Parenting: I confess!

PArenting

This is a confession of sorts. Perhaps, this may make you look at what I write in a completely different way, but I think I need to get it off my chest.

 

We’re now sort of midway through the son’s summer holidays and I am pleasantly surprised that neither of us have ended up hurting each other or in the hospital. Well, our egos are probably hurt a little, but then again, whose isn’t.

 

To the frequent readers of this blog, you may be familiar with the fact that I usually write about (my wife calls it complain) some of my son’s antics. While some of it is, well, mildly edited for humour, a lot of it is the truth. Unlike my wife, I do find him quite a handful. Of course, it also has to do with the fact that he is perhaps a completely different person with me than he is with my wife. But there is also an uglier version of this that has been bothering me for the past few months, perhaps even a year. And that is that I am probably a lot more awful at this parenting thing than I care to admit.

 

My wife and I had a discussion the other day. Something which sort of ended with some deeply philosophical statement from her.

 

“Did you really think this parenting thing was going to be a joy ride, Sid? Maybe you weren’t ready.”

 

Of course, the emotional side of mine started to rumble a little bit in protest. But for some reason, I did not reply. In the interest of being transparent, I must confess. My son and I had the mother of all meltdowns earlier. Actually, strike that. My son and I have the mother of all meltdowns every time we have a fight. And it’s worth pointing out that he has just turned 5; so if you are fairly religious, this might be a good time for you to say a little prayer for us for the teenage years. So, subsequently, my wife decided to drop this mother of all bombs (not to be confused with the MOAB that President Orangetoon dropped as an after-dinner entertainment on Syria) on me with that observation.

 

Now usually, I react quicker to such statements than most chemical reactions. So, I was quite shocked with myself when I actually remained quiet and just waited for what she had said to sink in. It took some time, but it eventually did. Now, I can’t give a yes or no answer for this, but I might rephrase it slightly.

 

I really can’t answer if I knew the moment that I was ready to be a father. We’d always wanted to have children and if it wasn’t possible biologically, we were always ready to adopt. But what I did not realise was this fact that been said before, and probably will continue to be told for many generations to come.

 

Parenting is extremely hard work.  And some days, I really wonder if it is truly worth all this.

 

I am not a sexist. So the thought of having a kid and then expecting my wife to take care of him or her was never on my agenda. In my head, I had been ready to share the responsibilities. But yes, perhaps I did expect it to be easier that what it has been. Mostly because my mum used to gush about how awesome I was as a child and how adulthood spoilt me.

 

In fact, if I think about it,  I may have been born an adult and then aged mentally in reverse. Sort of like Benjamin Button, except it is just my brain with this ‘curious case’.  But what I probably underestimated was the enormity of this responsibility that we had undertaken. Wait, I had undertaken.

 

I understand that this confession is really not selling parenthood to anyone who may be considering having a child. And that is not my job. It’s a choice you must make, and all I am saying is that ‘expect the unexpected’.

 

I must also take responsibility for the fact that perhaps, some of the reasons for me finding ‘parenting’ quite difficult at times, is because of my behaviour – being constantly on the edge, procrastinating – the list could practically go on.

 

Having a child was a conscious decision. So, I will not (and can not) imagine the world without my kid. Just like I find it incredibly hard to imagine a time when I did not know my wife. That’s how deep these relationships sometimes become – sort of like the roots of a tree, slowly getting entangled with each other, supporting us through everything.

 

Over past few years, I have come to terms with a number of things about parenting. Things that I never even imagined that I would one day think – not even in the most far-fetched dreams of mine. And these feelings.

 

 

I have realised that it is absolutely normal to want to throw someone off a cliff but at the same time feel overwhelmingly hurt when the same person says they don’t want you. I’ve realised that sometimes you may find yourself wishing ‘What might have been’ to wishing you never have to even live a moment without this tiny little being who is, quite literally, your heart walking outside your body. And that you will constantly swing between hoping that he or she would just leave you alone for a moment to wanting nothing more than hearing them whisper sweet cute nothings into your ears

 

If I am honest, most of all, I have realised that it is normal to sometimes want to just climb into a cave and sit alone, especially when this tiny human being is pushing all the ‘right’ buttons to make you do ‘wrong things’. But the true love comes from seeing it all through and being there. Because at the end of it all, the goofiest of smiles from them soothes your aching, overwhelmed soul better than anything else ever could.

 

You may be wondering why I’m telling you all this. Mostly because this post is both a confession and a commitment.

 

A confession of the fact that perhaps, I have been a more shittier father than I had ever planned to be and not as awesome as I sometimes make out to be.

