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.
- 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!
We recently installed FarmStory on our iPad and after watching our 4-year old play it, I believe they’re taking advantage of children to spread their other game titles.
After you play the game for a bit, a huge poster board appears on your farm (WTF?) that asks you to install another one of their games (Pet Shop Story, in this instance).
The only way to get rid of the stupid thing is to click on it which brings up a modal window that says “Would you like to install Pet Shop Story?” with a “Yes” button. The “No” button only appears after about three seconds.
This is clearly designed to take advantage of kids who will click any button in order to get back to playing the game. My 4-year old can’t read what the modal window says so he just starts clicking on any button. If I hadn’t turned on restrictions to keep him from installing apps he probably would have mistakenly installed the app.
An adult wouldn’t fall for this trick but a kid probably would. I think it’s a pathetic tactic that Team Lava, the makers of the game, use to spread their games virally.
There is a growing trend to spread your game using whatever sleazy tactics possible and I think we need to stand up against it.
Not only is Team Lava profiting from these tactics, but so is Apple. I think Apple has a responsibility to police this situation and pull games that employ these tactics.
Has anyone else experienced things like this?
Do you believe these tactics are acceptable?
I see a lot of Dads who believe they can’t take care of their kids without the help of their wife or partner. I think it’s ridiculous and it needs to stop. There’s this pathetic kind of panic that crosses these men’s faces when they realize their going to be alone with their children for 24 hours or more.
Dads: It’s time to man up and learn how to take care of your children.
I don’t care how busy you are at work. You will always be busy, so there’s never a good time to get good at taking care of your kids.
The reason why Dads need to be able to look after their kids without help is because it creates a deeper relationship with the children. If you start to believe you don’t know how to take care of your kids, you withdraw from their daily routine and this eventually marginalizes them from your life. They don’t need you and you don’t need them. It’s easier but it ruins your long-term relationship with them.
My wife is currently enjoying herself in London with some friends at the Chelsea Garden Show. I’m on my own to look after our two boys (ages 1 and 4) for roughly 72 hours. It’s pretty straight forward:
- Feed them healthy meals
- Keep them safe
- Stick to a schedule
It’s all about practice - just tell your partner to take a break for a couple days and then jump right in. Kids are flexible and fun and they’ll deal pretty well with a little chaos. After you’ve done this a couple times you’ll feel completely confident that you can take care of your kids on your own without any help.
I’m in that place now and I feel so much closer to my kids because I understand their needs and how to meet them.
There’s one thing that consistently makes me feel guilty as a Dad: Not being patient. 4-year olds have a way of being illogical that makes you snap.
The problem is that you can be having a lovely time with them, playing and laughing and then you ask them to do something reasonable (like putting on their coat before going outside) and the whole thing spirals into shouting, sobbing and gnashing of teeth (well, almost). Here’s a typical one:
Me: Let’s put on your coat before you go to preschool.
4-Year Old: (Instant crying) No! I don’t want to put on my coat!
Me: But you’ll be cold … Come on, just put it on really quick.
4-Year Old: (Really crying now. And running away from me) Nooooo! I don’t care if I’m cold!
Me: Well, I care if you’re cold. I love you.
4-Year Old: No Daddy! I will put you in the bin! (Still crying and now getting angry)
Me: Please don’t speak to Daddy like that. If you do that again, I’m going to put you on the Thinking Square
4-Year Old: But I don’t care if I’m cold!
How does something simple like asking him to put on his coat (because you love him and don’t want him to freeze) spiral into frustration and crying?
I wish I had more patience in situations like this. The reason I felt rushed to get him to put on his coat was because it was time to get in the car to go to preschool.
It didn’t seem like there was time to be patient.
Stuff I Like
- Jay-Z connecting the dots between Russell Simmons and Mark Zuckerberg
"People in the record business had always made a lot of money. Not the artists,...
- We work a 4-day week and just raised $4.75m
I think there’s something messed up about the startup culture in the USA. The belief...
@ryancarson on TwitterFollow @ryancarson