29 votes

If you're a parent, what is it like?

If I see myself in someone's child here then I'm deleting this thread, no questions asked /s

You should probably say/indicate your and your children's age and sex (can be plural, obviously.)

You can follow the Q&A format below but you don't have to.

A few questions that come to (my very uninitiated) mind are:

How much time do you spend on them?

If you aren't their biological parent:

(i.e you're @aphoenix not hetero and a parent didn't want to go through fkin birthing people an adoptive parent, for example)

  • Where did you (uhh) find them?
  • If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)
  • How many children were there to choose from?
  • What led you to choose the child you picked in specific instead of someone else? (Dear God, is this an ethical question to ask?)

How do you parent them?

  • Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?

  • Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?

  • Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?

  • When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them?

How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?

What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?

More personal questions below. (You can avoid these, I probably would too tbh)

If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got something else, what did you do?

How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?

What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like?

Is there anything you regret doing when parenting them?

Why did you have them?

49 comments

  1. [3]
    clem
    Link
    I'm not sure what you're looking for in asking these questions, but this seems like a fun prompt, so here goes. I'm a 38 year-old heterosexual dude; my son recently turned three. How much time do...
    • Exemplary

    I'm not sure what you're looking for in asking these questions, but this seems like a fun prompt, so here goes.

    I'm a 38 year-old heterosexual dude; my son recently turned three.

    How much time do you spend on them? My wife works full-time, so I spend most of my time with him. He used to take a roughly 90 minute nap in the afternoon, so I'd at least get that time for a break, but he doesn't seem to need that much anymore. So we get up in the morning, spend the day together, my wife gets home for dinner, we eat, I clean up, give him a bath, and then he goes to bed around 9. From 9 until whenever I go to bed (some time between midnight and 1 or so), I have free time, though unfortunately I'm too tired to do much other than kill my brain in front of the TV.

    If you aren't their biological parent I am.

    How do you parent them? I'm kind and loving but fairly strict about the things I feel are important (though I'm actually somewhat flexible if he's interested in discussing my rules calmly and rationally). I mostly go through my daily chores and try to incorporate him into them whenever possible. I try to do at least one specific fun thing with him every day, though admittedly some days are too busy for that. I honestly don't know much about "parenting" in the academic sense; I just try to treat him the way I'd want to be treated. I pretty much just love him and go from there.

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much? I have almost complete control over his media use. Right now he likes watching the Winnie the Pooh show that I actually watched a bit of as a kid.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much? I do my best. We unfortunately eat too much meat, mostly because it's just easier. I can open up a pack of chicken thighs, salt them, throw some sauce on them, and bake it for an hour. Spaghetti is easy, too: saute some beef, throw spaghetti sauce on it, and let it simmer for a couple hours. The vegetarian alternatives that he is willing to eat are more involved. Falafel went well, but that took forever to make. And he doesn't quite yet have the dexterity to eat soup well. But we have at least one vegetable with every meal--usually more than that right now when we have fresh veggies from the garden. I'll do better as he gets older and more capable.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much? Definitely. As much as it has made my life more difficult, I've tried to let him help me with chores as much as possible. I feel like keeping the house and our property maintained is as much his responsibility as it is mine--just as he "owns" it as much as I do (I throw ownership in parenthesis because I don't love the concept--how do I own a section of a planet that will remain for millions of years after I'm gone?--but also don't want to derail this post with that longer discussion). It's starting to go well. The other day he vacuumed the kitchen for me with only a little bit of my help. I'll expect him to contribute as much as he can, within reason, for as long as he's living here. He's as much a part of this family/homestead as I am.

    When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them? I think I've mostly covered this. If he's not willing to do something that I want him to do, I try to make a deal with him and come to some sort of compromise or I give up on it. Most of the time, fights aren't worth having, and I can understand not wanting to do certain things sometimes. I don't always want to do what I'm supposed to do. Sometimes I just need a break, too.

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them? Eh... I'm not too happy about this. My wife and I have struggled in our marriage throughout my son's life, starting with the difficulty he had sleeping for most of his life. He sleeps well enough now, but he's three, and this is a fairly recent development. For the first three months, we were happy if he slept an hour straight. For the first year, we were happy if we got a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. This strained our marriage, and it has been downhill from there. I'd be willing to vent more if I could do so anonymously, but let's just say that I feel like I do way more than my share. I have very little time to do the things I care about. I only have this time right now because my mother in-law is watching my son today.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you? I did not expect that I would love my son as much as I do. He means everything to me. Part of this is because I spend almost all of my time on him, so of course he means everything to me--raising him is 75% of what I do, period. But he is my new partner in life (if you follow that song link, do ignore any sexual undertones--obviously I do not feel any of those aspects toward my son). He's an extension of myself.

    I wasn't 100% onboard in having a child at all, so this surprised me. I knew I would love him (and had nine months to develop feelings for him), but every day I love him more. This was unexpected.

    One unexpected aspect of this is that it gives me anxiety about death. The idea of parting with him, ever, fills me with dread. Combine this with my generic depression--suicide has been on my mind pretty much since I knew it existed as a concept (not that I've ever had a specific plan to go through with it)--and you can imagine that I have an unpleasant disposition sometimes.

    If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got something else, what did you do? I actually spent most of the time before we knew my son's sex expecting/hoping for a girl, but when we learned he was a boy, this was happy news. Mostly, though, I didn't care--I don't see much difference. There are very few things that one sex can do that the other cannot, and those things are mostly none of my business.

    As I realize now that you didn't specifically ask about sex/gender in that question... In general, I haven't had expectations or desires about what kind of person he should be. I feel that it's my job to instill certain basic values in him (I feel like it's time to wrap this post up, so I'm not going to get into that right now--it seems like that could go on for a long time), but as for who he is overall, that's up to him. I'll love him no matter what. I have no expectations other than that he should be a good person and that he should live a good life, whatever those things mean (ultimately I think those are up to him, too).

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like? This didn't go super well--at one point, I thought it was possible I would lose both my wife and my son--but obviously things turned out for the best. My wife still has some pain in her C-section incision, but I don't think this is abnormal. This was so long ago that I don't have much to say about it. I've had almost three years of poor sleep, and that destroyed a lot of my memory. My past is a hazy mystery. I hope I can repair this someday, but it hasn't come back, yet. Maybe when my son is sleeping in his own bed? He sleeps better than he used to, but he still wakes up in the middle of the night sometimes, and is still in bed with us.

    What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like? I'm afraid I don't remember this all that well. I remember that she looked amazing while pregnant, and very happy, but I don't have a strong impression of what this was like. I enjoyed the process; even the weirdness. I liked taking care of her.

    Is there anything you regret doing when parenting them? I suppose I always regret the time when I have to do chores and let him play on his own, but this is simply a necessity. We have to eat throughout the day and we have to keep the house maintained. This means he doesn't get as much of my attention as possible. But I'm always kind to him about it. I don't especially regret this, really. I think there are good lessons in this, especially since I try to include him in the daily work as much as I can.

    The biggest regret I have is not having him sooner, as I simply could've had more time with him if I'd had him when I was younger. But this is a ridiculous thing to think much about. I wasn't ready to have a child when I was younger. I was doing all sorts of other things with my life. I didn't know he existed, because he didn't exist yet, so how could I know how much I would've loved him? Plus, if I'd had a child earlier, it would've been a different child.

    Why did you have them? I mostly had him because my wife was ready to have a child and she convinced me. As a child, I expected I would one day have a child, but this feeling dwindled as I became an adult. I've always been depressed, so I didn't especially want to pass that on to anyone, and while I do have some good qualities, I didn't feel like I necessarily had genes worth passing on. But my wife convinced me. I was fairly ready. I was about 80% on-board, so it's not like I was against having a child. I simply didn't have strong feelings about it either way.

    Needless to say, as I'm sure you've gathered from this post, I am completely grateful that I did have him. Even though parenting is difficult and, simply, my life kind of sucks right now, my life is better for having him, and I'm sure it will just keep getting better.

    ...

