and mommy and me's and even going as far as joining an organization like the PTA- to find others like you and to help you understand what is happening in your life. In the end you may even find out that you knew the answer all along (queue credits).
You will try to have a pleasant afternoon now and again on the Holodeck only for it to come crashing down with crying children, vomit, trips to the hospital or the characters of the venue (i.e. people in the restaurant or the high-schooler dressed up as Barney that your kid just hit in the nether region) revolting against you. But that doesn't mean you'll stop going. Oh no, even though you know the odds are fifty-fifty that the events of your pre-programmed day will turn against you, you will keep going because when it comes to family outings we don't know when to admit defeat.
Yes there may even be some hostile life forms along the way (inlaws, or neighbors telling your kid to "get off my lawn!" ) that no matter how long negotiations go on you will never be allowed in their territories. Or even worse you may run into a Borg ship and will be forced to assimilate (school board, or class mothers) but remember even on a Borg shop you can find a Seven-of-Nine and turn him/her into a fantastically good looking ally.
If all goes right during your tour of duty, by the end of the day, when you are sipping tea, playing an exotic flute, talking to your Number One or just catching some shut eye, you will be happy with your ship, your crew, and your adventures. You will have survived another day and learned something new and will be able to share your experiences and help others that are on their own ships. You will come to the realization that although it is a long hard road in front of you, with feats unknown and frightening adversaries, like kids with boogies and the common cold, that you wouldn't have it any other way. I mean isn't that why you joined Starfleet ( I mean parenthood) to begin with?