Since the human race relies heavily on parents for its continuing reproductive cycle, then if you are thinking about being a parent then these very simple guidelines might help. They are born out of my own, tongue in cheek, observations with my kids, I hope you can draw at least a little comfort from them.
Rule 1. Selective attention span
Quickly learn how to notice and ignore everything you dislike about yourself as, sure is eggs is eggs, those particular facets will become apparent in your kids.
Rule 2. Selective Hearing
Also learn how to have selected hearing as everyone (and I mean everyone) is willing and able to criticise your parenting skills without any obvious experience. In fact the only people who will not criticise you are the people who you would be best listening to, and that is the people who have been in your position, of wondering whether you are or are not a good parent.
Rule 3. Allow them to make mistakes
One of the most difficult parts of parenting is that you have to watch your kids considering, attempting and failing to succeed in all those things that you had failed in as a kid. You have to watch them make the same mistakes you made, and there is nothing you can do about it other than warn them. As your parents’ warning too fell on deaf ears, then will yours, so get used to it.
Rule 4. Embrace Fatigue
Embrace fatigue as your friend as it will be your constant companion and so making friends with it is a great idea. I think the constant combination of loud noise, illogical arguing mixed in with bouts of sibling rivalry and violence will soon create a state of emerging exhaustion even if you feel fine (the kids aren’t much better either)
Rule 5. Learn how to feel guilt
I look back at what my father did for me and I weep, seriously I do. He put me first, showed me right and wrong, was my hero, my mentor and my protector. He worked night and day to provide for me and he forgave all my challenges to his authority with a gentle repositioning. He would go without just so that I could feel the excitment of a massive present. By massive we are talking about cars, bikes, fuel, the lot. How the hell am I supposed to top that? When you add in my mum, she is a powerful matriarch handing out discipline and cuddles with the same swipe of the hand, my best friend, a beautiful lady with a massive ability to love and forgive in equal measure. The best cook, nurse, taxi driver any young boy could want. She would toil on my behalf without stopping for breath.
I did nothing to deserve such attention. I was truly privileged. I didn’t know it but I was a total parasite sucking the life blood out of my parents, a needy, arrogant, unappreciative, spotty oik who was not worthy to stand in one of these fine people’s shadows, let alone call them Mum and Dad. Or was I? It was only many years later that I understood how come the apparent imbalance was allowed, when I looked into the eyes of my own boys and saw the total and utter love. I only hope I did the same to my parents, because if I didn’t then it will be nice and toasty in my next incarnation.
Rule 6. Get used to Total Love
So above all get used to being loved, unequivocally and totally. This one is a douzi as we aren’t naturally used to such focused devotion. When you are feeling down all you need is one little look and the words (usually wrapped around a hug) ‘I love you dad’, and the world seems just a little bit more worth while.