Thursday, March 15, 2012

Would I Be a Cool Dad? Probably Not

So, it is almost 5am, and I am awake. Got two messages on Tumblr that got me thinking, so I decided to do a long-form post here. Question 1: how old are you? Well, I am 42, but hardly an adult. Question 2 (more of a comment): you are old enough to be my dad. I bet you'd be a cool dad.

At first I would like to say I would, but I think there are numerous reasons why I would not. Sure, I play D&D and like toys and cartoons. I would not try to change a child if they were a nerd, or gay, or anything else, but something inside me says that being cool and being a parent do not go together. I would like to think that my child could trust me and feel comfortable coming to me with questions and problems. I am a cheerleader, deep down, and want those I love to succeed, but here are some things that might cause problems.

I am selfish: I like to travel, and I like to be unencumbered by responsibility. If I had a child, that would be 18 years of not going to New York, or New Orleans, or anywhere else. I think something inside me would resent the child for that. I also like to be able to buy things on a whim. While I am pretty conservative with my money (I am still a bit in college-mode where income is concerned) occasionally I say, "I can afford X, why can't I have X? Oh, wait, I can!" While selfish, I am also a person riddled with guilt, and the price of X should have gone towards the child's future, or whatever responsible parents do.

I am a narcissist: Despite my penchant for self-loathing, I at times think I am the center of the universe. Having what attention I do get diverted to my offspring would not please me. It would not be seen as attention by proxy, but rather an infringement on the importance of me.

While I dislike responsibility, I think it is important: I had a great many problems growing up, primarily related to teachers. Having a child would give me what I want and fear, namely an opportunity to confront those pin-headed "educators" that are all-too common with the power-position of being an adult. "I don't have to take any of your shit anymore, lady," would be my attitude. I know that this would only effect the child negatively.

I am woefully ignorant of life: I know next-to-nothing about careers, finance, how to be successful, or how to be what you want to be. I am not blaming my parents, but here is the thing. My dad went into ROTC because he did not want to ask his parents for money to go to college. He went active duty, and stayed in the Army for 24-ish years. My mom was a secretary before marriage, then a housewife, then a college student (fine arts), then a secretary again, then a systems administrator (these last two were with the government). The Army, which my father told me, only teaches you to be in the Army, was not an option and I am not sure how my mother progressed in her career... So, I am not sure my parents really understood what was out there, but rather went with what was available. To this end, I have sort of fallen into every job I have had with varying degrees of success. I am only in IT because I have always been comfortable with computers, but never passionate about them.

The world is full of idiots: My child would be raised as an Atheist and vegetarian. Would I give them hell if they ate meat? No, but I am not buying it. If they want to fit in at lunch, I can understand that. The religion angle is another thing though. This is a country that is insanely superstitious and all about a fictional version of the already fictional Jesus. Other parents and teachers try forcing religion down kids' throats, and frankly I do not want to fight that fight. It would just be another opportunity for me to rage at those I could not rage at as a child, ultimately making the kid's life harder.

Finally, I am a weak-willed ninny: You should see the way my dogs walk all over me. They want to go out, fine. Want more food? Let me get that for you. Need attention? Sure. Scratch the inside of your disgusting ears? I'm on it. There are better examples too, but I seem unable to articulate them at this time. Anyway, I just assume that this lack of will would turn my child into an entitled little douche bag... and frankly, we don't need more of those in the world.

Please pardon any grammar and/or misspellings. I did this post on the iPad, and it is not the optimal way to use Blogger. Edits are difficult, and spellchecker does not work. Trust me, I am a grammar Nazi and will notice my mistakes and hate myself for them sufficiently in my own time. ;-)


JugendZ said...

I find this post absolutely beautiful. If only every baby planning soon-to-be-parents were that self-conscious! I totally agree your views, although I luckily dont have to worry about religious subjects that much in my country. And go ahead, execute me for the presumably bad english :)

Darius Whiteplume said...

I try to never attack people on their English, particularly if it is a second language. When I become fluent in another things might change ;-)

Now that I am on a computer I will go back and edit some of the glaring mistakes!

Glad you enjoyed the post. The wife and I were on and off thinking about kids for a while and finally decided we are enjoying ourselves too much.

I was likely a bit hard on myself, but I find it best to know your weaknesses!

Anthony Simeone said...

Well, listen, I have kids, and I don't come down on people who don't want to have kids. My best friend and his wife do not ever want to have kids, and that's cool with me. I'm not one of those narrow minded fools who think that all couples with no kids are immature. In this life, you do what makes you happy. If kids would not make you happy, then that's who you are. It doesn't mean you are genetically handicapped if you don't have the urge to have kids.

The only thing I ask from non-kid-wanting people is respect for my choice to have kids. Very often those non-kid-wanters are also those who come down on those with kids. If you want respect for your choice, you have to give respect to those that choose otherwise.

Anthony Simeone said...

I also wanted to add: those non-kid-wanting people who make fun of parents are sometimes motivated by being attacked by said parents, so I can see where some of the fighting comes from. But again, my wife and I have been collateral damage in that war. There's a website called Shut the F*** Up, Parents or something like that out there. Non-kid-wanters seem to be pretty into it, but I think the site really only attacks parents that are rabid parents. Those parents that attack non-kid-wanters for their choice.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I check out STFU Parents sometimes, and I think they tend to come down on people who's entire identity is the child. I see so many license plates with "Ty's Mom" and such. I am too self-absorbed for such ;-)

mkhall said...

For many of the same reasons you list, I have always felt that I would have been a terrific uncle, but not such a great dad. As it turned out, my brother didn't have kids, either. So it goes.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I try to be a good uncle, but don't see them much. We do buy the best presents though. Typically.

Nathan said...

I feel much the same way. Being a parent seems to me to be an incredible sacrifice. I don't know.


My wife and I were told we couldn't have kids... then we had my daughter. I have tried to to my best but I know I've made mistakes, all parents do. Maybe I am seen as a cool Dad to the outside world but to my daughter I'm just Dad and the relationship we have is more complex, maddening and rewarding than anything shown in the Brady Bunch.

That being said there's nothing wrong with not wanting kids either and there's nothing wrong with saying it.

But be warned the universe operates on High Octane Irony so things will never be what you expect...

Darius Whiteplume said...

I had a friend who had mumps in high school, which typically sterilizes you, particularly when your sack swells to the size of a grapefruit. For years he used no birth control, then, I believe 10yrs later, his wife got pregnant. The kid is definitely his, as his family has those overpowering genes that make them all look alike.

There is little chance of us having a kid. The wife has an IUD, and (TMI) we still use condoms; mostly for ease of cleanup, but also as out chemistry does not match well and they prevent yeast infections for the most part.

I do think ultimately kids will never see their parents as cool, unless the parents are doing something very wrong; but even then, children are born to rebel and see their parents differently.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Totally a huge sacrifice. The coolest people we know had kids, and now they are like one of those sitcom families. Always talking about schools and mortgages and such. I hate that kind of shit. Plus, I like to just go out whenever.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I hear ya buddy. I know my limitations. I can only fail. This way I only hurt myself with my introverted self centeredness.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Preach, brother :-D

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