Tag Archives: parenting

Head of the Family

Having a kid has forced me to examine a lot of things in my life. I have to think about what I say, how I say it, and the inadvertent message I am sending to my daughter any time I act. It is an constant exercise of restraint, self control, and leadership. It is something I never gave much thought until she was already here.

Starting my own family has also forced me to reflect on my own childhood. The traditions we had, the good times, and the bad. And after a lot of self reflection I’ve come to realize that I am the launching pad for my family. I am the transitional figure who will likely set a new precedence for future generations to follow.

I don’t mean that in an egotistical kind of way, it’s just that I believe I am the first person in my family to recognize and accept this responsibility. My father suffers from addiction, my mother from depression, both from lack of education. Going generations back there is no figure that holds the family together. There are few traditions and no one I would call the “head of the family”.

I want my wife and daughter to have these things. I even want my parents and in-laws to experience these type of things. I picture the entire family sitting around a big dining room table on special occasions. Love, security, and tradition. There was a shortage of those things in my life and I want my family to have it.

So when I’m angry I take pause. When someone upsets me I stop and think. Instead of reacting I reflect on the big picture. Sure, I could probably say something to hurt this person’s feelings, but instead I’ll take it for the team. I’ll be the glue that holds this family together. I’ll swallow the insults, the ignorance, and instead be a leader. I’ll do all these things because I can and there’s no one else to do it. My reward is the result.

Lessons in Fatherhood: Part 3

When I was a kid we struggled to pay the bills, but my Dad was a crafty guy. He refused “real” work, but was king when it came to unorthodox ways to come by a buck. One of those unorthodox ways involved 1000 cassette tapes.

Derek gave my Dad two boxes of cassette tapes – Hip-hop albums. I have no idea why my Dad accepted such a gift, but he has never been one to refuse free stuff. No matter how strange or possibly stolen that “free” stuff might be. So in our damp garage set 1000 cassette tapes for what must have been years.

Then came the day. Sitting in the kitchen one evening our lights went to dark. My Dad peaked out of the window and waited for the technician to leave. Our power bill hadn’t been paid for months, but my Dad was just smart enough to know how to turn our meter back on. This time was different – the power company placed a tamper-proof lock over our power meter. With a note: “Please pay your overdue balance.”

After a day or two without power we had enough. The food in our refrigerator had become sour – and made the house smell like death, the Georgia heat was becoming too much to bear, and showers without hot water was the last straw. My Dad decided to pay. He devised a scheme.

The Scheme

My Mother and I sat in front of local retailers and asked for donations, any donation, in exchange for a cassette tape. Myself, an 8 year old kid and my Mother, a cripple in a wheel chair. We even had t-shirts from an old church youth group we had attended years before. The fact that the cassette tapes were riddled with vulgarities like “The Bitch is Back” written in bold letters on the front – didn’t seem to bother anyone. The donations flowed and our pockets filled.

Sometime people would give $1, sometimes $10. Sometimes the store manager would get suspicious and kick us out of their parking lot for soliciting. No one ever called the cops on a kid and a lady in a wheel chair though. The plan was perfect.

I even got my cut of the cash. Even though I was embarrassed – the thought of helping my parents pay the bills and earning $20 seemed too good to pass up. In reality what my Father had us doing was immoral, sad, and fucked up – but in a lot of ways that was my childhood. Lessons learned in the strangest ways – lessons that will stick with me forever.

My Daughter

Now that I’m having a little girl of my own I wonder how she will learn these same lessons? I wonder how she will learn what it feels like to truly contribute to the family and feel proud of that? I wonder how she will learn to appreciate electricity, paid bills, and hot showers? I wonder if she will ever really appreciate what it feels like to humble yourself, to give up your pride, to help your family. I wish I could grant her that knowledge without that experience – but I don’t think I can.

Read Lessons in Fatherhood: Part 2.

Lessons in Fatherhood: Part 2

We had all sort of people in and out of my house as a kid. My parents graciously accepted almost every type of person in their home (for better or worse). I remember at a young age my Father associating with men of all races, backgrounds, creeds, and otherwise good or bad morally acceptable characters. All of this had an effect on me. Some good and some bad. But there is no doubt that my experiences did two things:

1. Eliminated naivety
2. Gave me a unique sense of culture

Crazy Stuff

One day I remember clearly. There was a POUNDING on our front door. It was our neighbor begging my dad for my” urine. He had probation and a random urine test – “needed clean piss”. I was reluctant and a little embarrassed, but gave it too him and kept him out of jail – In the end I was obliged to do so – proud even. Looking back I can hardly believe I was ever in such a situation.

Another time I remember a guy opening a -full of drugs on our coffee table. He called me over and explained which bags were “nickels, dimes, and quarter” bags of marijuana – and how much each cost. He even let me smell “how sweet” his best product smelled. I thought it all seemed pretty normal.

Good Stuff

There are good memories too though. I remember my dad stopping to give a rugged looking black man a hand to change his tire. That black man looked at me and said “your daddy’s a good man, son.” I agreed. I remember when I was in middle school and my Father let two “illegals” from Guatemala live in our guest bedroom for almost a year. They were good men and taught me Spanish. ( I think part of my love for Central and South America is directly because of that experience.) He did it just because “they were good men trying to feed their families” and “couldn’t help where they were born”. Those are the lessons in morality and kindness that I think about often.

