Steve Wiley is Jackalope Ranch's Parent Hood. He's a slightly unorthodox father of five who weighs in weekly with his mildly rebellious views and observations. If you'd like to see how he came to write this column, watch the intro video. This week he attempts to talk you out of being a parent
You Sure You Want to Have Kids?
If you have read this blog before, then you know that overall being a parent is the most important role in my (and most parents') life. Over the past four months, I've tried to elaborate on all the great emotions, lessons, and rewards of being a Dad.
But that doesn't mean you should do it.
After expanding on "I Love You" in last week's post (Parenting Three Words at a Time), I got to thinking, "Man, you are a sappy bastard." Even though I stand behind every word of it, I then thought, "You could easily write a Parent Hood list of all the annoying stuff that goes with parenthood."
So without further ado, here it is. Five reasons you should think twice before becoming a parent:
Five Reasons to Think Twice About Being a Parent
5. Your energy will be gone.
Kids are like energy vampires. They've got so much of the stuff that you think they wouldn't need all of yours ... but they are greedy like that (amongst a thousand other things) and they are going to suck all the energy out of you too.
As a single guy, or as a kidless couple, after you done a hard day's work you can come home and kick back and chill. You have to feed yourself, but you can at least show some patience with it. Not the case with your yard apes. The little rascals want food, love, and attention -- and they want it now -- regardless of whether or not you are "up to it".
This is especially true for the first 18 years or so. (I bet you thought I'd say five years or something like that, eh?)
4. Your extra time will be gone.
Even if you had any energy left, your schedule will be so overwhelmed with pick-ups, drop-offs, practices, and the ever-popular birthday parties (if I had a dollar for every birthday party) that it wouldn't matter.
You want your kids to have a good social life and lots of activities, so there's no way around it. My wife and I basically negotiate doing things away from them, or we'd be around kids about 100 percent of our non-work time.
"Oh it's my turn for free time? I'll be taking a nap."
You Mean It's Not All Snuggles and Love? 3. Your spending money will be gone. Before my wife and I got married and had kids, it wasn't like I had a bunch of extra money (after all, I've was in the record store business for 25 years), but I had a little extra.
I had partial Diamondback's season tickets, and full Cardinals season tickets. If the Cards had a home game, I'd take off early, tailgate, drink, and make an entire day out of it. It wasn't even a problem after I got married. Even though my wife wasnt' a fan, she didn't care because she had her free time too.
That all came crashing down with the birth of my oldest son. Not only did our overall expenses increase significantly, but now my all-day absence meant my wife was on duty all day long. Goodbye, season tickets.
4. Your house will be a mess.
Let's assume you run a tight ship. Or at least that you aren't a slob. You throw out your garbage, throw your dirty clothes in a hamper, put dishes in a dishwasher (or at least the sink) ...
Um, kids don't do that stuff. They don't care. No matter how much you tell them.
They wipe stuff (usually "organic" matter of some sort) on the couch and the walls and their beds and everything. They leave clothing, toys, and almost anything else you can think of in their rooms, in your room, in the yard, everywhere. Not clean stuff, dirty stuff. Not only are they not concerned about germs, they seem to like them.
Five reasons not to have kids continued... 5. Your patience will be tested.
You've probably already deduced that if you have to deal with the loss of your energy, time, money, and cleanliness ... your patience will be tested.
But you have no idea how much.
Kids have a unique sense of timing that is designed to do that exact thing. They don't pick up on moods or situations very well. In fact, there have been many times where one of my kids timing has been so bad that I literally thought that the Divine Whatever was messing with me. Testing me.
It's OK. You Should Still Do It There you have it. Five reasons to reconsider.
Every word of it is true.
So if you are a selfish, impatient, lazy, busybodied, or anal character (and lets face it, we've all got some combo of those traits) - get ready to change yourself (or be changed by your new role as a father or mother).
Or don't do it.
Of course, this over-scheduled, under-funded, tired, cluttered Dad still recommends it above all things.