Time, or lack thereof
I’ve come to the conclusion that children are little, messy time machines. Spending an afternoon alone taking care of the kids can feel like an eternity. But the next thing you know you’re enrolling your children in preschool. Freaky stuff.
Another thing I’ve notice about kids is that they make you want to be old. You want them to be grown up and independent. You want time to speed ahead. Another tool of evolution, perhaps? If you never had kids the aging process would be a kind of scary thing. The inevitability of growing old and loosing your spritely abilities isn’t at first something to look forward to. Your fun times will come to an end. But once you factor in children, the Reluctant Dad can’t wait to be old as, hopefully, the kids should be out of the house and able to feed and take care of themselves. The decrepit state you might be in at this point doesn’t seem so bad given the crippling nature of parenthood that you’re enduring now. So I suppose nature gives us children to make us not feel bad about growing old. Once you have kids all you want to work towards is the state of freedom you had before having kids. You won’t care that you’re old. It will be awesome.
Get up early. I’m constantly amazed at how having children has turned me into something I never was. I don’t want to drink (well, I do but I know I shouldn’t, which is strange for me), I want to be at work all the time, and now I want to get up early. If you get up early enough it’s like being single. The house is quiet. You can eat breakfast leisurely and completely. Some quieter chores can get done. You might even be able to indulge in some popular culture (although it’s annoying to find out how much you’ve missed out on). It’s your golden time.
All this usually requires enough will power to put yourself to bed early, and the luck that the kids let you sleep through the night. If it all goes well, and you manage to drag yourself out of bed around 6am or earlier (depending on when your kids wake up) you’ll have the time of your (new) life. Solitude is vital to your existence.
There is a downside. Your breeding partner will think that you’re good to get the kids up, dressed and fed since you’re already up. There’s a precarious balance with parenthood, and happiness for the Reluctant Dad comes at a price. It’s hard to come out ahead. But after a while you can learn to keep the good and bad about equal. Furthermore, once you find a groove (they can be fleeting, but they do happen) you can edge up the good over the bad. I, for instance, had quite a good day with the kids yesterday, despite my wife leaving me to it alone and taking a 4 hour nap in the afternoon. Of course, some foolish comments got me in trouble with the wife, but one thing at a time.
I use to think that time travel was possible. I’m not sure why I thought that. Too many science fictions books I suppose. Now that I’m old and tired I firmly believe, like most rational people I suspect, that it’s not possible. I further believe this as, to my knowledge, no creative and genius scientist type, having become a parent and deciding it’s not for them, has yet to create a time machine and go back in time to give themselves a friendly warning. Of course, having all the resources and necessary desperation doesn’t help if you’re exhausted to even tell the time anymore.
If you know of anyone who has in fact built a working time machine please email me. I’m just curious, that’s all.