 

And a commitment to my wife that I will not complain so much. And of course, to my son that I will keep striving to be a better parent, yell less, do more things with him and though there may be times when he sees the darker side of mine, I will always love him. Possibly more than anything or anyone else.

 


Addendum:

I do not REGRET having a kid or being a parent. That was not the intent of this post. I also realise that these are perhaps some of my deepest thoughts that I’ve now made public, mostly so that I acknowledge that I may not have been trying as hard as I possibly should have. But as with anything, the first step towards being a ‘better you’, is knowing what to fix. 🙂

Comments

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  1. Soumya

    I know I’m very late here but you know what I have been dealing with over the past few months.

    I don’t know what to say here Sid, because I’m not a parent yet. But I’d say this. I think you are an amazing father mainly because you are a wonderful human being. A big one at that! Like you said, it is completely normal to want to throw someone off a cliff. Trust me I feel like doing this to almost everyone around me at times. But when you don’t do it, that’s love. Or the fear of going to prison when it is people you don’t love.

    Parenting or any new thing is always a challenge. You my dear, are gonna ace it. Anytime lil R feels like a handful, call me. I’ll be happy to babysit him for a while. And I promise I’ll not bring the knives and guns this time.
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  2. Obsessivemom

    Uff how did I miss this one! I am glad you put this out here. I’m not sure if everyone has them, but I certainly do have moments when I wonder if I am equipped at all to handle being a parent. The whole responsibility thing is overwhelming. I mean I’m barely good enough to take decisions for myself, preferring to drift along life, and here there are two more people depending on me to do the right thing for them. You see, I do know where that post came from. Since there’s no way out when one is in it, all one can do is try the hardest and let it be at that. And you’ll do fine. You and your wife seem to be the perfect team.

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  3. Stefinia

    Well, SId. I guess you need lots of patience and I like to say one thing. For your kid you are everything along with his Mom. You have to handle him, teach him, groom him to grow into his best self without expecting anything much from him. You are a wonderful Dad to take responsibility for handling and growing your son instead of leaving all that to your wife. You too grow along with your kid in the process, you learn to be more creative, more engaging, get more patience and discover ‘love’ that’s very special. In the teenage year you would have fun, don’t worry, there is loads of time for it. You should do travelling, trekking, playing, cooking, art and stuff with kid, take him to zoo etc.
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  4. Shilpa Gupte

    I hope you are feeling better now, after letting it all off your chest, Sid. I don’t know much about child-parenting, I am a child’s aunt and the child and I share a pretty good equation, so I don’t worry much about it. But, I have been a dog-mommy and at times, a pathetic one, ! I won’t divulge the details!), but, yes, now when I think about it, I hate myself for all those bad moments. But, all of that lousiness of mine would vanish when my baby would lick my face and tell me not to worry…I am still the sweetest person he knows!
    One can’t compare dogs and humans, but kids are like puppies; they give you a hard time and then when you go mad, they come and give you a slobbery, loving kiss to tell you it’s all okay, we all make mistakes, but mom-dad you are the best! So, Sid, you are the best dad! Rishi says so, too, doesn’t he? 🙂
    And, one really needs to be brave enough to open up about such things about oneself, so I am in awe of you, buddy!

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      Sid

      Woah! That’s one long comment. I’ve seen some of your updates Shilpa, and I know you can relate to a lot of this. I think there are a lot of similarities between kids and puppies/dogs – so I get it. Totally 🙂
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Parenting: I confess!My Profile

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  5. divsi

    I like it when Sid goes ‘all out open’ with his feelings. Its so good to read it (either in a post or when you put it on a WhatsApp) with all honesty, I cannot even think about how complex parenting could get. But reading you and seeing meg I get goosebumps sometimes 😀 I loved the part where you spoke about feeling two opposite emotions at once: wanted to throw them off a cliff and hug them the next instant 😀 Lovely post as always Sid.

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      Sid

      Hehehe! I usually write with some restraint – but this time, I just had to get it all out there.
      The WhatsApp convos – well, you know how they turn up 😛
      Thanks, Divsi. Someday, you’ll write a similar post too 😛
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Parenting: I confess!My Profile

  6. Jaibala Rao

    Its not easy. I guess what happens when we become parents is that we are hit by the reality of parenting. I never wanted to be a certain kind of parent, and when I am that person, I feel like a failure, because I never wanted to be that. I guess we have to let go of the dos and do nots we set for ourselves. I am not going to type out a long comment because we have had innumerable discussions about my frustrations and regrets especially when it comes to being a parent. It is always good to get it off your chest.
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  7. upasna

    Parenting is complex. One moment you bring them closer to hug them tight and the other moment you yell at them. Weird change of emotions in just few minutes. Of course we love them but we need our own away time to keep us sane. I cannot be perfect and this is something I m learning these days.

