Its a true one. But its going to make me wildly unpopular.
Lucky for me, popularity was never something I had. Nor do I strive to have in the future. So here we go...
Parents, Guardians.... this one's for you. (Cheers. Just kidding - there are no glasses being raised, its not that kind of thing.)
If you are a parent or a guardian - of a child or children - first off, God bless you. Your daily life isn't actually "yours," is it?
No. Its not. If you answered yes there, go back and erase. The answer is most certainly - no.
I'm not saying you should let your child/ren own you or run your life, oh dear Heavens no. On the contrary, you own their world. Remind them of it often. Use it as leverage. Do not ever let them think they have the control.
The fact of the matter is, however, that once you did what you did to become a parent - you gave up having your daily life be, well, yours and yours alone.
Poof. Gone. Sorry.
Oooooh, you have a job? An important job? You're "someone" in your field or company?
Excellent. Great. That's ideal. Since you had a hand in deciding to become a parent (don't tell me you didn't... I don't care how it happened, I guarantee you, you did something to make that choice. Unless you're Joseph. Joseph, you are exempt from this post. Thanks for stopping by Blogville - have a wonderful day.)
Now, where was I? Oh yes, your job. Your important job.
Good, I'm glad you have that important job. Since you did the thing that made you become the parent - part of that was agreeing to provide for the life that you were taking on.
Part of providing for is buying necessary items. Part of buying necessities is needing to have a job to pay for those items.
You see, you may think your job is a huge portion of your daily life and your job is all about you but if that's what you really think - you're already sucking the life out of this parenting gig.
That job is about doing something (if you're lucky, something you like or love, if you're really lucky, something you get paid pretty well for) that you have a talent or knack for that will give you the means to provide for that life you've taken on.
**I say "taken on" because let's look at the ways someone could become a parent or guardian, okay? Obviously, you could have done the thing that caused the life to begin. That's one way. ...IVF, surrogacy, adoption, signing up to become a foster parent, finding a baby in a basket by the water and keeping him - hey, your choice. You could have taken that baby to the police station or built him a sturdier raft and floated him down to the next home (that's not a great option. That was a joke.) My point is, I don't want to hear, "this wasn't my choice."
It was. All of those things - your choice.
Now, back to it. You did something that gave a child or more than one child, a place in your home. Your heart. Your family.
And your new job is to see that their needs are met.
This comes before your "job." That "important" one. Where you're "someone" in a company or firm. The one that you spent six years in college training to be. The one that you worked your way up to earn. ...Yeah, the new parent job comes before all that. Sorry.
Am I saying you should never miss a moment of your child's life because of work? That you're required to be at every baseball game and soccer match and Christmas concert and Kindergarten graduation (that fell at 1:15pm on a Wednesday?? Who scheduled that!?!) - no, of course not. Life happens and kids can learn a valuable lesson from parents who are busting their butts to put food on the table, and pay for those new soccer cleats, and because of it they had to miss the Band Solo.
What I am saying is that when you aren't at work (the "other" job,) then your task at hand is to figure out what your kids may need from you at that time.
Maybe they don't need anything. Maybe they're all good and you can catch up on the four episodes of Modern Family you haven't seen.
Maybe Samantha's at soccer practice and Middle Child (whose name escapes you sometimes) is studying at a friends house and Little Sprout Muffin is home. Then your job is not to watch Modern Family. Your job is to do something with Little Sprout Muffin.
What?!? Why can't you watch the shows? Little Sprout Muffin has a show he likes too. You can watch your shows "together." He on that iPad you paid for and you on the big screen.
Mmmmmmm, maybe after a while. But for Little Sprout Muffin to know that he's someone in your life, what Little Sprout Muffin would really like is for you to play CandyLand with him. (Agree to best out of three, or that crap gets out of hand, trust me.)
Play the three games. Then you can watch the show. Oh and if Samantha needs a ride home from practice at that point - well, you'll watch it later. Oh and if Middle Child would like for you to quiz her on those vocab words she has a test on tomorrow - well you can watch the show after that. And if at that time you wrangle all the kids and tuck them in and put them to bed and then you realize you're so tired you can hardly keep your own eyes open - well to hell with it. That show isn't going anywhere. You'll watch it another time.
And you can go to bed knowing that you were there for those kids. You did something to see that their days were a little better because they have you for a parent.
I have no idea why it makes me (or anyone else who says it) so unpopular to say - put down the remote. Put down the phone. Spend. Some. Time. With. Your. Kid(s.)
They will love you for it. Other's may see you and love you for it. You may get some warm fuzzies inside yourself over it.
Oh and one more thing - as long as I'm on the unpopular list, I'll just make sure I'm really, firmly on the list; watching YouTube videos of some moron seeing how many crayons he can fit in his mouth is not "spending time." And if you think it qualifies as time well spent then go ahead and watch the idiot - AFTER you go play a game of PIG in the driveway. (Two games if the tiny turd head beats you. You can't end it like that.)
But don't blame me when Little Sprout Muffin comes running to you later saying Middle Child (dang it, what IS that kid's name?!) has three crayons stuffed in his nose. Monkey see, monkey do.
Or in this case, if you laugh at the YouTube idiot, your child will want to try it to see if you will laugh at them too.
But be forewarned, for some reason when its your kid, it may not be as funny...
Quick recap; your job - it's called being a parent. Congrats. Its a biggie.
Your work - that's what you do to help make sure your job has the needs met.
Your free time - funny. What's that now...?
Your day - not your own. At least not until you know for sure that their day is handled.
CandyLand - a game devised by preschoolers, marketed by preschoolers and targeted to a parental audience. Wise mom mantra is to always agree to best out of three.
Last but certainly not least: Spend some (non-screen related) time with your kids.
You might find out they're actually likable, funny little people.