Expat Dad: Using your kids for your own benefit

Good parenting often means good sacrifice. This means voluntarily and determinedly prioritising our children, because this is what is ingrained into our very being.

Not necessarily in the ‘local’ style, which then involves telling your children – on a daily basis – that they ‘owe’ you because you put in X RMB (yes, some parents do actually calculate it) into their upbringing, and now they must not only worship you, but you, the old parent or grandparent, must stick your nose into every tiny aspect of your offsprings life.

More in our accepted benevolent, giving and selfless way, in which we expect nothing back from our children.

Well, this is usually true.

However, as expat dads, sometimes we are compelled to use our children to our own benefit.

I suppose that having a beautiful, cute and intelligent child is like having some kind of magic necklace that makes people like you.

So spell-binding is the power of the cute mixed child that it transforms miserable, seemingly constantly menstruating women into smiles and affection-giving warmth.

I have experience this many times, but one occasion was right on the point:

I was dealing with some delightful women here for something work related. You know, the usual type of sweetheart that you can meet here – dressed up in a different and flamoyant outfit every day for the office, more concerned with placing her Apple electronics around the desk rather than doing actual work, applying a full cabinet of creams and make-ups at the desk to their stoney-expressioned faces (instead of doing work) …

Well, as you also know, such darlings can be one or the other. Sometimes, they are flirty with most things in trousers. But mostly, especially these days, it is usual for them to be uppity. And particularly uppity when meeting us silly Western man. (which is not really their fault – there are so many arrogant morons here)

So in order to really make sure that we KNOW that they are NOT flirting with us, they go to one extreme – which is to act like a miserable bitch.

Again, I don’t blame them.

Most expat chaps that meet pretty much anything in a skirt, will fully assume that she thinks he is just a dreamboat.

I, however, do not. I have zero energy or interest to flirt with Sherry, Lilly or Jackie. They could guess that from the unpleasant odour and large eye-bags. But intuition and initiative not being their strong points – their brain just says “white man! warning!”, and, they act like a miserable bitch, just in case I am Expat Barry.

So I accept that this is ‘just the way of things here’ (a necessary matra to stay sane).

Well, later, I had the magic necklace with me.

Needing to just swing by their office for a couple of minutes outside of usual hours, I had my daughter with me.

So we walked into the office together to pick something up.

And then, the instant transformation.

Previous cantakerous misers with their cankered hatred of me, flicked like a switch over to happy cherubs, basking in the glory of a sweet and cute 5 year old girl.

Crouching down to squeek and coo over my daughter, they then realised that hey, maybe – just maybe – this is one foreign man who is not just an evil machine of attempted woo.

This was a small break-through, and one which you should activate.

Your situation may not necessarily be the same — but people’s attitude toward you does change, as soon as they find out that you are a parent.

Again, this is not their fault. So many expats here are just complete dicks, living reasonably pathetic ‘lifestyles’ as they try to fit into the role and social ‘class’ that they dream of.

Well, parents are just better people. You know it’s true.

And other people know that too!

When they know we are a parent, their brain instantly tells them that hey, maybe, just maybe, we are not an expat twat, concerned with obsessing over trends, fads, expat culture and silliness. Rather, we are normal people just like you get back home, more concerned with putting food on a table, educating a small human, budgeting for our family and getting home at a reasonable hour.

Of course, that’s not true of every parent here. Many of them still arrive and get the bright city lights in their eyes, deciding to have a second childhood of their own, as ‘Xiao Something’ the Ayi raises the children, while they get lost in the sinful pleasures which abound.

Nonetheless, that’s not you. So as a responsible, sane and righteous parent – remember to use your children in order to get people to like you. Works every time.

 

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Tags: ,

Categories: Expat Life

Author:developingcityblog

Foreigner in Shanghai

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One Comment on “Expat Dad: Using your kids for your own benefit”

  1. January 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    I knew I was missing that something special when I lived over there… a child! The perfect protection against surly receptionists! (^-^;)

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