    Thanks for asking these questions! I hope my answers were helpful and interesting to you or to someone, though actually, I've been meaning to write a letter to my son's future self (I like to do a couple of these every year as a way of providing myself to him in the future in case, ya know, I'm dead), and this will do for now. I'm happy to elaborate on anything or answer questions, though keep in mind that I don't check Tildes all that often. I'm more of a reddit user, though even there, I've been known to go a few days before getting to messages.

    13 votes
    1. Parliament
      Link Parent
      What was sleep training like for the three of you? Seems as though the sleep schedule is a definite stressor for you all.

      What was sleep training like for the three of you? Seems as though the sleep schedule is a definite stressor for you all.

      3 votes
    2. Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      A pretty large reason is to know why people have children and seem to like (sometimes really love) it. I've always found parenting a kinda weird thing to enjoy and a lot more effort than it's...

      I'm not sure what you're looking for in asking these questions, but this seems like a fun prompt, so here goes.

      A pretty large reason is to know why people have children and seem to like (sometimes really love) it. I've always found parenting a kinda weird thing to enjoy and a lot more effort than it's usually worth.

      "If the jobs that do a parents' work weren't the very lowest, least respected and valued of jobs today, I think people would be a lot less opposed to outsourcing far larger parts of parenthood until the late teens."

      -Me.

      So trying to figure out why you seem to want to do this and like it seems important.

      Eh... I'm not too happy about this. My wife and I have struggled in our marriage throughout my son's life, starting with the difficulty he had sleeping for most of his life. He sleeps well enough now, but he's three, and this is a fairly recent development. For the first three months, we were happy if he slept an hour straight. For the first year, we were happy if we got a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. This strained our marriage, and it has been downhill from there. I'd be willing to vent more if I could do so anonymously, but let's just say that I feel like I do way more than my share. I have very little time to do the things I care about. I only have this time right now because my mother in-law is watching my son today.

      I've had almost three years of poor sleep, and that destroyed a lot of my memory. My past is a hazy mystery. I hope I can repair this someday, but it hasn't come back, yet.

      From 9 until whenever I go to bed (some time between midnight and 1 or so), I have free time, though unfortunately I'm too tired to do much other than kill my brain in front of the TV.

      raising him is 75% of what I do, period

      That sucks :/

      I guess I'll be waiting to see your response to Parliament right above me.

      As a child, I expected I would one day have a child, but this feeling dwindled as I became an adult. I've always been depressed, so I didn't especially want to pass that on to anyone, and while I do have some good qualities, I didn't feel like I necessarily had genes worth passing on. But my wife convinced me. I was fairly ready. I was about 80% on-board, so it's not like I was against having a child. I simply didn't have strong feelings about it either way.

      Huh. What arguments do you think convinced you most to have (or not to avoid/reject according to your comment) a kid?

      Thanks for asking these questions! I hope my answers were helpful and interesting to you or to someone, though actually, I've been meaning to write a letter to my son's future self (I like to do a couple of these every year as a way of providing myself to him in the future in case, ya know, I'm dead), and this will do for now.

      That's interesting enough TBH. I guess you're welcome.

      2 votes
  2. [6]
    hamstergeddon
    Link
    I've got two 14 month old twins (boy/girl), which has been an interesting and exhausting ride! Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much? Given the age of...

    I've got two 14 month old twins (boy/girl), which has been an interesting and exhausting ride!

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?
    Given the age of my kids, no lol. They ain't touching the internet without direct supervision until they're in their teens though, that's for sure. I've got enough know-how to lock things down for them if I change my mind, but man I can't imagine having access to the current state of the internet at a young age. Internet is fucked up.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?
    Given their age, we completely control their diet. But we've been working on diversifying their diets now that we're transitioning to solid foods. We've also been making a serious effort to balance fruit and vegetable based foods. Someone told us that if we start with just fruity baby food, they'll get a sweet tooth and be less accepting of vegetables.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?
    I tried to teach my son to drive the lawnmower, but he was too distracted by his own hands.

    When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them?
    How can I compete with staring at his own hands?!

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?
    I work full time, so she takes care of them during the day and we split care in the evenings and weekends. I work from home though, so sometimes I'm able to help her change diapers, feed, etc. during slow periods at work.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?
    How emotional the kids made me. For a while I couldn't look at them for more than a few seconds without crying (good tears, I promise!). They just opened emotional flood gates I didn't know I had. I've also not had a solid 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for over a year and that's surprisingly managable.

    If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got something else, what did you do?
    Well I wasn't expecting twins, that's for sure. We had plenty of warning before they arrived, but it was still a shock. I wasn't sure how we were going to handle A child, let alone two of them. But the funny thing is that you just kinda rise to the occasion. You do it because you literally don't have a choice. Also helped that they're our first kid(s) so we had no expectations of what normal meant when it came to infants.

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?
    It was chaotic and early (As twins often are). We spent the day blissfully unaware of what was to come. We went to a flea market and walked around all day and on the drive back my wife said she felt weird and wanted to go to the hospital. I didn't expect much of it because we'd done that once or twice before that day. But yeah, by around 10pm they told us they were going to deliver the twins by c-section (again, common with twins).

    Why did you have them?
    We wanted kids and things felt stable at the time, so went for it. Took 2 years of trying, but when it happened it happened twice at the same time, so no complaints there :D

    12 votes
    1. mat
      Link Parent
      Same for me. I was putting my little boy to sleep last week, we were snuggled up all cosy in bed and I was stroking his hair and he reached up and sleepily started stroking mine and I just broke...

      How emotional the kids made me. For a while I couldn't look at them for more than a few seconds without crying (good tears, I promise!). They just opened emotional flood gates I didn't know I had.

      Same for me. I was putting my little boy to sleep last week, we were snuggled up all cosy in bed and I was stroking his hair and he reached up and sleepily started stroking mine and I just broke completely because it was so lovely. A minute later he was snoring and I was sobbing like a baby.

      7 votes
    2. vord
      Link Parent
      I've got a wonderful picture of my child in <extraordinarily outlandish costume> pushing a manual reel mower at ~2 years old, at their demand when watching me do it. Just gotta keep at it :)

      I tried to teach my son to drive the lawnmower, but he was too distracted by his own hands.

      I've got a wonderful picture of my child in <extraordinarily outlandish costume> pushing a manual reel mower at ~2 years old, at their demand when watching me do it. Just gotta keep at it :)

      5 votes
    3. [3]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Based. Offtopic but to be honest, having a lawn is surprising enough. That doesn't really exist where I live and most similar areas aren't really pretty. Care to elaborate on "plenty of warning"?...

      I tried to teach my son to drive the lawnmower, but he was too distracted by his own hands.

      How can I compete with staring at his own hands?!

      Based.

      Offtopic but to be honest, having a lawn is surprising enough. That doesn't really exist where I live and most similar areas aren't really pretty.

      Well I wasn't expecting twins, that's for sure. We had plenty of warning before they arrived, but it was still a shock.

      Care to elaborate on "plenty of warning"?

      I wasn't sure how we were going to handle A child, let alone two of them. But the funny thing is that you just kinda rise to the occasion. You do it because you literally don't have a choice.

      And that is why this whole thing doesn't really appeal to me and why I vehemently insist that won't change to anyone who asks :P

      We wanted kids and things felt stable at the time, so went for it.

      I'm assuming this refers to the world in general instead of your life?

      Took 2 years of trying, but when it happened it happened twice at the same time, so no complaints there :D

      Weird. I'd be hard-pressed to believe it's hard to impregnate someone but after some googling apparently it is actually kinda hard for anyone who wants to. I guess my sex ed was very much abstinence-only garbage :/

      1 vote
      1. mat
        Link Parent
        So, not to imply your decision isn't valid and I'm certainly not trying to convince you do anything you don't want to (if anything I want more people to not have kids, there's enough people around...
        • Exemplary

        And that is why this whole thing doesn't really appeal to me and why I vehemently insist that won't change to anyone who asks :P

        So, not to imply your decision isn't valid and I'm certainly not trying to convince you do anything you don't want to (if anything I want more people to not have kids, there's enough people around already!), because that's none of my business. But this is my perspective on this.