To this day the lessons I learned via my parents’ associations are second nature to me. For example, I have the uncanny ability to almost instantly judge a man’s character – despite his outward appearance. Also, I remain open minded to various opinions and cultural experiences. And, in general, I find that I am not at all racist (or any other “ist” for that matter). In fact, I love foreigners and learning about their culture. I have no doubt that is due to the type of household I grew up in.

Becoming a Dad

In less than six months I’ll be a Dad too. I hope I can incorporate these lessons into my child’s life – without the negativity. But can you really have these type of lessons without the heartache? Part of me thinks probably not. It’s probably a lot like trying to learn about love from a book. So, I wonder if these are ideas and lessons I will never be able to teach my child?

Read Part 1.

I’m going to be a Dad!

All week my wife complains about having sore breasts. No big deal. Boobs get sore, right? She skips her period. Maybe it’s stress. A lot is going on at work for her – the end of the year for teachers can be rough. I’m not taking this seriously – I’ve heard it all before.

It’s Friday night and the wife walks in wearing a skimpy little number. Provoking me. Like an adolecent teen I jump at the chance for some lovin’. Uh, oh – awesome sex during what is supposed to be “that  time of the month”? Okay, I finally admit, this is getting serious.

I’m traveling for the next week. I have to know. Is there a little parasitic person in her belly soaking up nutrients? I WANT TO KNOW! This leads us to the midnight trip for pregnancy tests.

We read the instructions carefully. Too carefully. So carefully that it starts to seem complicated. We throw the instructions away. Pee on a stick – easy enough. Wait two minutes.

“Holy Shit, is that two pink lines?”

Buy second test – this time digital.

“Holy Shit! Is that a YES?”

Second test confirms pregnancy. Wow. I mean WOW. I’m going to be a Dad!

Game Changer

As you can imagine, I have a whole lot to talk about. Coming soon.

NO KIDS FOR ME! How having kids ruins lives.

I do not want children.  I have no desire what-so-ever to produce offspring.  I am not concerned with passing down my name, my genetics, nor any legacy.  I’m a happy guy and I want to stay that way.  I’m not missing anything, I’ve tried the dog thing, and taking care of something besides yourself sucks.  Period.

I can hear the parents screaming now.  You don’t know what you are missing!  You are naive!  Having a child and watching them grow is SO rewarding – and so the arguments go.  Let me just say something – you are all full of shit.

My happiness is not tied to the existence of a smaller, younger, screaming, shitting,  person that shares half my DNA.  I do not need another person’s life to complete my own.  Maybe you are just fooling yourself!

Society says: “Have a kid!” 

Having a kid is something society has taught us to do.  We should breed.  We should head forth and multiply!  It’s even in our religion, government, and genetics.  We want sex, the Government gives us tax incentives, and “God” says married people should have orgasms to breed, not for pleasure!  I mean who doesn’t love a cute kid?  Maybe society just wants us to join the club – and be as miserable and bogged down as they are.

Everyone I know who has a kid is a liar too.  How do I know?  Because the one thing they complain the most about (their kids) is the exact thing they say is the best thing in their life.  I call bullshit.

Seriously, if you tell me that having a kid completed you.  If you say that having a kid is the most special thing to ever happen in your life.  Or anything like that – then you are just trying to make yourself feel better about how bad having a kid sucks.

Disadvantages of Having a Kid

Kids are expensive, they get hurt, they get into trouble, they fuck up your house, they crawl on you, and I could get over all of that.  The one thing I’m not sure I could stand is losing time.  No more heading to the grocery store or out to dinner on a whim, no more sex in the kitchen just because I want to, no more weekend camping trips out of the blue, trips across the globe become “I have to find a baby-sitter”, and every convenience I once had suddenly becomes an exercise of “I would, but I have to watch the kids.”

Freedom.  Gone.

Kids also wreck that shit when they are spat out of a women’s vagina.  The once perfect breasts, smooth skin, tight ass, and sexual aura becomes a moody, orangutan titied, wilder-beast that survives by cutting your balls off for leisure.  Why would I want to subject my self to a lifelong tenure of mediocre sex with a former hottie that is destined to be interrupted by crying?

If you say having children is a blessing – then you had no goals or life beforehand.

Alternatives

With so many alternatives to having children I can barely stomach the idea of ruining my wife’s body to produce a second me.  I mean there are a million orphans going hungry at any given moment so why not adopt?  Perhaps that is more meaningful than producing a child of your own.  Adoption is a gift you give another human being – what can be more special than that?

Not having kids doesn’t make you selfish – it means you have different priorities

A lot of people call childless couples selfish, but that is a fallacy.  People without children aren’t selfish they simply have different priorities that do not include kids.

I want to travel the world, I truly want to make it a better place, I want to help people – especially those that already exist.  It almost feels more selfish for me to have two kids when I could use those same resources to help two children somewhere else – who have already been born – and are going hungry.  Maybe having children in a world full of hungry ones makes YOU the selfish one.

In all seriousness

Have kids or don’t.  I’m not sure either path is any better than the other.  My overall point here is that no one should feel pressured by society to have children.  For many people, especially those people who aren’t ready, having a child is a responsibility they aren’t financially nor mentally ready for.  Let’s stop with the “let’s have kids by 30” thing and start a “lets enjoy life” one.