(7 min read)
Pretty egotistical title, I know. Its a lie – It was meant to grab your attention and elicit a reaction. The true title is probably something more along the lines of:
“New Parents… Chad is a twit – He makes a lot of mistakes and poor assumptions about parenting – Here’s how you can learn from his mistakes!”
anyway – here is a collection of things I’ve changed perspective on as a parent- cheers to you doing better!
- Enjoy your time in 5 – 10 minute increments
Yesterday my daughter crawled up into my lap to watch a college softball game on TV. She showed genuine interest and was really into it, asking appropriate questions based on observation. I remember feeling just fulfilled and happy. What a great dad moment…one of those things that makes parenting great – until she heard the neighbor friends and dumped me faster than my prom date of ’91. Damn that burns. It was a great while it lasted though.
The time was great for her though – real bonding with pops! Now whats next?
As adults we enjoy our experiences as they evolve and grow and tend to equate time happy with better experience. To kids, not so much. They just want happy.
My dad and I had this dream bonding trip I always envision – It was the NCAA Wresting National Tournament. We sat and discussed different team’s strong points and positioning and guts and glory. I was 40. It was nice and the tantrums were at a minimum with me being…well, 40 years old. It doesn’t happen at 6. Our brains are just a lot more meshed as adults.
DisneyWorld has figured this out – that’s why 70 minutes in line and 3 minutes of spinning teacups is FUN. Just enjoy it while you’ve got it –even in 5 minute bursts – that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
2) Your life isn’t over, it’s just different
Having kids is great and strange and wonderful and just plain different. But it’s not a “life over” deal. Yes, The social scene –clubs and bars – that’s changed but that wasn’t really the priority it was in my youth by this point anyway. It’s about Jumping World now and seeing my kids socialize.
At times I have fond reminisces of my “good ole’ days and double-fisting long island ice tea’s at dollar day but truly, at the end of my path, I think these times with my kids will be my actual good ole days. These new experiences are so much more rewarding, fantastic and magical than the smoky loud bars of my 20’s. My kids still travel with me and are there for all the important pieces of how I live.
I think the parents that completely 180 changed who they are, how they react and live just kind of went a little overboard on how much kids change things.
Seriously, just pack your kids up and take them with you.
I don’t feel I’ve really changed that much – just my point of focus and how less important small thing are.
3) There’s a significant amount of whining (you need to be ready for this)
Wow – dude it’s intense – the whining. I just want this stage over with already. It’s my constant bitch about my kids, really my only REAL complaint. Until you read the last line again…see? I’m whining about stuff now. We whine as adults every bit AND MORE than any kids do on any day. WAY more. Pull up Facebook for one minute or just turn on the news. Complaints and whines… like a gang of 4 year olds when the ice cream truck starts her wonderful mouth-watering music up.
Kids?? Puh, ADULTS whine!
We just don’t have that little high pitched annoying voice – get ready for that!
4) You will learn as much (or more) than you teach
It’s incredible – being a parent is far more than what the brochure had us believe- school work and projects with my kids and how they see and move about the world…nothing like it exists – It’s incredible and keeps us young and our minds sharp. Embrace this! Learn Spanish or guitar or how to dive WITH YOU KIDS.
5) You do it your way and other families do it their way
Don’t judge or compare other families and how they do stuff and don’t feel the pressure of how you do yours. My youngest sleeps in our bed. a lot. Too much. But it works for us and just makes sense a lot of times. My other kids sleep on the floor with their dogs like an aboriginal family and it works. Do it your way. Experiment with what works for you.
6) Never! Yeah right.
I have a warning. The word “Never” will make a fool of you.
As in, “I’ll never let my kids eat in the car” or never let them have an I pad when we drive or watch movies when friends are over or eat Doritos etc. on and on and on.
Do what works for you and what keeps your sanity. A six hour road trip without a Disney movie would be torture for all of us. And for what? Because we decided when they were babies we wouldn’t? C’mon man. Roll with it.
See the article, there’s a story to this but it’s a good point.
8) Kids don’t value money or care one bit about the “cost” of things
“do you know how much this costs?”
“quit wasting food”
“do you know how long this will take me to clean up?”
“do you even know how much this hotel costs per night?”
“you just ruined a $100 ____”
They don’t care. Or know. Or value it. Even if they are old enough to know they still do not value it – they can’t conceive the difference of a job that pays $40,000 a year vs $100.000 a year nor do they really care.
Don’t wreck this for your kids – the fact they don’t understand the value of stuff is in my opinion, a good thing…They have the rest of their adult lives and forever to worry about money. You’re doing a good job as a parent if your 6 year old doesn’t give a damn and values a Dr. Pepper the same way he values his bike. His age and emotional development is in the “immediate NOW!” stage. Instant gratification.
It’s called the “Emperor Complex” and it’ll help you cope with parenting to understand that they see themselves as the most important human in existence on the entire planet.
Isn’t that what you want them to think at this age anyway? Chill-out dude – things like couches, cars, money and sodas will come and go multiple times over the course of your life – this ride on the rock we call Earth happens once – get your values square view it as a learning experiment and move on.
9) Your kids don’t need to live your life
I hear parents say to me – “I moved to my old neighborhood because I want my kids to grow up the way I did. Go to the same schools, Sunday school at 9 am, same convenience store and park, same little league…etc.etc.”
Why? Why do I want to force my kids to live my life from, duh, a generation ago?–
Things have changed and This time is about them.
I was a superjock kid. Maybe my kids won’t be into football and soccer and superjock stuff – Maybe they’ll be into a whole different set of things and play the Cello at Carnegie hall or be a fry cook on MARS. I’m ok with my kids creating their own strong independent identities and coming up with their own conclusions. That’s a HUGE part of their development and why I love them. And guess what, they’ll surely pick up a lot of what you love just through osmosis alone and more than likely we end up on similar paths and likes and values, relax. Just be a parent.
That’s all – 9 tips I’s wished I’d learned earlier.
I’m sure with feedback there are many more we can dive into both as tips and in a funny educational way – please feel free to comment….this is stuff I wish I would have known just to decrease my self questioning and doubt – I’m such a twit.