        It's like I used to live in this house in my head. There were parts of it I liked: the video games room; the workshop for making stuff; the kitchen for cooking and so on. Then there were other parts, the dark basement of money worries; the dusty loft where the spiders of "I can't cope" had their insidious webs; the terror of skittering, scratching noises that sometimes came from behind the walls in the deep of the night.

        I knew my mental home well and I was happy with it. The spiders and the darkness and the place behind the walls were under control. I was worried that the arrival of the kid would upset the carefully honed balance of my living space, but what happened was the boy, the tiniest person I've ever met, arrived and all of a sudden my head isn't this little house, it's an entire freakin' world, made of him. It's not that my concerns stopped existing, it's just that relative to everything else they vanished into near-oblivion.

        I'd be lying if I said I haven't sat in my car and cried because I've felt completely overwhelmed by everything. I suspect every parent would be lying if they said that. But this world I inhabit now is such a vast, amazing, demanding and most of all rewarding place it's hard for that feeling to last very long. I've found reserves I never thought I had - reserves of energy, of tolerance and most of all, of love. Everything I thought this was going to be was wrong, every worry I had has turned out to be as irrelevant as a spiderweb to an ocean. I still have worries, of course, but they're entirely different to the things I thought I'd worry about.

        I'm sure this isn't how things are for everyone, but that's how I feel.

        Weird. I'd be hard-pressed to believe it's hard to impregnate someone

        One in four pregnancies fail, and that's just the ones which even manage to get started. I can't remember the stats on how often unprotected sex leads to impregnation but it's not all that high. Took us nearly a year (it was a very tiring, but mostly very fun, year) and two miscarriages along the way.

        Related to that, I feel like it's important that society should talk about miscarriage as a normal thing, because it is. Know more than a few people with kids? You probably know someone who has had a miscarriage. It's not nice - there is a fairly harrowing story on the topic that I will relate if asked - but it does happen. A lot.

        5 votes
      2. hamstergeddon
        Link Parent
        We knew pretty early in the pregnancy that it was twins, so we had plenty of time to buy multiple of things we needed to, mentally prepare, that sort of thing. But finding out was still a huge...

        Care to elaborate on "plenty of warning"?

        We knew pretty early in the pregnancy that it was twins, so we had plenty of time to buy multiple of things we needed to, mentally prepare, that sort of thing. But finding out was still a huge surprise.

        And that is why this whole thing doesn't really appeal to me and why I vehemently insist that won't change to anyone who asks :P

        Yeah I totally get that and am not a huge fan of the "oooh you'll change your mind!" crowd. Sure, some folks do change their minds, but there's this obnoxious expectation that everyone should procreate. Something that life-changing isn't something people should peer preasure others about doing.

        I'm assuming this refers to the world in general instead of your life?

        Oh, no. the world in general was and is a complete shit show :D But I'd settled into my career, we'd recently bought a home and things felt stable enough in our day-to-day life that we could support having a kid. Turns out we can support two of them as well!

        Weird. I'd be hard-pressed to believe it's hard to impregnate someone but after some googling apparently it is actually kinda hard for anyone who wants to. I guess my sex ed was very much abstinence-only garbage :/

        Oh man yeah it can be really freaking hard for some people. And it can take a huge toll on them when their bodies won't/can't do something they're "supposed" to do like that. My wife was in a bunch of online support groups, taking fertility meds (which, uh...increase you chances of having twins!), and heavily struggled with depression every time we got a negative pregnancy test.

        2 votes
  3. [2]
    mat
    Link
    My kid is two next week. He is an agent of utter chaos, ignorer of gravity and giver of the world's most adorable cuddles. If he's awake, there's around a 50% chance I'm with him. Apart from the 3...

    My kid is two next week. He is an agent of utter chaos, ignorer of gravity and giver of the world's most adorable cuddles.

    How much time do you spend on them?

    If he's awake, there's around a 50% chance I'm with him. Apart from the 3 days a week when he's in nursery, but that's relatively recent. Barring a midday nap, he's usually awake between 5am-7pm and a couple of times during the night as well.

    How do you parent them?

    There's a lot of wiping. A lot of wiping. Both ends. And the middle. Otherwise, with love and smiles and encouragement and sometimes a stern look or tone to keep him out of danger. There's a great deal of singing, dancing, bouncing and laughing.

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?

    He's a bit young for the internet. He does play with a few apps on the tablet (Hat Monkey is amazing) but tbh he gets bored fairly fast. When he's older the internet will first be whitelisted and later will be open access but with an understanding that his access is logged. When he's older again, no more logs. I don't know what those ages are or even if that's how it'll work but some care is needed. Just as I wouldn't let him wander around physical space without some monitoring, same for the internet.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?

    He doesn't really need encouraging. He's pretty good at eating what he's given. He's not often given chocolate or sweets, but for healthy foods he has free rein of the fridge and cupboards. Currently he's on a blueberry trip which is (a) expensive and (b) everything comes out blue. But fruit is good for him so he can have as much as he wants. Most of his food is cooked fresh, but that's just how we eat anyway.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?

    Again, he doesn't need encouraging. He wants to help. The dude had a meltdown just this afternoon when after half an hour of hoover time I said he'd done enough vacuuming and it was time to put the vacuum away. His favourite toy is a broom. But he loves cooking with me, helping us with laundry, everything.

    Kids want to help, you just need to let them. There's a balance to be struck between letting them do their thing (which will be fairly rubbish because toddlers aren't very well co-ordinated) and guiding them to do it better. Too much guidance and it stops being fun, not enough and they never learn to be better.

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?

    We both do as much as we can. We both work part time so that helps. I'm better at being awake at night so I generally do night duty, she's better at waking up in the morning so she usually handles mornings. She takes him swimming, I cook with him; etc.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?

    Three things. I have never, ever, ever experienced exhaustion like the first few months. Not even coming down from a 3-day stimulants binge. Tiredness to the point of physical agony.

    Second thing was driving home from the hospital for the first time, kid in the back. I had a very quiet realisation that, were there to be an accident, I would put my body between him and danger even if it meant losing my life. It wasn't a big, grand "I'll die for youuuuu" thing, it was just a thing which all of a sudden I knew I'd do, without fear. Obviously I was swimming in oxytocin at the time but it's still true. I never understood how much my own parents loved me until that day. I'm not a "professional parent" by any means but I am forever changed in a very fundamental way.

    Finally I would have never thought there was an acceptable amount of someone else's urine to have on me before I change my clothes but it turns out there is, and it's more than none.

    If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got something else, what did you do?

    We both sort of assumed we'd be having a girl. All our friends have little girls, not that that has any bearing on our chances. I'd always known what my daughter would be called (Alice, after Wonderland). Then the scan showed what the sonographer assured us was a surprisingly impressive chopper for a 13 week old and we both felt a bit sad for a couple of weeks. Not as sad as the miscarriages my wife had had previously (one in four pregnancies fail), but still a bit sad. When he was born that instantly evaporated though. I utterly adore that little man and wouldn't change him for the world. Some of my friends are just getting into having teenage daughters and I am NOT envious of them at all.

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?

    Yeah it was pretty easy. I had a cup of tea, put some music on, read my book - that kind of thing. The wife was fairly loud but I'm told it actually went fairly smoothly. It was a short labour, no fancy drugs because everything came on too fast for her to get into the birthing suite, so it all happened on the pre-natal ward. "We're going to do the show right here!" (which then caused a lockdown in the hospital because biosecurity or something)

    He came out blue, with the cord around his neck. I followed aeroplane protocol (if you're worried on a plane, look at the staff - if they look calm everything is fine) and looked at the midwife who was cool as ice, didn't have a hair out of place. Quick untangle, bit of a shake, baby is go.

    There's this whole thing at ante-natal class where they make you do a birthing plan. We didn't even manage step one. But it's OK. Everyone is alive and healthy and that's all that matters. That last sentence is so important. It's a regular saying in our house after a trying day - "Everyone alive? Yup? All is well then"

    What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like?

