Monday, August 2, 2010

A Parenting Truth Exposed

Over a couple of beers I was talking with a friend about kids. He’s only a scant few weeks away from parenthood himself, so he’s actually one of my few childless friends that doesn’t mind me prattling on about my offspring. He said that he felt bad because he hasn’t really spent a lot of quality time with the Bean. When we see each other it’s either guy’s night, where there are no kids, or at a BBQ, where there’s a lot of other stuff going on--like drinking and swimming and friends and food...

“Don’t take this the wrong way,” he said. “But in those situations I don’t always want to turn it on and be with the kids.”

“Dude,” I said. “I don’t always want to turn it on and be with the kids.”

Then I explained to him that being a parent doesn’t always mean being a good parent. There are plenty of days when I’m half-assing it. The Bean is talking incessantly about who freakin’ knows what and I’m throwing out well timed nods and “yeses” to make him think I’m invested in what he’s saying.

“So look man, don’t feel bad about this. When you’re out in the sun standing next to a pool with a mai tai in your hand, don’t ruin your buzz because you feel obligated to spend time with my kids.”

I think my buddy was a little shocked to hear this. And as I’m talking and taking in his dazed expression, I realize that there are certain idealized notions that comes along with new parenthood. These usually get squashed pretty quickly when the reality of having kids sets in.

Or during drunken conversations with a friend who’s been at it for a few years.

14 comments:

Papa K said...

Oh Lord... this was a definite hurdle for me to overcome when I became a parent. In fact... I really haven't 100% conquored it. I still feel the need to rush to my kids side if she's playing alone because I feel bad. What you say is true though. You can't be superdad 24/7

That One Mom said...

I think that is an excellent bit of advice to a new parent. For realz...

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Papa K...It becomes even more pronounced with kid #2.

That One Mom...There's so much that people don't talk about in parenting. Things like Parents magazine make it all seem like wine and roses.

SciFi Dad said...

I'm forwarding this post to Child Protective Services as we speak.

Didactic Pirate said...

A great point. If I didn't feel the need to be SuperFunEngaging Dad all the time, maybe I wouldn't feel so much guilt. SInce I'm rarely that guy.

ZenMom said...

Dude.

You're not supposed to let the noobs in on the Super Secret Intel that people don't automatically become Ward-and-June-Cleaver clones of parenting perfection upon the birth of their children!

P.S. I like what you've done with the place! :)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

SciFi...I know, they knocked on my door last night, saw my daughter throwing a tantrum, turned right around and left.

Pirate...Life's too short for guilt.

Zen...I think its our duty to help the noobs.

Keith Wilcox said...

You're completely correct. New parents quickly learn to get over the thoughts of rainbows and puppy dogs and find themselves dealing with, quite honestly, petulant turds half the time. But, that's parenthood, right! Congratulations, Mr. New Parent guy who doesn't know what's about to hit him! HAHA :-)

James (SeattleDad) said...

Great new look. Love it.

And, yes. There is no parent out there who doesn't half ass some of the time, if not more.

We are human after all.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Keith...He has no idea!

James...Thanks for the compliment on the blog facelift. Half assing part time is the only way I could cope.

Vancetastic said...

I think part of the problem is that we as-yet childless folks think that our friends will actually judge us based on the effort we make with their kids. It's like, there's a certain intrinsic value to getting to know the kid, sure, but at this point, more than anything we may be concerned with how it reflects on us as a person (in general) and as a friend (specifically), the mental/emotional investment we are making in that child. Never mind the fact that we all sort of want to be remembered as a "favorite uncle" type person eventually. (I say "remembered" as though I am on my death bed or something.)

Great observation, and hell yeah -- great new look. I remain jealous of your graphical abilities. I just the other week (okay, it was six months ago) figured out how to add a picture as my banner instead of text ...

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Vance...Truth is, we will totally judge you. But once you get the hang of it, you'll totally judge back. That's the big unspoken underbelly of this whole parenting thing.

But fear not...as a parenting noob we more experienced parents vividly remember those early days and will go easy on you.

Also, there are a hundred different ways to raise a kid. Not everyone does it the same. And know, there's nothing wrong with that.

Jeremy said...

I agree most with your last comment:

"there are a hundred different ways to raise a kid. Not everyone does it the same. And know, there's nothing wrong with that."

I suppose I am a noob, with a 6 month old daughter...And I can already see that parents need moments of half-assing it. But where I differ is that I don't think it's cool to act as if that's some ideal that you actually seem to be striving for...Like, "Join the club! We're all half-assing it."

Is this really some right of passage you think I am going to go through?
I'd like to think that those half-assed moments will be few and far between. But perhaps I'm just the noob you're talking about.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Jeremy...I'm not saying it's cool to half-ass it, I'm saying that it's a reality. And that as we become more comfortable in our roles as parents, we're more accepting of ourselves that sometimes we're just not putting in 100%.

Believe me, I'd like to be the perfect parent all of the time, just like I'd like to be the perfect husband, or perfect son. But it's unrealistic to expect so.