I’m taking a week off work to look after my kids while my beautiful wife visits the UK to see her family. I’ve looked after the boys (2yrs and 5yrs old) for a full day before, but I’ve never done solo-parenting.
It’s both hard and wonderful.Hard
- No mental breaks: My kids are little and require a lot of attention. Their safety and well-being rests entirely in my hands, so even if I’m not with them, I’m thinking about what happens next and preparing. It’s like running a little military camp.
- It’s lonely: I miss Gill. She’s my best friend and at the end of the day, there’s no one to chat to, laugh with and bounce ideas around.
- I have less control: At Treehouse, I can think and immediately act. I can take a walk to clear my head. I can ask someone to do something and they’re helpful and hard-working. Kids just don’t give a shit. It’s not intentional, they’re just not developmentally ready to care about anyone other than themselves.
- It’s repetitive: Young kids don’t do well with crazy schedules that are always changing. Therefore there’s a similar schedule every day. It can get boring pretty fast.
- It requires huge amounts of energy: To be a good parent, I need to be consistently applying discipline, thinking of new creative things to do and physically moving/playing. I’m 35 so I have decent amounts of energy, but this is still a challenge. It’s amazing how much physical and mental energy it takes to be a good parent. I think this is the biggest differentiator between good and bad parents. The good parents get off their ass and expend the energy. It’s hard.
- It’s just me and them: They give me lots of cuddles and attention because I’m their only carer. It’s selfish, but I like it :)
- It’s empowering: I feel like I’m proving I can take care of the kids. I’m a man and I can take care of my kids. I love it. I don’t have any patience for Dads who act like they can’t figure out how to look after their children.
- It’s hilarious: Kids say the most insane things. When you’re around them all day, you get to hear all the hilarious things they say. I love it.
- It’s valuable: What could be more fulfilling than shaping the minds and lives of these amazing humans that I created?
- It’s fleeting: They’re going to grow up and become men. They won’t want me to snuggle them and kiss them. Argh. I’m getting teary just typing this.
So there you have it. Full-time parenting is fucking hard but it’s amazing. I have even more respect now for my wife, and I’m only four days into the week!