My stoic disposition may obscure it, but I’m actually quite a positive person. I try and judge people on their merits and actions, rather than assume a stereotype. I help others when I am able. I stay the right side of the law. And I’m constantly trying to learn new things and better myself. But…
I am just a man. And sometimes things get royally on my nerves.
Now I’m far too polite and British to say such things to someone’s face. That would be rude. Thankfully though, we have the internet. So here goes…
Being a stay-at-home dad has it’s many challenges. But none more difficult than the times I find myself forcing a smile at someone when they say:
“Your kids go to bed at 7pm every night, lucky you”
“Your children are so well behaved in public, you’re so lucky”
“You’re so lucky to have a wife that works full-time so you can stay home with the kids”
If you find yourself saying those sorts of sentences to me, then do me a favor, and f**k off! I find nothing more insulting and condescending than someone telling me I’m lucky for doing my job as a parent.
If I win the lottery, call me lucky. If I win a new car in a competition, call me lucky.
But demeaning my incalculable sleep deprived hours of hard work, stress and frustration, to the mere notion that it all happened because I’m lucky, is frankly, rather ignorant.
My children didn’t happen to magically decide to act the way they do. There was no divine intervention. I can’t even begin to count the discussions my wife and I had over how to handle a situation better next time. Because there is always a next time.
I’m no perfect parent. I make mistakes, regularly. But every single day I reflect on events. I analyze what I did. I ask my wife what she would do / did do previously. And we talk about it. We discuss what worked, and what didn’t. Together we come to a conclusion and draw up a plan (not literally, that would be weird). She may work all day, but she is as involved in their upbringing as I am. We make a good team.
What we do as parents is not ground-breaking. But it does take discipline on our part. We think before we act. And above all else…. we stick to the plan!
My kids are just like any other. They’ve been tears galore at times. And the kids cry, too. But in the end we get there. And at no point has luck played a part in it.
My kids go to bed at 7pm because we developed a solid bedtime routine that works for the whole family. The downside is that they are up at 5:30am every day. But that works for the family, so we stick to it.
My children have thrown plenty of tantrums in the middle of restaurants, shopping malls, doctor’s offices, and the like. But together we found a way to manage the situations better, and learned what ‘set them off’. Life got a lot easier after finding their triggers.
And telling me I’m lucky because I get to be a stay-at-home dad is insulting to me and my wife. I know you have the best intentions and I’m sure mean well. But if I told a mother she was lucky to be at home all day and have her husband ‘look after her’, I think I’d get slapped. It demeans the role of the stay-at-home parent, regardless of which parent it is.
So next time you feel the urge to tell me I’m lucky. Please don’t. Maybe try a hearty handshake, or a solid ‘well done’ instead. At least that way you’ll be acknowledging my role as a parent, and not as some lucky chap who got to bring home the ‘good’ kids the day I visited the hospital.