As a SAHD, I’m beginning to feel like a Betamax owner in a VHS world – ask your mum. To be fair, I do try to be quite ‘zen’ about the stupidity I encounter daily from members of the public. But there’s only so much idiocy one man can take…
Suddenly a cry rings out, causing a shudder of tiredness to run up my spine and take root in the bags under my eyes. Next, probably by magic, your feet find the floor and you question y our existence. The door opens and a night light illuminates the face of a crying toddler, you smile broadly – pushing back your own desire to cry. Then, tot in arms, you collapse into the chair and break into a droning “Incy Wincy Spider…” as you look at the clock. It’s 3 am. But the tot doesn’t care about the time. Why? You get your answer as the full flavour of the nappy he’s just filled wafts towards you. Happy Birthday.
It had been a few minutes, three maybe. I looked at him, as encouragingly as I could, and spoke.
“OK, that’s good. It’s easy, just one, two, three and push.”
I’d tried to hide any stress (rapidly growing within me) from my voice.
My son looked back at me, seemingly unconvinced.
“We can have a cuddle when you come down the slide.”
“Just go down!” chimed in a boy, about twice the age of my son – part of the growing queue for the slide forming behind my little one.
“He’ll go when he’s ready,” I said, once again trying to appear calm – reminding myself that empathy isn’t a skill kids are born with. “Just one, two, three and push!”
It was going to be a long day.
As a SAHD, one of the perennial issues to be faced is the arrival of the showboating parent. What do I mean by this? It’s simple really, a mum (or mainly) dad who arrives at the park with something to prove. They probably don’t get to do this type of activity as often as I do (lucky them) and are determined to make a show of how much fun their kid is having. By ‘making a show’ I mean making the other parents aware of just how amazing they are.
Parents today are, as they always have been, over-stretched, over-tired and over-come with the unceasing desire do the very best for their children.
Of course, in an ideal world, screen time wouldn’t be necessary at all. But please, take a look out your window, turn on your screens and read the news – it’s far from an ideal world.
So, can we all stop with this parent-shaming please?