Although I didn’t move out of my family home until my early twenties, to say that there were things that I would be looking forward to doing under “my roof” was a bit of an understatement. There were things that my parents kept saying to me that I knew, once I was living my own home, I wouldn’t have to listen to and abide by any more.
And, when I did get my own house it was great. I could make the rules and do the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them, within reason, and everything was going along great… until I had kids.
When kids come along you obviously have to slow down, make some changes, and give them as much attention as they need. When they are a baby, even if they don’t sleep as often as you want them to, or they don’t eat as much as you think they should, or they cry a little too often, that time in there life for you is actually easier than what’s to come once they start talking… or talking back.
It’s about this time in my own children’s lives that they started becoming my parents and started saying and doing the things that I escaped from.
“Turn That Noise Down”
I love music. I love loud music. I love heavy music. I love hard and heavy and loud music. Now, before you go off on me you must know this; I never played my music loud in the car when the boys were little because listening to loud music in a confined space is akin to smoking in that car with the widows up. You can do some damage to their little eardrums.
I mostly listen to music on my mobile phone around the house when I’m sorting out the dirty laundry, hanging out the washing or bringing it in, or working in the kitchen. And while the internal speaker in a mobile phone isn’t very loud, sometimes the music that I like to listen to bugs the crap out of my first born son.
On more than one, well, without exaggerating, more than a dozen occasions this son of mine has asked me to “turn that noise down” and has given the reason “because I can’t concentrate.” And by concentrate he basically means listen to the dialogue on a movie he’s already watched a million times, or hear the sound effects or annoying and repetitive music on one of his video games; both of which annoy the crap out of me. But do I complain? No.
“Don’t Stay Out Too Late”
Having lost both grandmas and having grandpas that live too far away to babysit the kids as often as we’d need/like/want, my wife and I don’t go out together as a couple all that often. We both go out and do social things with friends or for work functions, but mostly these are things that we do on our own while the other stays home with the kids.
Occasionally we get invited to events such as weddings or night time parties at licensed premises, and at least once a year we like to go to the movies and see something other than a Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks film. On these occasions, if we can’t farm the kids off to someone who owes us a “sleepover,” we organise a babysitter to come to our house and do the night time routine.
This past Saturday night was one such occasion where we had an adults only charity event at a licensed premises so we organised for our kids’ pseudo grandma to look after them. When she called me earlier in the day to confirm the time we needed her there, our youngest son overheard the conversation. At first he protested about us going out without him, but once I mentioned that because we were going out I would order them pizza for dinner he was okay with the idea until the older one asked how long we were going out for.
“Well, you’ll both be asleep before Mummy and Daddy get home,” I said.
“No. You are not going out for a long time. You need to be home to put me to bed. I’m not going to sleep until you get home,” replied the 4 year old.
I started going out with friends to parties when I was 14 years old and although at that age, my curfew was well before midnight, as I got older, and seeing that we really didn’t get into any trouble, I was able to stay our later, even beyond midnight. Even after I turned 18 years old, when I went out, if my intention was to come back home, whether alone, or with a bunch of friends who would be crashing at my house, my mum would wait up for me and not go to sleep until she knew I was home safe.
Although it was his intent to do the same, albeit, for him to know that HE was safe rather than his mother and I, when we returned some time between 11pm and midnight, he was well and truly asleep.
“You’re Not Going Out Wearing That”
I’ll admit that, as a teenage boy I was less likely to be “slut-shamed” by my parents or the wider community, but there was a period when I wore clothes with more holes in them than Swiss cheese (ripped jeans, tees with the sleeves cut off and the sides ripped open) and my parents were forever asking;
“Are you seriously going out wearing that?”
“Look, if it’s good enough for my hard rocking heroes, it’s good enough for me.”
“Yeah, no… I think you should go and get changed.”
And now, as a parent, of course I am way more conservative than I was in my youth, but there have still been a few times when it has been suggested that I should go and get changed, and now it’s from the kids.
“Daddy, we are both wearing our Star Wars t-shirts but you don’t have yours on. Can you wear your Star Wars t-shirt when we go out today?”
They’re Not Going Out Wearing That
Speaking of telling other people what to wear, although my parents were quite happy to tell ME what to wear, there were plenty of times that the outfit that they put together was just embarrassing, and there was no way I wanted to be seen dead with them dressing as daggy as they were. My dad has actually put together the two items of clothing that should never be put together… a dress shirt and tracksuit pants. It may have even been matched with business shoes.
Man, how did I not need therapy?
And now, whilst I am happy when the kids take the initiative and dress themselves, there are plenty of times when I look at the combination of clothes they picked out and put on and I’ll freak out. There is no way I’m taking the kids out looking like that. I just wouldn’t be caught dead being seen with them.
As I said in my post The One Item of Clothing I Won’t Let My Kids Wear In Public I am happy for my kids to wear super hero or other dress up costumes if we are going out for the day, even if it’s not to a fancy dress party, but wearing tracksuit pants is a no-no.
And certain combinations of clothing make your kids look dishevelled. We are not poor. And even if we were… just… no.
And then there’s this. Socks and sandals. It was never acceptable on my dad, and it will never be acceptable on my kids. Who are you trying to be, toddler child o’ mine? Grandpa Simpson?
Is there anything your kids do or say that make you feel like you’re the child instead of the other way around? Anything they do or say that remind you of awkward or annoying things your parents did or said?