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  8. Geetika

    I love this side of your writing, Sid. I am coming here after a really long time ( I was AtoZing :P) and I am glad I did.
    These kinds of posts tell us so much more and help us relate at the same time, it tells us we’re all humans and do so many things in a similar way. I am not a parent and yet I could relate because I have a lot of parents around me!
    It’s only normal to feel the way you are feeling and I feel just glad to stop by!

    Cheers

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  9. Nabanita Dhar

    You are not different. I think every parent feels this. Parenting is so very tough, Sid. It is tougher on the parent who also stays at home. It’s harder for me than my husband because somehow or the other, I end up doing the heavy lifting when it comes to M. And I’m not saying that S doesn’t help. It’s just that M clings to me, I’m constantly on the run and on edge because the daycare calls me if anything goes wrong and M is more difficult with me than with S. I have no breathing space. I have to do everything within a schedule to be available for M and that irks me. Sometimes it makes me mad at S that he gets to have a flexible schedule and I don’t. So, parenting is tough and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging that. We are humans and sometimes it becomes too much. Sometimes I complain so much and get irritated so much that my sister says ‘will you stop it already’ but it’s hard and we need to take it out somehow. That’s not saying that we don’t love those naughty little munchkins.

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      Sid

      I completely understand, Naba. No matter how much you try, the ‘equal distribution’ of parenting doesn’t really work. It’s tough, but we just have to make it work.
      and yes, we do adore the munchkins.
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  10. Rajlakshmi

    I so love your honesty Sid and yes you did manage to scare a non parent like me 😋 I remember having massive meltdowns with my mother… I am surprised she actually didn’t leave me in front of a temple or something 😀 Parenting is tough no doubt, after all you are building a future.
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      Sid

      Haha! Please don’t let me mopey tales reconsider your decision of being a parent – that is if you’re choosing to be one.
      Thanks for reading and understanding, Rajlakshmi
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Parenting: I confess!My Profile

  11. Ramya Abhinand

    Got to read this on a day, when I am handling an eight year old and a 4 year old, literally single parenting, through the summer vacation( courtesy fauji husband out on duty most of the times). I was feeling miserable to the point and questioning myself if I was doing the parenting bit all right, being all by myself… Yes.. oscillating emotions do the round, from being guilty, to being angry.. But consciously I do make that effort to enjoy small things with them. ITs tough, but we just need to keep trying isnt it…

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  12. Gobblefunkist

    The addendum was totally unnecessary. Anyone who has been a parent (and I suspect anyone reading this post has been) would know exactly what you have written about.
    I have a 13 year old daughter. We have meltdowns that make the orangetoon’s drop look like a walk through the park. We had one yesterday that needed military level treaties to control. But do I regret parenting? Not for a piddly ass moment.
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      Sid

      Hahaha! I am known for ‘addendums’ – so most here are used to it. But yes, I agree with what you said. 13, huh? Man, that’s a tough age, isn’t it?
      Thanks for the positive motivation!
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : Parenting: I confess!My Profile

  13. Dagny

    Dude, you asked me not to read this ’cause you you feared it might want me to kick you. Consider the kick delivered, therefore. And no, I’m never obedient. Deal with it.

    Having done the needful, i must now say this: Give yourself a break. We’re all lousy parents at times. Ive done things I’m not proud of. One apologizes and tries hard to make up for it. But one does not hang oneself. Because then, one would take away the best possible parent one’s child was meant to have.

    You’re an awsome dad. Period.

    Not another word now. Bas keh diya.

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  14. Bogglehead

    Well, I have heard this from one of my friends who is the mother of a 6 yr old – “Children teach more than you teach them. ” Your case might just be the same. They might make you question yourself and sometimes your decisions but you cannot bear to even think of stepping away from them. What you have written is the reality that people who’d like to have children should realize rather than going with the flow or thinking of child-bearing as an item in life’s checklist. One must fully understand and accept this reality, if ever one wants to become a parent in the true sense! You should give yourself more credit, your son is lucky to have a dad who is ready accept his struggles and work towards being a better dad.

