There are only so many minutes in the day, and if you were to parent correctly for all of them, you'd use far more than the 12 - 14 hours given to you.
Being a parent these days has become so complicated. On top of ever-climbing standards, there is an entire mountain of parenting books advocating a zillion different “theories.”
Then there’s the internet. Let’s not even get started on the internet. It’s really just there to confuse you.
Regardless, in the vast majority of modern advice, we're encouraged to raise our little darlings using the following principles as our paradigm: patience, kindness, respect, acceptance and open communication.
Or, when you boil it all down: treat your child as you would like to be treated.
It’s simple, and I really believe that parents get this.
We know we shouldn’t yell at our children.
We know we shouldn’t let our own frustrations dictate how we act, and how we treat them.
We know we should be demonstrating the same type of good behavior that we expect from them.
But, just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Even though I whole-heartedly agree with this approach, and try my best to model this behavior every dang day, sometimes, I can’t help but think:
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
For the purpose of this article speaking to all, I’ll use an example that emphasizes the single most predominant issue for every parent in the history of the universe:
Your kid doesn’t fucking listen to anything you say, or ask them to do/not do, like, ever.
Sound familiar? Join the club.
Most of the time, you probably do your best to work with your child, and not against them, in ensuring they behave. Because we all know what happens when you lose your cool: so does your kid (but they are exponentially more dramatic about it). .
Unfortunately, the difficult part of keeping your cool, and adhering to the parenting concepts you esteem, is that there’s only so much time in the day.
As parents, we’ve got things to do and people to see, and we don’t always have time to properly work through these tough moments. Sometimes, your only option is to freak the fuck out, because dammit, we’ve got to get going!
Does the following “moment of truth” scenario sound familiar to you?
It’s 6:45 AM, and it’s time to leave. You have exactly 15 minutes to get everyone ready, and exactly one hour to get to work in time from there. But, before you've even gotten to the door, you're already mentally preparing yourself for the plethora of ways your preschooler is going to fuck with you, and how you're going to deal with it.
It’s a recurring daily coin toss on how shit’s going to go down. Can you get through it all using patience and kindness? Or, will you go ape shit?
The common time (and sanity) wasting incidents from little Suzy include:
She decides she wants to run upstairs and change her pants. Five minutes later, she's back downstairs, wearing a light cotton dress that's completely inappropriate for winter.
She needs to go find her favorite toy that's somewhere upstairs, but she has no idea where, because she hasn’t played with it in approximately seven months. Regardless, it's 10/10 important that she finds it exactly right now.
She freaks out about the Paw Patrol water bottle, and demands her Frozen one instead. After destroying your pantry to find it, she changes her mind again, and decides she wants the Paw Patrol one after all.
Rather than putting her shoes on, she takes her socks off, and claims something ludicrous, like: "the color scratches my feet."
The only items of outdoor clothing she's willing to consider wearing will almost certainly cause her to freeze to death within minutes of stepping outside.
She has to do EVERYTHING herself. And you better not dare offer her your assistance, because asking "can I help you with that?" is simply just a trigger button for a full on tantrum.
As the interaction progresses, your patience begins running on pure fumes, but you continue to push through it with gritted teeth and a fake smile. If you come unglued now, your restraint will all have been for naught.
All Suzy has to do is put on her jacket, you are so close, but after she has uselessly messed around with the zipper for three minutes, she gets mad at you for not helping.
You go to help her, and she screams at you: “NO! I DO IT MYSELF!”
What in the literal fuck?
This is it. This is your threshold. You cannot take another minute of this fuckery. After exercising an excruciating level of patience, you have reached your absolute brink. You are done.
You will be late for work, again. And all for what? Attempting to use “positive parenting” practices so you don’t inadvertently damage your little snowflake?
Because lately, this approach feels more like letting your tiny tyrant walk all over you, for as long as humanly possible, before she’s finally able to break you.
Naturally, in this case, you flip the fuck out and hustle your kid’s butt out the door, likely accompanied by some tears.
It does not feel good. In fact, it feels the opposite of good. It feels absolutely terrible.
But you are trapped. This is the catch 22 of parenting: you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
Sometimes, your only two options are:
a. Parent your kids “properly” and waste a colossal amount of time.
b. Parent like an asshole and get shit done.
It’s as simple as that. No matter what you chose, there is always a loss to counter the gain; you cannot ever have both. The trade-offs are endless.
So, to all the parents out there who feel as though they are waging a constant battle between being a good parent, and living within the basic constraints of time, you are not alone.
As parents, we don’t have time to have time. There are only so many minutes in a day, and if you were patient with your children for all of them, the rest of your life would crumble as the minutes ticked by into aeons.
You’d be an eternal slave to the only two paces they operate at: extraordinarily slow and extraordinarily slower.
So, if from time-to-time you need to fly off the handle to get your little lollygaggers in gear, do it, and don’t look back, because sometimes, ain’t no parent got time for that.