I’m not gonna lie, I was a proper bellend before I became a parent. I was one of those “this is what you’re supposed to do” type twats who thought he knew it all because he had read a few parenting books. What a wanker. Well now my views have changed. Well, at least somewhat. I mean I’m still a slight bellend – just ask my wife – we all know that’s hardly going to change any time soon. But this is a post all about how my views on parenting have changed since I’ve actually become a parent. I dare say you gathered that from the title.
How My Views on Parenting Has Changed Since Actually Becoming a Parent
I wouldn’t necessarily say I used to look down my nose at parents before I became a dad. I’m not that much of a prick. I knew that being a parent was a hard job to take on, but I did used to dislike certain styles of parenting.
When you actually become a parent, however, you suddenly realise that this shit can be bloody hard work. Sometimes you simply need to chill out and look after yourself for a little bit, or merely do stuff just to survive. So here are 5 ways that my views on parenting have changed since becoming a parent.
1. You don’t have to verbally interact with your children all the time
Brain Rules for Baby is a book that has had a MASSIVE impact on my style of parenting. It’s a book I read multiple times before we finally became parents, and I would highly recommend anyone to give it a read.
I also understand that you can’t always stick to what the research says is best for your children. In that book I believe it says that you should avoid showing your child screens or TV until they hit the age of at least two. Does anyone ever stick to that suggestion? Do they fucking bollocks.
Same with word count. In my head I wanted to say 1000 words an hour – no idea who’s counting – to help with Isabelle’s speech development as that’s what the book suggests. Do I always talk pleasantly and frequently to Isabelle to help her with words? Pfffffft. No chance. Sometimes I lie there with a blank expression and can barely muster up the effort to make an exasperated fart noise.
LESSON LEARNED: you don’t have to actually talk to your children all the time. Occasionally ignoring them in favour of aimlessly looking at the wall is sometimes acceptable.
2. The Arts and Crafts Box Isn’t Just For Creative Play
Before becoming parents we would occasionally buy arts and crafts type items whilst they were on offer to slowly build up a wicked arts and crafts box for when we had children. My idea behind it was that we could spend the day together joyfully drawing and making fun things using glitter and glue.
“What about now?”
These days I want to burn glitter to the fucking ground. There’s nothing I love more in life than when Isabelle gets the glitter out, magically unscrews the lid and…
Don’t get me wrong, I can’t exactly say much. When my wife was proofreading this post she turned to me and said “you know you’re worse with the glitter don’t you?” And as usual she’s actually right. Shock, shock.
Suffice to say, despite the fact I really do love to encourage Isabelle to be as creative as possible, sometimes the arts and crafts box is less “Arts and Craft Box” and more the “please distract yourself for five minutes whilst I warm my coffee up for the third time” box.
LESSON LEARNED: The arts and craft box is merely something to use to give yourself 5 minutes peace without feeling guilty. Also don’t put glitter in there. EVER.
3. Sometimes Children are fussy eaters purely because they just are
Before becoming a parent I assumed that the whole reason children were fussy eaters was because parents would steam a little bit of broccoli and fully expect their children to eat it.
It all seemed so simple. Give children tasty things to eat – which can still be healthy – and they’ll pleasantly eat it all and say “thank you very much, dad. That was lovely!”
Is it always as easy as that? IS. IT. BOLLOCKS.
Sometimes toddlers are fussy eaters for the very simple reason that they are just total knobheads. They don’t understand that it took you 3 bloody hours to nail an awesome cooked dinner. All they can think about is the fact that they’re 90% sure that they saw you sneak a malteser from somewhere hidden in the kitchen.
ALSO… Toddlers have absolutely ZERO idea what nutrition is. So why in the hell would they willingly choose to eat the shitty bit of steamed veg you half-assedly prepared when chocolate tastes so much better? Think about it. Without understanding the health benefits of food isn’t it rather logical to just want to eat the nicer tasting food?
LESSON LEARNED: Dinner time can be an utter twat. Just get some food in them and hope for the best. Also buy dogs. They make for effective floor cleaners.
4. It’s Perfectly Acceptable to bang them in front of the TV for a few minutes peace
I’ll be honest with you, I still don’t really like this one. And I do try to see it as a last resort.
But do I ever just stick Isabelle in front of the TV with some weird shit from YouTube on? Of course I do. When it’s 7pm and I’ve had 12 hours of effectively living with an escapee psych patient, sometimes I just want to switch off and twat about on my phone. And no, Rachel – my wife – I don’t do this willy nilly just for the fun of it. But sometimes I do need Isabelle distracted so I can film some weird shit for Instagram. Sorry.
Also, nothing counts before 7am. If you wanna wake up at 5:30am then you got no chance of getting much effective parenting out of me.
Before becoming a parent I thought putting your child in front of the TV simply amounted to lazy parenting. These days? Well I still think it technically counts as lazy parenting to a certain extent. Let’s be honest. But there’s just nothing wrong with doing it so you can chill out for
thirty five minutes.
I still don’t like seeing Isabelle’s expression when she has a phone or something on YouTube she’s balls deep into. It’s this gormless, dazed look that just makes me feel slightly dead inside. But at the same time, she’s distracted, so YAY!
LESSON LEARNED: There’s nothing wrong with a bit of TV so you can get some down time. Days don’t have to be bloody filled with creative, enriching experiences. Peppa Pig is still shit though and I’ll always refuse to put it on.
5. You’re not always going to like your children
Fuck me was I wrong about the idea that parents should always love and like their children. Ok, maybe they should always love them, but even that you can’t control.
But liking them? Why the fuck would you always like someone who is as much of a knob to be around as a toddler can be? When someone wants to randomly throw tagliatelle at the curtains whilst screaming because they wanted water and you gave them water, you don’t tend to like that person very much.
Nope. Liking your children is a luxury, not a necessity. Of course it totally helps your ability to function as a parent when you actually like the person you’re responsible for, but we can’t have everything. Sometimes you just have to wade through chest-deep levels of shit to get to the point where they’re delightful to be around.
This one is especially true in the middle of the night. Just ask my wife. Do we like Isabelle when it’s 2am and suddenly she’s been uncontrollably possessed and looks like the deleted scenes that were too brutal to be included in the Exorcist? No chance. I mean seriously, Isabelle. What shit was you dreaming about to wake up in that sort of mood?
LESSON LEARNED: You can’t control how you feel about anyone. Sometimes you’ll like your children, sometimes you’ll wish they suffered from frequent bouts of narcolepsy. We can’t have it all.
Sometimes parenting is just about survival
At the end of the day I think we all strive to be the best possible parents that we can be. I don’t think anyone who’s any sort of decent person does this parenting thing with the intent on messing their children up. But sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack and just do something that helps with our own sanity. Parenting is often just about survival!