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      Sid

      I would say it is the case with Parenting in general. Especially modern day parenting, where kids seem to ask a lot more questions than just take everything their parents say at face value.
      I agree – I think a few people do go through it like a checklist. The reality is far more starker than what we think it is.
      I can’t comment about the last part though 🙂
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  15. Arpita Sharma

    I hear you Sid. Whether one is ready to be a parent or not, the challenges remain the same, the overwhelming feeling of working 24 hours a day 7 days a week, unending stress and frustrations, top it up with parenting advice. It stays that way till the time your kids is dependent on you.
    But what I learnt is that only way to make it work is by making your child aware that you have your own life as well. And this should be a thumb rule for all parents once the kid reaches the age of 5.
    Rest assured what you feel is normal, and each and every parent goes through this phase. So your confession is speaks for all parents, you are brave enough to share it. Committing not to complain as much is definitely what you should work on. 🙂
    Good luck!!

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      Sid

      Perfectly put, Arpita. It is pretty much a round-the-clock job whether you’re working another job or not. Making the child aware about our ‘other life’ is a tough ask though – I think it is for me anyway.
      I’m glad to share it with others, as long as everyone can relate to it.
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  16. Sreesha

    I may have said this before but I’ll say it again. There’s no one way to be a parent and there’s no one “right” way either. When I was pregnant, and anxious about what kind of a mother I was going to be, a friend rolled her eyes and said, “Babies don’t come with instruction manuals. You do the best you can.” That’s the best advice I got, especially cos everyone else kept insisting parenting was something so heroic and perfect and on-a-pedastal. Experience teaches you otherwise and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. Stop being so hard on yourself. Hugs!
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      Sid

      I suppose not – we just have to find ‘a’ way to parent. And each baby behaves differently too. PArenting is heroic? Yes, I suppose you could call ‘stepping on Lego blocks and wiping off projectile vomit’ heroic.
      As for being hard on myself, I guess it’s just the way it is.
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  17. Sheethal

    I don’t have a kid yet. But these days at the sight of our kids I just turn my head. I kind of feel I can never do justice to a child and maybe I’m not made to be good parent. Sometimes this fear scares me when parents in my friends circle glorify about parenting as if it’s a bliss! But your post is like the ugly truth of a beautiful relation.

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      Sid

      Ha! We all overthink. You have plenty of time for that once you become a parent 😛
      And a lot of it is ‘trial and error’, Sheethal. So let it go and do the best you can.
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  18. Rachna

    I am completely with you on this, Sid. I’ve had terrible times parenting both the kids. They’re are times I’ve told them that my life was better off without them and meant it. Parenting is one hell of a tough job and any parent who says otherwise is either lying or delusional. Trust me I need my breaks away from them. I am glad you wrote this post. We’re human after all. With kids older than yours, I would like to say that things get better and you can claim a lot of your life back as they grow up more. The challenge still stays. I don’t think we can ever prepare ourselves for parenthood. It would just be as difficult whenever you get into it. If course, being the adults we can all work on our own flaws. That is not to mention that kids are always good and wonderful. So, I am a little less harsh on myself. I am doing the best I can and even the kids turn around and call me one. Never hesitate to seek help. I have approached many counselors over the years and it has genuinely helped.

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      Sid

      We are all in the same boat, one way or the other I think, Rachna. We just keep trudging along, because when you weigh the pros and cons, the smiles make up for the tears.
      Fingers crossed that I won’t need to, but I may not hesitate to if I do.
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  19. Suman Kher

    Hey! I’m not a parent! But I can totally identify with this Cz I raise a big kid called Husband! Trust me! Same feelings! Want to fling him off a cliff or run away from the messy kid. But still can’t imagine my life without him!

    This is quite a post you’ve written here. I’m sick of hearing how (motherhood) parenting is the next best thing after sliced bread!! No one wants to accept that it’s hard and life altering. Love your descriptions here.

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      Sid

      Hehe! By those standards, my wife probably has two kids to handle.
      Thanks for reading and more for leaving a comment, Suman. I know you steer miles away from parenting posts – so your comment means that this was something worth your time.
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  20. Shailaja V

    Parenting is the one thing that we can never quite prepare ourselves for. Even when we think we’re ready, emotionally, to have a kid, there are things that happen that will always throw us off balance. I get where you are and I am glad that you are candid enough to admit that there are days when you don’t want to be a parent. Believe me. I feel the same way. Knowing that we’re responsible for another human being is the most overwhelming thing in the world.

    I’m extremely glad you wrote this, mostly because I think it needs to be said. In an age where everything seems to point towards showcased triumphs of parenting, we need the flaws and the frustration to show as well. That tells everyone else that hey, we’re not in this alone.
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      Sid

      Thanks for the support, Shailaja. I did think twice or thrice before putting this up, but then decided to do it anyway. It was more about me putting it out there – and thereby taking up some accountability for the same.

      And like you said, I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have reached out saying that they could relate to this. So I guess, we really aren’t that alone when it comes to this ‘parenting’ thing.
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