    She got really big. As did I. Lots of snacks around. It wasn't some sort of magical earth mother experience. It was a very hot summer so it was sweaty and uncomfortable and tiring and I know more now about my beloved's bodily functions than I really wanted to but once you've seen her squeeze a human out of a hole far too small for a person to get out of, everything else is nothing, really.

    All things considered I'd recommend it. Baby ruined my life, but in a nice way. He's much better at two than he was at one. He's interactive now. Soon he'll be talking and that's going to be amazing.

    8 votes
    1. Erik
      Link Parent
      Yeah, this is a big thing a lot of non-parents or even parents of older generations don't seem to understand when I talk to them. Especially if they grew up in the city or suburbs. I was raised on...

      Again, he doesn't need encouraging. He wants to help. The dude had a meltdown just this afternoon when after half an hour of hoover time I said he'd done enough vacuuming and it was time to put the vacuum away. His favourite toy is a broom. But he loves cooking with me, helping us with laundry, everything.

      Kids want to help, you just need to let them. There's a balance to be struck between letting them do their thing (which will be fairly rubbish because toddlers aren't very well co-ordinated) and guiding them to do it better. Too much guidance and it stops being fun, not enough and they never learn to be better.

      Yeah, this is a big thing a lot of non-parents or even parents of older generations don't seem to understand when I talk to them. Especially if they grew up in the city or suburbs. I was raised on a farm, so you did chores the moment you could walk. But so many people assume that kids hate chores only because when they were toddlers, they were taught to hate chores by their parents denying them a role in it.

      6 votes
  4. [2]
    Erik
    Link
    Almost every moment they are awake. Uh, that is a gigantic question. I do everything from monitor the media he wants to watch to making sure he washes his hands after using the bathroom. I guess...

    How much time do you spend on them?

    Almost every moment they are awake.

    How do you parent them?

    Uh, that is a gigantic question. I do everything from monitor the media he wants to watch to making sure he washes his hands after using the bathroom. I guess to give you something concrete: I choose what battles are worth fighting. For example, at dinner he often just nibbles on a little bit of food and is done. Rather than force him to sit there and wait for me and my wife, I've taught him that he can ask to be excused and he can just go and do other things. I think both my parents and her parents find that to be pretty crazy, dinner is a time you must sit at the table. But it's just not worth the fight for what? Forcing a now angry child to sit by me?

    The other big one is always backing up rules and statements when I do pick those fights. If he learns I will cave after certain things, he'll just seek to push the buttons that make me cave and learn that is the lesson rather than the lesson I am trying to teach him in a given situation.

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?

    We follow the APA guidelines on screen time. So he only gets about an hour of screen time a day (outside of school). He usually wants to use this on watching a film or television show instead of the internet. When he does use the internet, he uses the walled garden of Amazon's FreeTime app on his tablet. This does allow him to search and curate his own content a bit, but inside a bunch of age appropriate stuff.

    We still monitor this, for example about a year and a half ago he discovered "Blippi," an odd POV series of videos where the camera is the child and they "interact" with an adult man dressed like a child and he pretends to be their friend and they play on playgrounds together or go look at trucks and what not. It kind of creeped us out to be honest and I blocked him from the walled garden one day without even telling him. Eventually we'll probably have to talk about internet content more, but luckily for now he doesn't even really care about it.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?

    Yes. We do the "eat your rainbow" type motivation that his school uses. So, if he's just had some grains (his favorite type of food by far), he needs to balance up the follow-up with something else of a different color. We explain that the red grapes or the orange carrots are a different type of food, in addition to the different color and he's been able to go from talking about colors to talking about food groups pretty well.

    We also call treats "sometimes foods" and he is limited to one or two a day on that. He loves donuts (so much so that the local 7-11 workers call him donut), but he can never have more than one a day. .

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?

    Yes. Most toddlers love to help. When you tell them they are helping, they actually get super pumped. But they suck at it. The biggest thing is to let them help and let them suck at it. If you just do all the chores and tell them to play or something because they're too slow, they learn that chores are an other person thing and they are just supposed to play. He helps with laundry, dishes, cooking, sweeping, tidying (for the robot vacuum) and more.

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?

    I am the primary care giver for my child and take the bulk of the parenting time. I work freelance, so I am flexible. My wife works a typical 9-5 job, and so she cannot do anything much during the day. I put my career on hold for a bit during the baby years and am now crawling back into doing more and more as he gets more independent. I am often the only adult man at the activities I take him to, which I guess will do something odd to him developmentally, we'll see.

    During times where I have to fly for a couple of days/weeks, or work from home, I'll try my best to work at night, on weekends, etc. Covid has really killed this, so I have really gone back to the baby dynamic of being the primary care-giver. Off chance that I will be gone when my wife has to work, we will fly in my parents or ask her parents to drive up (eight hours away) or have my sister-in-law, who is a teacher, come over summer break.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?

    How much it sucks. I was very interested when I started learning from books about parenting how much happiness dips for people shortly after a child is born and how it take years before the average parent even returns to the average happiness of a child free comparable person. Parents do eventually get to a higher average happiness than non-parents, but it takes about a decade according to a few studies.

    This may just speak to how easy my life has been to this point. Even though I grew up poor (on food stamps, for example), I would say the hardest part of my life has been the first three months after my child was born. I've never been more unhappy. I've never felt more beaten down and used up. It sucks. Anyone that tells you otherwise is more convincing themselves than you.

    If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got something else, what did you do?

    He's still young, so it's tough to say what he'll be like. But I will say, I can already tell he's not an athletic child. I grew up playing sports, I was on a traveling soccer team, varsity football player on a team that won the state championship, etc. It's weird how much being physically active is a chore for him. It's easier to get him to pick up his room than do any sort of exercise with me. I was really hoping he'd be my lifting partner (I still go the gym four times a week during non-covid times) when he got older but I don't think that will happen. He doesn't even like walking more than a few blocks before I have to pick him up. He doesn't like watching sports with me either, even when I tell him it's bonus screen time, he'd rather not watch TV (which normally he begs for) than watch soccer or football with me.

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?

    Pretty picture perfect. My wife started going into labor around midnight and she just slept through the first six hours or so. Around that time she work me up and said the contractions were getting closer. So, I called the hospital, timed the contractions and they said it was a good time to bring her in. We got in and a couple hours later the child was born.

    My wife was an absolute champion. She did the whole thing without any pain killers outside of laughing gas. I definitely cried a bit once she did the final push, just seeing how much pain and effort she was putting in. My brother and his wife got there super early and were in the room shortly after the birth and that was very comforting. We got a release about 24 hours later, as my wife just wanted to get home.

    What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like?

    Fine. Did make me feel a little bit more protective of her; we have a very egalitarian, partnership quality to our relationship that kind of got upended a bit as I felt the need to care for her and be more of a traditional "man" of the house. I'll be honest, my sexual attraction went down, but I of course never told her that!

    Is there anything you regret doing when parenting them?

    Oh, a billion small things that pop into my head as I'm trying to fall asleep. Big thing is probably not knowing a second language (outside of some conversational Polish I learned from my extended family) to pass on to him. On one hand, he has such a better socio-economic situation than I did growing up, so I don't feel bad about not being able to buy him a certain type of childhood. On the other hand, we live in a very wealthy place and are on the low end of the local scale. So I see some kids getting a big leg up that we can't provide.

    Why did you have them?

    My wife wanted to. My whole extended family wanted us to. I had hit one of my life long goals (directing a feature length film that got worldwide distribution), so I felt comfortable taking a step back from my career. I do feel the biological need to reproduce; the argument that I am the successful result of over a hundred thousand years of successful reproduction makes me want to not be the end of that chain.

    7 votes
    1. aphoenix
      Link Parent
      So much interesting stuff in here, but this one stuck out to me: I can't agree with this more than I do. Whenever I do a project and my kids want to help, I encourage them and thank them for it....

      So much interesting stuff in here, but this one stuck out to me:

      Yes. Most toddlers love to help. When you tell them they are helping, they actually get super pumped. But they suck at it. The biggest thing is to let them help and let them suck at it. If you just do all the chores and tell them to play or something because they're too slow, they learn that chores are an other person thing and they are just supposed to play. He helps with laundry, dishes, cooking, sweeping, tidying (for the robot vacuum) and more.

