A Dad’s Hidden Truth of Parenting: We’re All Clichés

Over the past few years, a new wave seems to be washing over the world: a wave of bellyaching fathers complaining about how hard it is to be a parent. There is nothing particularly original about these complaints. In fact, as in most things, women were here first. But when it comes to whining, we men are better at it, or at least much, much louder.

Hidden Truth of Parenting No. 1: Sick kids are no fun.

For me, the whole thing started about a year and a half ago. Both of my kids got a little ill. A mild flu, nothing to call 911 about, but still the sort of condition that makes you stay home with them. This is when I discovered the first hidden truth – sick kids are no fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. But as with any dad, my life was transformed as soon as they emerged into the world. Sleepless nights were no longer soaked in alcohol, but rather dripping with spit-up. My natural lazy morning routines were replaced by a cruel kick out of bed at 6 a.m., and I generally became a disgruntled, sleep-deprived, frustrated mess. You get used to it.

Hidden Truth of Parenting No. 9: Small children running a fever make great leg warmers.

All told, the kids were home off and on for about two months – my boy for two days here, then my girl for three days there, and then both together for a couple of days, and on and on. I didn’t get much done over these months, but I did have a lot of time to complain. My kids spent hours on my lap alternately screaming or sleeping. If you’re juggling a 3-year-old brimming with snot, Facebook is about all you can do, because suddenly, your attention span is reduced to the amount of time between nose wipes. And you have to write really short status updates too, or the kids will try to help555sdkf.

Hidden Truth of Parenting No. 22: Never ask your children what they want for dinner. They lie.

This is how The Hidden Truths of Parenting came about. At first I was just letting off steam to friends. Blogging was the natural next step, and by the time I had 100 Hidden Truths, I’d discovered the secret of millions of other blogging parents: the comfort of knowing you are not alone. There are others out there who are also suddenly not so sure that the marvel of creating life is everything they thought it might be.

Sharing my frustrations made me feel as if I was getting in touch with my feminine side. Revealing my innermost thoughts and desires. Joining the secret sisterhood. But then I discovered there are many more dads like me out there. It turns out I am just a typical man. A cliché. I’m a blogging father. I’m a trend.

Hidden Truth of Parenting No. 78: I sometimes hate my kids — they keep playing with my toys.

True, fathers seem to have an easier time with kids. Our hips don’t change, and unlike most women, many of us sincerely enjoy playing with toy cars. And of course, we men whine in a very manly way, largely relying on our willingness to sell our kids’ souls in exchange for a punch lines we will pay for later in years of therapy.

In a sense, we are now stuck where women were back in the ’90s. Men all over the world are feeling suckered into the same trap women have been facing for decades: trying to be superdads, raising kids, keeping the house together and having a career, while at the same time looking good, staying slim and keeping it hot in the sack.

It can’t be done. And my guess is that it will take us about a decade or two of blogging and complaining to figure that out.

Hidden Truth of Parenting No. 378: When your two kids argue about who has it worse — you do.

What Next?

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