Articles, advice and tips for fathers - Reluctant Dad

Better understand children

It seems like it’s not too long after people are congratulating you on the arrival of a newborn that they start telling you, “It will get better.” At least the ones who survived having children. Of course, your friends that don’t visit anymore and who’s names take a minute to come to mind when you bump into them at the store are thinking it sucks to be you (this is where kids can come in handy as they’re usually doing something like trying to eat detergent out of your shopping cart. This you can use as a distraction from the fact that you can’t remember your friend’s name. They won’t even notice as you are clearly too preoccupied and unpleasant to be around, so they’re usually quickly on their way). Don’t worry though. Soon it will all happen to them and you’ll have a hard earned head start towards the freedom of out of state college, which may well be worth the money.

What I would like to know is where were these people who are telling you “It gets better,” before you had kids. “It gets better” indicates clearly that it’s a whole lot not better to begin with, and for quite a while after. It’s too late to tell you that once they see you at your worst after having gotten four hours sleep over three days and no longer are able to comprehend something as complicated as shoelaces (I now use Velcro fastening shoes, which I sometimes don’t even have the time to fasten).

Furthermore, you’d think they’d have let on about the “it gets better, but not right now” phenomena when your partner was going on about how it might be nice to have a baby. I know why they didn’t – vindictiveness. That’s what keeps the human species alive. Vindictiveness. They’ve made their lives infinitely more difficult, but don’t let you know as they don’t want to be the only ones in that situation. It’s like when you haven’t done your homework. If half the class didn’t do their homework aswell, you don’t feel bad at all. But if you’re the only one, then you panic. So there you have it. The characteristic that keeps the human race propagating is vindictiveness.

And “it will get better,” does you no good. You know it will get better, if you survive. It has too. Decades from now you’ll get to sleep in later than 6:30am . One day you’ll actually have to use an alarm to wake you up, instead of the hungry, disgruntled wailing of early morning spawn. Also, “it will get better,” just isn’t good enough. I want to hear “It will get euphoric,” not that it’s just “better.” Better is crap, I say. I want illegally and possibly life shorteningly fantastic.

TIP: Everyone once in a while try to pretend that you really wanted kids. After coming home from work or for an afternoon on the weekend act like you really like hanging out and playing with the kids. Do whatever your offspring want to do, which is generally just play and be with you and, if they can talk, tell you about random and unrelated events that happened throughout their day. If you can forget temporarily all the useful and productive things (which are mostly chores) that you could be doing instead, you’ll actually find yourself having fun. Your kid(s) really just want your attention and to be with you (weird, I know). It’s so simple. And what’s really odd is that you’ll find you’re not yelling at the kids in frustration or anger. It can be tough, but it’s well worth it as it gives you an insight as to how it could be if you are able to adjust to this bizarre, new life (the kids aren’t about to adjust anytime soon, so it’s all up to you I’m afraid).

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