      I can't agree with this more than I do. Whenever I do a project and my kids want to help, I encourage them and thank them for it. It doesn't actually take them that long before they are actually super helpful. For example:

      • my oldest daughter bakes stuff all the time, and it's delicious. Her interest started with baking cakes, bread, and other stuff with me
      • my younger daughter has a pretty good understanding of how to change the brakes and tires on a car, and how to do an oil change. Every time I do car maintenance she helps.
      • my son (who is just 5) helped me dig and install a french drain last summer. He was very helpful even though he was only 4 at the time. He could dig, he helped transport stones, he helped lay the pipes, he helped us pour the concrete in a sidewalk, and he still helps to this day with grass maintenance - seeding, weeding, and caring for the grass around the french drain.

      It's so important to give them some responsibilities, and so rewarding to see them blossom into actually doing things.

      6 votes
  5. [7]
    Grendel
    Link
    My wife and I are foster parents, which means we care for children that the government has deemed are not safe in their own homes > If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even...

    Where did you (uhh) find them?

    My wife and I are foster parents, which means we care for children that the government has deemed are not safe in their own homes

    > If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)How many children were there to choose from?What led you to choose the child you picked in specific instead of someone else? (Dear God, is this an ethical question to ask?)
    

    So when you foster or adopt, your given this sheet that has this long list of things and you have to mark your willingness to take on kids with those issues. It asks about medical issues, like kids with Diabetes, Cancer, or HIV. It asks about what race of children your willing to take in. It also asks about special needs, like taking in kids who start fires or harm other children.

    Once you become a foster parent you're number goes on this list, and anytime kid(s) get removed from their home the social worker goes down the lists making calls until someone says yes. So basically you get a call and they give you minimal information (mostly just age, gender, how many are in the sibling group, and brief details on why they were removed). If you say no, they keep going down the phone list. If you say yes, you go pick up the kids. They could be with you for 6 weeks, 6 months or even years. And they could go home at any time.

    How do you parent them?
    With a lot of special training. Our two boys, ages 5 and 6 have special needs due to their behaviors. Because of this my wife and I had to take extra training so we could take care of them.

    > Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?
    

    They do not have any tablets or way to access the internet right now.

    > Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?
    

    We mostly just focus on portion control and understanding when they've had enough. They have food security issues so we have to be very careful how we approach this.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?
    Absolutely. They each have a couple of "Jobs" that they do. Simple things like feeding our dog or clearing the table after dinner. They enjoy the responsibility and do a god job.

    > When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them?
    

    Again, with their behavioral issues we have to handle conflict carefully. At the moment, they really enjoy their chores so we haven't had issues with that specifically yet.

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?
    Because of their issues and past trauma we have to have eyes on them every second that they are home with us (we've already had one attempt at setting the house on fire). It's completely exhausting. We take turns as best as we can.

    Feel free to comment or PM me if you have any other questions!

    7 votes
    1. [6]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Your formatting is wacky > If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)How many children were there to choose from?What led...
      Your formatting is wacky
          > If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)How many children were there to choose from?What led you to choose the child you picked in specific instead of someone else? (Dear God, is this an ethical question to ask?)
      
      

      (Markdown input)

      > If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)How many children were there to choose from?What led you to choose the child you picked in specific instead of someone else? (Dear God, is this an ethical question to ask?)
      

      (Markdown result)

      4 spaces before text = preformatted text

      > If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)How many children were there to choose from?What led you to choose the child you picked in specific instead of someone else? (Dear God, is this an ethical question to ask?)
      
      

      (Proper Markdown)

      If it was an orphanage, what was it like there? (Can you even find children elsewhere if they don't have parents?)How many children were there to choose from?What led you to choose the child you picked in specific instead of someone else? (Dear God, is this an ethical question to ask?)

      (Result)


      
      > How do you parent them?
      With a lot of special training. Our two boys,
      ages 5 and 6 have special needs due to their
      behaviors. Because of this my wife and I had
      to take extra training so we could take care of
      them.
      
      

      (Markdown input)

      How do you parent them?
      With a lot of special training. Our two boys, ages 5 and 6 have special needs due to their behaviors. Because of this my wife and I had
      to take extra training so we could take care of them.

      (Markdown result)

      The text below your greentext arrow 'larger than' sign isn't separated from the quote block.

      
      > How do you parent them?
      
      With a lot of special training. Our two boys, ages 5 and 6 have special needs due to their behaviors. Because of this my wife and I had to take extra training so we could take care of them.
      
      

      (Proper Markdown)

      How do you parent them?

      With a lot of special training. Our two boys, ages 5 and 6 have special needs due to their behaviors. Because of this my wife and I had to take extra training so we could take care of them.

      (Result)

      My wife and I are foster parents, which means we care for children that the government has deemed are not safe in their own homes.

      Huh. I've used the term 'orphanage' and you've used the term 'foster parents' and 'foster homes' and have noted that these kids weren't homeless before being foster(-ed.)

      So are the biological parents of (or at least the people responsible for taking care of) these kids known or know-able? (Not that knowing them would be necessarily or likely even slightly good of an idea.)

      Once you become a foster parent you're number goes on this list, and anytime kid(s) get removed from their home the social worker goes down the lists making calls until someone says yes. So basically you get a call and they give you minimal information (mostly just age, gender, how many are in the sibling group, and brief details on why they were removed). If you say no, they keep going down the phone list. If you say yes, you go pick up the kids. They could be with you for 6 weeks, 6 months or even years. And they could go home at any time.

      Okay, I need some clarification:

      • How does one become a 'foster parent' exactly?

      • What do you mean by 'sibling group'? Are these biological siblings or just grouped together?

      You've talked about what it's like to pick up a kid (is it necessarily a kid? Nothing stops someone from staying there until 18 (or more?) right?) from these homes but what is it like for them in those homes before that happens?

      Given the phone call thing I'm assuming you can just stay in your home until you find a child you like and only then go to the foster home?

      my wife and I had to take extra training so we could take care of them.

      What training and from who/where exactly?

      Because of their issues and past trauma we have to have eyes on them every second that they are home with us (we've already had one attempt at setting the house on fire). It's completely exhausting. We take turns as best as we can.

      Based anarchist children? /s

      More seriously, what trauma exactly? Were you told that?

      1. [5]
        Grendel
        Link Parent
        Sorry about the formatting, I'm still getting the hang of markdown. Correct. The kids were in a home with but the home was unsafe due to abuse. Someone reported the abuse and the state stepped in...

        Sorry about the formatting, I'm still getting the hang of markdown.

        Huh. I've used the term 'orphanage' and you've used the term 'foster parents' and 'foster homes' and have noted that these kids weren't homeless before being foster(-ed.)

        Correct. The kids were in a home with but the home was unsafe due to abuse. Someone reported the abuse and the state stepped in and took them out of that home and placed them in a foster home. A foster home is just a regular house that has people who are licensed foster parents. The license is provided by the state and there is a lengthy processes of training to get one.

        So are the biological parents of (or at least the people responsible for taking care of) these kids known or know-able? (Not that knowing them would be necessarily or likely even slightly good of an idea.)

        Yes, the bio parents are known. In fact, when children first go into foster care the have to do weekly visits with the bio parent. during this phase reunification is the goal. The state gives the parents a list of goals and the parent has to get those things done to get their kids back. If they can't get them done after a certain amount of time (typically 15-24 months), then the goal changes to adoption. The Bio parents rights are terminated (visits stop) and an attempt is made for the kids to be adopted. The foster parents are given the option to adopt first, if they choose not to they will try to find someone else to adopt them.

        How does one become a 'foster parent' exactly?
        What do you mean by 'sibling group'? Are these biological siblings or just grouped together?

        There is a long class offered by the state, then a Home Study, which involves an inspection of your home and a very lengthy and detailed interview.
        Yes, by sibling group I mean a group of kids that are biologically related. They try to keep siblings together, but it's often hard to find someone to take in 4 or 5 kids at once, so they split them into smaller groups by age.

