You don’t have to look very far to find out that parenting is a hard job which doesn’t come with a rule book, and all that shit. Plenty of people are seemingly happy to tell you this, although you could argue that there’s rule books everywhere, they’re just crap and aren’t written about your kids.
Equally as a parent you’ll never be short of ‘advice’, which often contradicts itself. You may be familiar with such gems as: “You have to to be firm and show them who’s boss, the little manipulative shit (I may have added the little manipulative shit bit in).” Then when spawn decides to throw their dinner on the floor then hit you and you negate to give them cake, the same person says: “Oh you need to pick your battles, you can’t leave them starve. What are you running here? Some sick starvation camp?”
I think we’re quite adept at listening to this advice, we must be. We’re two kids deep and still on the receiving end of it. Maybe my teeth don’t form a bite anymore not because of my days in sales where I drank four cans of Red Bull a day, but because I’ve been grinding my teeth so much while people compare my children to what they’ve read in some book. Of our two, spawn 1 and spawn 2 are completely different. The monkeys. How could anyone think themselves qualified enough to standardise children?
I accept advice, however. Largely because I appreciate that people care enough to provide it. I’ve probably unwittingly dished it out myself to some poor new parent I know. What a twat I turned out to be?
There is however one thing I can’t stomach, that is the subject of the dreaded ‘routine’.
As far as I’m concerned, routine can go fuck itself. My beautiful wife and I are not routine people, we weren’t before we had kids, so why would we inflict it on them now? Our eldest is four, he has no concept of time. When I tell him he has 5 minutes left of Power Rangers before Daddy puts Final Score on, he has no idea if I turn Final Score on within 30 seconds or I stick it on 10 minutes later because I’ve found something funny on social media. Does it really matter if he has his dinner at 5:30 or 5:48?
I appreciate that my point is probably a little one sided, as an anti-routine guy. Being a parent is hard and perhaps seeking sanctity in ‘the routine’ helps overcome the inevitable hard times that come with having a child. But, if you are a routine person, don’t push it on us non-routine people.
When our eldest was one, he still wasn’t sleeping. By that point, we’d tried a few things and we couldn’t leave him cry or whatever, then someone said: “He’s craving routine.”
Craving routine? Craving it? It’s not me and wine or me and human acceptance.
To clarify my point here, I don’t think you’re a bad parent if you utilise a routine. However, it is not the answer to everything for everyone. Especially not us and especially not our kids. There’s a level of smugness with some people who run their home like a clock in/clock out basis. If that worked for our children, we’d adopt it. If not touching alcohol or smoking crack (just kidding about the alcohol…no the crack, definitely the crack) benefitted them, then we’d do it.
We can’t leave our baby ‘cry it out’ we have to hold him, he’s only been here 6 months he doesn’t know what the fuck’s going on. Sometimes they don’t have a bath before bedtime, you know what? Nothing that bad happens. If one of us has to work late, occasionally we eat up to an hour later than the night before. No one starved to death and nothing really bad happened.
Thanks for the advice, always warmly received. But please don’t tell us it’s the answer to our problems.