Parenting is easy. Really it is. Seriously. Hear me out.
I am a father of three. The kids are 6, 4 and ‘half’ (6 months old). And people seem to say that I’m a hands-on dad. I do night shifts, I cook, I feed the kids, I sweep the floor, I help with the homework, I sweep the floor again and so on. I try to do, whatever is asked of me (within reason!). And here I am, writing a post saying that parenting is easy.
Do I really believe that? Well I have been thinking hard about it… so let me tell you a story.
During my university years, there was no requirement to be at the classes. You had to do all the coursework, and you had to pass the exams. However, there was no requirement to physically be at the classes. So, you didn’t HAVE to be at the lectures, and you didn’t HAVE to be at the tutorials.
Coming from a school before where I had no choice but to attend classes, I thought I was in heaven. To the point where one week, I found that I had attended zero classes (no lectures and no tutorials). When this happened, even I, with my laissez faire attitude, thought “hmmm… this can’t be good.”
I set myself a goal
The goal was to attend every class for one week. This, was not some high, ambitious target. On average, my course had 20 to 24 hours per week. That’s 4 to 5 hours daily. By adult standards, it’s a part time schedule. And that was the goal I set myself. Half way through my first year, all I needed to do, was the equivalent of a part time job for one week. That degree meanwhile, was 4 years long, so I still had three and a half years to achieve my goal.
“Attend all my classes for just one week.”
I couldn’t do it, not even for one measly week!
Why? Because I did not have the ability to properly motivate myself for this specific goal. In truth, it was helpful to set this goal, because I at least went to some classes! And it helped me graduate. In fact, I then went on to do more degrees from which I also graduated.
Now, when I think of my university years, I can’t help but laugh. My schedule now is insane. I have less free time now in a month, than I had in a day when I was at university. All my time is now spent doing something productive or something just plain necessary. It’s been almost 7 years now that I’ve had kids. That’s 7 years of endless tasks (not to mention reduced sleep and other parenting difficulties).
Motivation Is Key
Still, my motivation has never been higher. Never.
I have never wanted to accomplish more than I do right now. I rush to start work now. And all the things I do, even those outside of work, have motivational support. I might not want to change a nappy, but the alternative is so much worse, it’s easy. I don’t want to do a night shift, but the alternative is so much worse, it’s easy.
Are the tasks countless? Sure they are. Are they hard to do? Well, sure…everything’s hard on reduced sleep. Are they tiring? Absolutely.
But motivation is key. And the right motivation, makes the difficult things.. well, easy.
Another way to look at it, if you’re anything like me, is… parenthood is like being a rock star. Sure, the hours are long, your voice might get hoarse, too many people want you to do something for them, but is it really that hard?
I couldn’t say. I’ve never been a rock star.
But who doesn’t want to be a rock star?
Let’s face it, no matter what I say, parenthood is not easy in the way that taking a post-lunch afternoon nap is easy. But it’s easy the way a gamer plays Halo for 24 hours straight. It’s easy the way a binge eater eats 12 ice creams in a row. It’s easy the way you can do your thing like no one else can.
And once you’ve got kids, parenting is your thing. Will you be dead tired at the end? Yup. Will you want to throw up? Almost certainly.
No matter what though… it’s your thing now.
You got this.
My Tips For Rock Star Parenting
- Make your tasks more interesting. In the same way as we make games of tasks for our children (e.g. to eat their food), we need to do the same with ourselves to keep things interesting. Many of the tasks that parents need to do, can be done with music in the background. You can go a step further, and try to solve mathematical problems or brain teasers. You can even spend the time trying to think of how to prank your better half.
- If you need to do something with your kids (e.g. go to the supermarket), try to engage them. Make them participate in some way. If you don’t have ideas on how, a quick google search will help. Here’s a few for the supermarket.
- Don’t multi-task, especially with your kids. If you need to be doing something with your children, make sure you’re giving them your attention. If you try to reply to a work email on your phone, they’ll notice, and it’ll turn into an issue. Of course, sometimes this can’t be helped, and you must send that email, but try as much as you can, to avoid it.