        You've talked about what it's like to pick up a kid (is it necessarily a kid? Nothing stops someone from staying there until 18 (or more?) right?) from these homes but what is it like for them in those homes before that happens?

        Correct, they could range from birth to 18. We definitely do not pick them up from their homes. By the time we come into the picture police have already been involved and the children have already been forcibly removed from the home. We have to pick them up from the local Children's Division (state entity in charge of this stuff) office.
        Concerning their home life before they were removed: It's always horrible. It takes a lot for the state to decide that kids need to be removed. I'd rather not get into what my kids went through with any detail, but most kids have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse. Sometimes it's neglect, like not having food, water, or a safe place to stay.

        What training and from who/where exactly?

        So some kids have extra needs. This could be physical, like having an illness, or mental like a cognitive defect. It could also be behavioral. Our boys have severe PTSD from their trauma, and a couple of other behavior diagnoses as well.

        More seriously, what trauma exactly? Were you told that?

        Yes, we were told everything that they (the state) knew. Our boys have told us a lot more, things not even the case worker knew about. Without getting into too much detail our boys were both physically and sexually abused in extremely horrific ways.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          Huh. So it's not comparatively few large institutions housing lots of children like schools but a bunch of these housing a few kids? That's not what I'd have in mind, although I'd imagine it's not...

          A foster home is just a regular house that has people who are licensed foster parents.

          Huh. So it's not comparatively few large institutions housing lots of children like schools but a bunch of these housing a few kids? That's not what I'd have in mind, although I'd imagine it's not like that everywhere.

          Do these foster parents (you?) live in those foster homes and take care of these kids 24/7 or is it more like a job they have?

          We definitely do not pick them up from their homes. By the time we come into the picture police have already been involved and the children have already been forcibly removed from the home.

          Concerning their home life before they were removed: It's always horrible. It takes a lot for the state to decide that kids need to be removed.

          By their homes I meant their foster homes, not their first homes. What is it like there?

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            Grendel
            Link Parent
            Sorry that I wasn't being clear. My home is the foster home. Once they are taken from their first homes, they go home with a foster family, like my wife and I. They live at our house with us as...

            Sorry that I wasn't being clear. My home is the foster home. Once they are taken from their first homes, they go home with a foster family, like my wife and I. They live at our house with us as our kids. My wife and I both work outside of the home. Things here are mostly like an average family. Our kids go to school, do chores and have a bedtime. Honestly most people who don't know us think we are just another average family.

            Our boys are past the reunification phase, so we are in the process of adopting right now.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              Kuromantis
              Link Parent
              Oh okay, so a "foster home" isn't really a dedicated institution like a school (again), a foster home is just a regular house that has people who are licensed foster parents. (As you said in your...

              Oh okay, so a "foster home" isn't really a dedicated institution like a school (again), a foster home is just a regular house that has people who are licensed foster parents. (As you said in your previous comment, I actually copy-pasted it into mine.)

              So if foster homes aren't an intermediary institution for kids 'not safe in their homes' but not adopted into a family, where are they taken once they're 'deemed not safe in their homes' and 'forcibly removed' from them? The Children's Division office you've talked about?

              1 vote
              1. Grendel
                Link Parent
                Actually it's both. My wife and I have had foster kids in the past that lived with us for a time then got to go home. It's an intermediary, but can become permanent if bio parents can't get the...

                So if foster homes aren't an intermediary institution for kids 'not safe in their homes' but not adopted into a family, where are they taken once they're 'deemed not safe in their homes' and 'forcibly removed' from them? The Children's Division office you've talked about?

                Actually it's both. My wife and I have had foster kids in the past that lived with us for a time then got to go home. It's an intermediary, but can become permanent if bio parents can't get the crap together. It was designed to replace orphanages altogether.

                Some foster parents choose to never adopt, and they have different kids pass through there homes forever. Once a child is placed with you they could be there for weeks, months, or even years.

                2 votes
  6. [2]
    archevel
    Link
    I have 3 kids last time I checked. This part is hard to say. If I cook dinner so that they have something to eat, or if I wash their clothes am I spending time on them? In any case I hope it is...

    I have 3 kids last time I checked.

    How much time do you spend on them?

    This part is hard to say. If I cook dinner so that they have something to eat, or if I wash their clothes am I spending time on them? In any case I hope it is enough to not cause any lasting damage and also not too much either :) This probably fluctuates quite a bit based on mine and their needs.

    How do you parent them?

    Not in any structured way. We make it up as we go.

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?

    Somewhat. It gets harder the older they get. We do have some rules w.r.t. the amount of time they get to spend on their computers/TV. 2hrs on weekdays 3hrs on weekends. They can get an additional hour each time they run back and forth to school.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?

    Not super actively. We eat mostly vegetarian food our selves so that is what they get most days too.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?

    Sure. Somewhat at least. We add chores as they grow. Classic fun chores like clean their room, take out trash and empty the dishwasher.

    When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them?

    They usually do what we tell them in my experience. Maybe that will change at some point...

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?

    We have a quite robust parental leave system here. We've shared that between us. Starting out with each kid my partner was the primary caregiver for ~9 month of maternity leave. Then I've taken over and stayed home with them until they are about 18 months at which point they've started at daycare. Our middle kid we took two weeks of work then switched to two weeks of parental leave and then switched back again. That was not a good way. Too little time to disconnect from work and too much time to be efficient whenat work (YMMV). Looking at just the days given as payed parental leave I believe I've used the majority of those days, but my partner has stayed home with the kids more all in all due to being a stay at home mom while we were abroad for about a year.

    Nowadays when the kids are a bit older we go more on a needs basis. If my partner has a lot of stuff to do at work I take a larger part of the work and vice versa. It is probably not equal shares, but as long as it doesn't tilt too much either way we are fine.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?

    I wasn't expecting the amount of change a baby brings to your life. For both good and bad. Lots of joy, but also lots more weight on one's shoulders. Absolutely no regrets though! Can recommend it.

    If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got something else, what did you do?

    I wanted a kitten :( still waiting ;)

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?

    First one was the most dramatic. Took a long time and ended in a caesarian section. Last one was the scariest as she didn't breathe immediately when she came out. But then as they rushed away with her she started screaming and that was when I felt the greatest feeling of relief in my life (still tear up a bit thinking about it).

    What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like?

    Mostly fun :) It was nice to lie next to the big belly and feel the kicks etc. But too be honest this was probably primarily with our first one.

    Is there anything you regret doing when parenting them?

    Definitely. Mostly yelling at them when it clearly doesn't help.

    Why did you have them?

    Because we wanted kids. So... Purely egoistical reasons.

    5 votes
    1. Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      "Last time I checked?" I guess I'm not gonna take that too literally. So, how old are they? You didn't say that anywhere. I didn't get the joke. What do you mean by this? How long exactly? (Please...

      I have 3 kids last time I checked.

      "Last time I checked?" I guess I'm not gonna take that too literally.

      So, how old are they? You didn't say that anywhere.

      I wanted a kitten :( still waiting ;)

      I didn't get the joke. What do you mean by this?

      First one was the most dramatic. Took a long time and ended in a caesarian section. Last one was the scariest as she didn't breathe immediately when she came out. But then as they rushed away with her she started screaming and that was when I felt the greatest feeling of relief in my life (still tear up a bit thinking about it).

      How long exactly? (Please include an 'average' time for reference.) As for the last one I can definitely empathize with your emotions.

      Because we wanted kids. So... Purely egoistical reasons.

      Parenting seems far like too much effort to be done for "purely egotistical reasons", especially the bits that actually give you an ego boost or return on investment.

  7. [10]
    aphoenix
    (edited )
    Link
    It is easily the best thing I've ever done. It's fun, challenging, rewarding, interesting, and fills your life with love when done right. I feel like I should explain. I am a married, hetero man....

    If you're a parent, what is it like?

    It is easily the best thing I've ever done. It's fun, challenging, rewarding, interesting, and fills your life with love when done right.

