Expat Dad: Kids – very difficult, very easy

All parents know that life before parenting was lived in an ignorant haze. Before parenting, you had this thing called ‘free time’.

When you had it, you really had no idea that it even existed. You didn’t think about it, just like you don’t think about the joy of oxygen every single time you take a breath. You simply accept these benefits and take them for granted.

Freedom and choice – something that non-parents basically mis-use. Some such people who still live in a pretty standard way. Going to work, watching TV in the evenings, this kind of thing.

Parents look at these people and think ‘you are wasting your time’. Because, as mentioned, parents can day-dream about ‘the things that we could do’ if we didn’t have kids (even though as written in that link, we regret nothing!).

The point is that there are many difficult sides to parenting, if you want to do it well. A natural sacrifice and loss of your personal life and even identity is something that has to be accepted. People do not even use your name anymore, you are just ‘your child’s name’ + Mother or Father.

None of this is a problem, because good parents can do all of these things anyway. But there are still many mentally taxing moments in parenting. That’s the difficult part.

Yet, of course, the joyful and easy parts are also true.

Let’s take a look at adults.

Why, oh why, do people assume that adults can be adult? Or mature?

Tantrums, illogical moods, immaturity, over-sensitivity, failure to understand basic manners and politeness … these are all things that ‘adults’ do.

There are many people who are really just large children – and you will encounter them in your work, your family, your partner, your friends, acquaintances, sports partners or teammates…

Whatever you do, you will inevitably have some moments in life when you are dealing with such people.

When anything in your regular life ‘goes wrong’ – that’s when you realise just how easy kids are.

And that is one such joy of parenting. You know that despite any difficulty you have, there is always going to be at least one person who, when it counts, is always going to be available for a joke and a laugh; for some bright and decent conversation.

When your child is still young, they can be so easy to please, easy to amaze, easy to make laugh, easy to get instant and intense affection from. It’s important to savour that joy while they are young, and not take it for granted.


Categories: Expat Life


Foreigner in Shanghai


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One Comment on “Expat Dad: Kids – very difficult, very easy”

  1. December 14, 2012 at 5:58 am #

    Yes! Then they become a tougher audience as they get older–hard to make laugh or to please. This is a new phase of parenting where we have to talk things out and argue for our positions.

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