What’s new about this installment of Parent Proof? It comes from someone who has never grown a child from within, given birth, or had to sit down to pee. What qualifies me to even write about parenting, then? I am a father of four. Yes, four kids. I’m not the quickest study, so it took some repetition to figure out what caused this phenomenon. I think I’ve narrowed it down to a small list at this point.
Digression aside, the women of this fine publication decided to give us guys a chance to show everyone that we don’t have it figured out, either. As Alice said, “I know a man who has kids…AND he’s literate!” That’s apparently the only criteria needed to contribute to this blog as a male. They don’t want to set the bar too high for the guys.
In case the ladies were wondering, guys don’t see parenting the same way as their female counterparts. I know that statement has not blown anyone’s mind, but allow me to elaborate. There are apparently these things when it comes to raising kids called “details”. Things like presentable outfits, clean faces, extracurricular activities, routines, and meals fit into this category, or so I’m told. I hear these details thrown around by people who spend energy maintaining them and think, Did I turn off the coffeepot this morning?
Point is, I forget to think about the details most of the time. I’m more of a big picture fellow. My mental checklist when it comes to the survival of my children goes something like this:
Is the child breathing? If YES- All is good. Move along. If NO, call 911 and try to fix it.
Is the child happy? If YES, don’t change a thing because I don’t wanna hear screaming and crying. If NO, feed it and/or do something fun. Then try to sneak in a nap by lying with the kid in bed and reading Goodnight Moon for the fifty-billionth time.
There are variations on the happiness strategies, but those are my main concerns as a dad. I try to keep things simple.
My simple plans sometimes cause problems when it’s five in the evening and I want a quick catnap. As I read the gripping tale of a rodent infested bedroom that has a blazing fire going in one corner and a creepy red balloon floating near the ceiling to my dozing offspring, the one responsible for that “routine” thingy comes in and asks me what the hell I’m doing.
“Hold on, let me get to a stopping point,” I say. (Luckily, the sturdy cardboard book blocks the projectile following that comment.)
As a father, I parent in the moment. Is there a problem right now? Let’s try to fix it and we’re good. I think it’s great that moms can plan ahead and multitask on seven different timelines that all end in teeth being brushed, baths being taken, and bed being gotten into at a decent time. It’s something with which I will always struggle. My skill set does, however, afford me the talent of helping the kids build one bitchin’ couch-cushion-and-blanket fort five minutes before the nighttime routine is supposed to start. As long as they can breathe in that fortress of padding, I only have one concern: Are they happy in that moment? Check!