    @aphoenix not hetero and a parent didn't want to go through fkin birthing people

    I feel like I should explain. I am a married, hetero man. I have 3 kids. One of them (the oldest one) is not my biological child, but is the biological child of my wife. We started dating when my wife was about a month pregnant. I was there when she was born - I was the first thing in the world she saw. I was the first person after her mother to feed her; I was the first person to change her diaper. I have adopted my oldest daughter; she is the light of my life, and while I'm not really one to think of fate or destiny at all, she is my reason to be; I'm here so that she can have a dad that loves her and supports her unconditionally.

    I have two girls (14 and 9) and a boy (5).

    How much time do you spend on them?

    As much time as I possibly can while maintaining my professional life and my relationships with friends and family. Realistically, we spend evenings together as a family about 4 nights out of 5 during the week (usually all 5 with Covid). During "normal" times, me or my wife or my mother spend a significant amount of time taking the kids to various lessons. They have taken or played the following: piano, singing, guitar, horseback riding, karate, ballet, tap dancing, soccer, rugby, gymnastics, parkour, drama, musical theatre, and probably more things that I'm forgetting. That's a lot of driving.

    Edit: I forgot to add this - we spend most of the weekend together doing family things. Occasionally a member of the family is off doing other stuff, but generally most of the time, we are together as a family on the weekend.

    We're also pretty into board games as a family. We have 2 - 3 relatively in depth games per week - a current favourite is Catan. We have "movie and pizza night" on Fridays, and have been slowly watching and rewatching every Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movie that exists.

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?

    I watch everything they do on the internet; if they look at it, I know about it. We limit their screen time; pre-Covid it was to 30 minutes per day. Now all bets are off, but we don't allow screens before 11am or after 2pm, and we have lunch hour in there somewhere.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?

    Yes, we try to ensure that they get sufficient food. Two of my kids don't like to eat much - my oldest daughter is actually seeing a dietician and therapist about it. The middle child is more like me, and likes to have seconds; we're encouraging her to have multiple courses of vegetables, and to recognize good food choices and bad food choices.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?

    We have a chore list, and everyone has chores that they are responsible for. They change over time; they include things like doing dishes, making school lunches, laundry, various yard chores (put leaves or grass in yard waste bags mostly). Each child is expected to take care of their own room as well, and keep it moderately tidy.

    When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them?

    They're all very cooperative. We don't usually have to convince them; there's no particular downside to them not doing it or forgetting, other than a gentle reminder.

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?

    We aim for a 50% split. Some weeks I do more; some weeks my wife does more. It all comes out in the long run.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?

    Lots of people give advice on things, but I never got advice on how to deal with a child who is on the cusp of having an eating disorder. It has been the most challenging thing we have faced as parents.

    If you had a particular preference/expectation for what you wanted/expected your child to be and got

    Not applicable. For my first two kids I had no preference. When we were expecting our third child, I had a slight preference for having a son mainly because of a family middle name that has been handed down for 4 (now 5) generations.

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?

    Each birth was fairly easy for my wife. We used midwives each time as they're statistically safer than OB/GYN. For the first two births, we were in hospital; for the third birth we stayed at home. For each birth I got to be relatively involved - for the second and third, I got to do hands on delivery stuff; I received the baby and moved the baby to my wife's chest when they were out. It was a very interesting and wonderful thing. Many people describe it as beautiful; I would say that it's not particularly beautiful, but it is certainly wonderful. I cut the umbilical cord for all of the kids. My wife opted for natural births all three times, mostly because we noted the recovery period when not using drugs was statistically much shorter. We're big on statistics.

    My wife's opinion: "it hurt, a lot, but it wasn't so bad that I didn't do it again. And again."

    What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like?

    It's amazing to see a person with another person inside of them. My wife is a tiny lady, and it was interesting to see her belly get quite big, and wonderful to feel a baby move around inside. I think I have a weird feeling about pregnancy with my wife specifically because she was pregnant as we started dating as well, so it feels like how we were when we were just falling in love.

    Is there anything you regret doing when parenting them?

    Oh my god, so many things. They're mostly around bad choices that I made as a parent (or husband), and they mostly relate to how I showed anger. I think that the behaviour that we display is the behaviour that the kids think is normal, so even if I didn't get angry at my kids, if I got angry while they were nearby, it's a bad parental decision. I've also had lapses in judgment that were negative; not allowing one thing that it turns it out should have been allowed, or allowing a different thing that ended up being a bad idea. I think it's important to be introspective and retrospective on our actions so that we can stop making the same mistakes.

    Why did you have them?

    First one wasn't really my call, but we had the rest because the first one was so much fun! Seriously, being a parent is the best thing I've ever done, and I have done a lot of stuff in my life.

    5 votes
    1. [9]
      Kuromantis
      Link Parent
      Oh, okay. I think I mixed you up with @Algernon_Asimov and you became a gay parent in you mid 40s who had adopted 3 children. Good for you. A few questions though: If you didn't have your oldest...

      i.e you're @aphoenix not hetero and a parent didn't want to go through fkin birthing people

      I feel like I should explain. I am a married, hetero man. I have 3 kids. One of them (the oldest one) is not my biological child, but is the biological child of my wife. We started dating when my wife was about a month pregnant.

      Oh, okay. I think I mixed you up with @Algernon_Asimov and you became a gay parent in you mid 40s who had adopted 3 children.

      She is the light of my life, and while I'm not really one to think of fate or destiny at all, she is my reason to be; I'm here so that she can have a dad that loves her and supports her unconditionally.

      Good for you.

      A few questions though:

      If you didn't have your oldest child, who did?

      If you know who did, do you know why they didn't keep the kid?

      When did she tell you that she was pregnant?

      What did you think about it? (I would immediately say that's not my kid and tell her to put the kid up for adoption or give it back to the real father, probably literally. I'm sorry, I do not know how to say this nicely.)

      They have taken or played the following: piano, singing, guitar, horseback riding, karate, ballet, tap dancing, soccer, rugby, gymnastics, parkour, drama, musical theatre, and probably more things that I'm forgetting. That's a lot of driving.

      Indeed. Isn't that a lot of paying for courses too? Or is it all public?

      I watch everything they do on the internet; if they look at it, I know about it. We limit their screen time; pre-Covid it was to 30 minutes per day. Now all bets are off, but we don't allow screens before 11am or after 2pm, and we have lunch hour in there somewhere.

      Wow, my parents took the opposite approach and have only began to backpedal this year, and barely.

      My wife's opinion: "it hurt, a lot, but it wasn't so bad that I didn't do it again. And again."

      My mother said her grandmother thought the same thing, although I don't think she had the amenities we do now.

      2 votes
      1. [8]
        aphoenix
        Link Parent
        I'm a little younger, a little straighter, and a little less Australian, but I understand the confusion. ;) There will be some non-answers below, for which I apologize. He is not, has never been,...

        I think I mixed you up with @Algernon_Asimov and you became a gay parent in you mid 40s who had adopted 3 children.

        I'm a little younger, a little straighter, and a little less Australian, but I understand the confusion. ;)

        There will be some non-answers below, for which I apologize.

        If you didn't have your oldest child, who did
        If you know who did, do you know why they didn't keep the kid?

        He is not, has never been, and will never be part of the picture.

        When did she tell you that she was pregnant?

        In the middle of our first date, she explained that shew as pregnant. It was an awkward conversation, and she handled it like a champ. There was a lot of thinking on my part before the second date. We had almost gone out several times previously, but things had just never quite worked out. We both felt pretty strongly about each other, which is why she even agreed to a first date.

        What did you think about it?

        I don't have the time to write that book, but I'll give some general thoughts. When I heard, I kind of pushed it down to think of later, and concentrated on the date. I did a lot of processing over the next few days, and then we scheduled another date, where we had a lengthier conversation about the situation, and decided that there was already enough there to merit trying things out. Long story short; it worked.

        With regards to a child that wasn't biologically mine, there are a lot of complicated thoughts around that. It would be pretty difficult to capture all the things that I thought about at that time. My conclusion was that I could love a kid I wasn't biologically related to just as much as one I was. That turned out to be quite true.

        Isn't that a lot of paying for courses too? Or is it all public?

        Yes, it's expensive. They're not public, though we do claim a certain amount of it on our tax returns.

