Identified as Parentified

I was walking my dog yesterday and listening to a podcast in which George Carlin’s daughter was on, talking about how “parentified” she was as a kid taking care of her alcoholic parents who sometimes overdosed on acid and had bad trips. Without getting into the details, I may or may not have felt like that as a child myself, possibly feeling under nurtured by a mother who was severely depressed at times, often a latchkey kid, often making my own horrific food. (Saltines and American cheese=STAPLE). But that’s not what really resonated with me when I heard the word “Parentified”…

You see, I got pregnant foolishly when I was 19, and had my daughter when I was 20. These days, I hear a lot of talk about “The growing adolescent brain”, and how it is not really done developing until the early-mid 20’s. (Research suggests male brains actually shrink before they finish growing so it’s too bad for them). I laugh to myself, one of those kind-of self-pitying laughs, when I hear this. Having had my daughter so young (by today’s standards for white women), I guess that I myself have been put into a novel, “parentified” situation. The cliche “babies having babies” may not apply to me, as they usually conjure up the image of a guest on the Jerry Springer talk show. But I think I was.

I know that the term “parentified” has a different value for me than it’s definition. I think that it’s a clever play on having a baby young. Sometimes I have felt like I have no idea what the right thing to do is, parenting-wise, but it’s gotten a lot better. I wanted to create a website where I can rehash some of my journey. I value the personal narrative, the memoir, and I know that this time in my life will pass all too quickly.

If I had to break up my “Parentified Life” into a few compartments, they’d include “Co-Sleeping and College…not what you think”, “The Taming of Kindergarten and Nursing School”, “The Search for a Life Partner while Still on the Bottle”, “The Professional in the front, Plastered in the back phase, AKA the #Botox years”, and the current “Secretly Sober and Determined to OverAchieve/Overcompensate in all areas” phase.

My intent, in a nutshell, is to recall my sudden jolt into parenthood while I am still perfecting it, not to look back 20 years from now….although I know I will do that too. I hope I don’t get compelled to start completely chronologically, or edit apologetically.

If you think you know me (and I don’t mean, “soul-wise”), please don’t out me on social media just yet, or leave our names bright and shining in the comments. I am quite certain the pulp lies in the anonymity.


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