I’m riffing this off of Tara Cain’s blog post 3 reasons why being a mum hasn’t made me a better person as it struck a chord. As Tara says, there’s a lot of highlights to being a parent but there are downsides. And as this cold/cough won’t let me sleep, it seemed like a decent idea for a blog post…
Becoming More Emotional
Boy, no kidding on that one – and this totally took me by surprise. At first, for guys, when a baby comes along, it’s pretty much business as usual. There’s a wee person about the house that you have to get up at all hours to feed but that’s really it. They cry a lot when you pick them up and they are just… there. And you know you have to look after them.
But somewhere along the line some gene in you flips. Now for everyone it’s different but for me, anything that involves a father and daughter now cracks me up. This first became obvious after rewatching one of my favourite fun films Armageddon and as it approached the end, I was in a flood of tears, totally uncontrollable. Fricking Armageddon! Since then, I’ve noticed it in other things – The Time Traveller’s Wife for example. God knows what The Road will do to me…
I used to joke with Graham Lindsay at the Scottish Daily Mirror about this as he told me that parenthood made him unable to read tales about child cruelty. I thought he was talking bollocks until junior came along. I can still read those stories, but dear God they get my blood boiling more.
Much amusement for the wife and friends. Much embarassment for me.
Child(ren) Come First
This is a bit of a combo of Tara’s points 2 and 3. But yeah, I’ve seen every part of my life ‘suffer’/benefit from having a kid. I don’t go out as much as I used to and if I do, I go out after the little one has had her two bedtime stories and cuddle for falling asleep. I’ve seen me walk out the door at clocking off time (knowing I’ll have chunks to do in the early hours of the morning) so I can get home and play tig or princesses or something like monster hunting down the woods with my wee best pal. I’ve gone without things I’ve really wanted because I saw a nice top or toy for junior. I’ve taken her and her pals out when someone else was equally happy to do it.
It’s also probably made me more selfish because if I get the option of anything to do, playing with junior is the first call (though I am going off the swimming lessons at 8am on a Saturday morning after two years of taking her).
(three things that have surprised me though: how little sleep I actually need at times when dealing with the wee one – though I’m sure that’s taking its toll in its own way . Also, how much I always hear madam moving about or talking in her sleep, even if I have been sleeping (again, sure that’s talking a toll) and how well I operate with a hangover and children (though the way round that one hasn’t taken a toll – less drinking or nights out!)
Made Me More Intolerant
My personal politics used to be fairly left-leaning (that’s not a statement of political party alignment but my own personal politics) and I’d like to think they still are, but having a kid does make you less tolerant of other people’s foibles – especially if they are a parent – and it’s practically a full-time job to haud one’s wheesht as they would say in Scotland.
Things like the woman who let her children die in a dirty nappy? In the past I may have moaned about the system and so on. Now? I’d kill her and sack every social worker involved in that case, making sure the world knew why they were sacked. Come in home from work tired and don’t want to play with your child? Tough. You have a child, relax later (though why you wouldn’t find playing with your child fun and relaxing I don’t know). Want to watch a TV show/surf the web/do something solo while your child is awake and not doing anything else? Get to hell. That child’s a gift to you and never asked to be born to you, so you owe it your time while it’s awake. Farmville, Smallville and Coronation Street can all wait until your child/ren are in bed.
(See what I mean about intolerant?)
What about the other parents who read this? Has parenthood made any changes to you that surprised you?