        Wow, my parents took the opposite approach and have only began to backpedal this year, and barely.

        I think it's hard to backpedal, so... good luck to them! Our stance is that I monitor everything, but we don't really limit the choices that they have, we just discuss any poor choices that they make. We tend to expect them to make good ones, and we help them to identify what are good choices and bad choices online.

        3 votes
        1. [7]
          Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          I'm assuming you know who he is but you (two) will never talk to him? Fair enough, having a child and not taking care of it or abort-ing it is indefensible. Again, good for you. Did the thought of...

          He is not, has never been, and will never be part of the picture.

          I'm assuming you know who he is but you (two) will never talk to him? Fair enough, having a child and not taking care of it or abort-ing it is indefensible.

          I don't have the time to write that book, but I'll give some general thoughts. When I heard, I kind of pushed it down to think of later, and concentrated on the date. I did a lot of processing over the next few days, and then we scheduled another date, where we had a lengthier conversation about the situation, and decided that there was already enough there to merit trying things out.

          My conclusion was that I could love a kid I wasn't biologically related to just as much as one I was. That turned out to be quite true.

          Again, good for you. Did the thought of seeking an abortion or putting her up for adoption ever cross your mind? (I'll stress again: It would have crossed mine. Immediately.)

          1 vote
          1. [6]
            aphoenix
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            At the point we were at, that decision was exclusively my wife's to make, and mine to support. She considered adoption (and I guess in a way, went through with it!); by the time we were together...

            Did the thought of seeking an abortion or putting her up for adoption ever cross your mind?

            At the point we were at, that decision was exclusively my wife's to make, and mine to support. She considered adoption (and I guess in a way, went through with it!); by the time we were together she had already made the decision against abortion. While we're both adamant about a woman's right to make decisions for her own body, she was also equally adamant that abortion was not a path she could take.

            Perhaps an interesting side note: one of the things I did was to send a postcard to Post Secret, and it's actually been featured in a book, talked about by Frank Warren in a talk, and is in a video at about 1:40 or so. I guess it resonates with people, but to me, it's just part of my life.

            We've always been open with our daughter about this; we had an adoption party when she was 1, and it became official. We had a little side ceremony for me and her when I married her mom, and I carried her back down the aisle in my arms. I actually wear a ring that she gave me in addition to my wedding ring, and it's hilarious - it's a bottle opener. She picked it out herself.

            I think I'm also one of the people who can say with a fair amount of certainty that adoptive parents feel the same love for their kids as biological parents. She is just as much a part of me as the kids I made myself.

            5 votes
            1. MonkeyPants
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              This makes so much sense to me, now that you put it like this. Parenting is hard. Bonding isn't instantaneous. Everyone has those "wtf, never again" moments. Edit: Some of us have them multiple...

              I think I'm also one of the people who can say with a fair amount of certainty that adoptive parents feel the same love for their kids as biological parents. She is just as much a part of my as the kids I made myself

              This makes so much sense to me, now that you put it like this.

              Parenting is hard. Bonding isn't instantaneous.

              Everyone has those "wtf, never again" moments.

              Edit: Some of us have them multiple times, apparently.

              3 votes
            2. [4]
              Kuromantis
              Link Parent
              Whoops, I forgot that in my depressingly visceral reaction to the idea of being in your situation :/ Switching to a different topic about your daughter, was there anyone telling people to not let...

              At the point we were at, that decision was exclusively my wife's to make, and mine to support.

              Whoops, I forgot that in my depressingly visceral reaction to the idea of being in your situation :/

              Switching to a different topic about your daughter, was there anyone telling people to not let their kids use computers/early IPhones indefinitely when she was a baby?

              If not, then what led you to make that decision? Did you just passively not see a reason for your children to use the Internet and only realize that you made a good decision later and why? I know stuff like "videogames cause violence" has been around for 30 years but that was said by a religious hack IIRC. I feel like people have only began caring about the side effects of social media for 5 years and noone seemed to be worried about social media and telling people that using it too much was bad in 2010 or 2007.

              1. [3]
                aphoenix
                Link Parent
                We heard a lot of things from a lot of people, but luckily my wife's bachelor degree was in early childhood development, so she was a wealth of knowledge on the matter. I also tend to be an...

                was there anyone telling people to not let their kids use computers/early IPhones indefinitely when she was a baby

                We heard a lot of things from a lot of people, but luckily my wife's bachelor degree was in early childhood development, so she was a wealth of knowledge on the matter. I also tend to be an information sponge, so I read some of her ECD text books, along with some parenting books, and we made decisions together about how to deal with most things.

                just passively not see a reason for your children to use the Internet and only realize that you made a good decision later and why

                Maybe I haven't fully explained how we do things - we allow the kids to use the internet (pre-covid, about half an hour a day, but now more, but less than 90 minutes), but since I'm relatively tech savvy, I review all the things they do, and if they do anything questionable, we talk about it after the fact. It's somewhat like the idea of Tildes - trust them, and then deal with abuses of that trust. We also spent a fair amount of time talking about things like dealing with social media, like not putting pictures on social media, and taking ownership of our actions online. Most of their usage is YouTube, Netflix, or Disney+; we review what they watch.

                We definitely play video games together, and some of them are online games; Terraria, for example, is a favourite of all of ours, and we've played some WoW and other things together too, and we try to do so responsibly. I don't think that violent videogames necessarily cause violence - I think there's a correlation, but that causation probably depends on the person playing.

                I hope that answers your questions.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  Kuromantis
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  Wow, that was very fortunate for you. So your wife was basically/primarily the one who figured out how should you deal with your kid using the Internet/social media, presumably in absence of most...

                  We heard a lot of things from a lot of people, but luckily my wife's bachelor degree was in early childhood development, so she was a wealth of knowledge on the matter. I also tend to be an information sponge, so I read some of her ECD text books, along with some parenting books, and we made decisions together about how to deal with most things.

                  Wow, that was very fortunate for you.

                  So your wife was basically/primarily the one who figured out how should you deal with your kid using the Internet/social media, presumably in absence of most of the documentation and general consensus among psychologists that parents have to draw upon today? (That was kind of the long version of my question, sorry.)

                  So when did you and your wife make all these decisions about dealing with your kids' Internet usage? How old was your oldest daughter then?

                  Also, how exactly do you deal with the probably vast difference in your daughter and her colleagues/peers' Internet usage? You've talked about what she does in all that time not spent in your phone with courses, chores and almost certainly school so she doesn't spend too much time doing nothing, but most people like her classmates and other peers spend far more than 30 minutes on the Internet in any given day and most use their phones in school break, for example.

                  Maybe I haven't fully explained how we do things

                  You did, but It's been 2 weeks and I forgot about it, although you have elaborated a lot more here. What I meant by that was that I would have thought you might have not seen a good reason to let your oldest daughter use the Internet at all since there wasn't much there for children/babies in the Internet ca. 2010 or so beyond stuff like flash games, and only later did you realize that maintaining their Internet use at a minimum and watching what they do with that time is the right way to parent a kid* and that was when you began looking into clear guidelines like your half (now under one and a half) hours per day of Internet time.

                  To shorten that to a few sentences, what I meant by that was if you went from thinking "I dont see why should a toddler/kid should use the internet" to "letting my kids/teenagers use the Internet too much is a bad idea and I shouldn't let that happen"

                  *obviously your first daughter's not a kid/toddler now, this is talking about your decisions when she was.

                  1. aphoenix
                    Link Parent
                    We worked it out together - with her background in child development, and mine in computer science and human computer interaction. Even at that point, there was a lot of information on the effect...

                    So your wife was basically/primarily the one who figured

                    We worked it out together - with her background in child development, and mine in computer science and human computer interaction. Even at that point, there was a lot of information on the effect of screens on kids, and we decided to err on the side of caution, and not have too many screens. Our idea was "not more screens than we had as kids" so that they'd all enjoy doing other things, like we do.

                    So when did you and your wife make all these decisions about dealing with your kids' Internet usage

                    We were early "cord cutters" (we haven't had cable in 15 years) so we never really had the option to just plonk the kid down in front of the TV. We decided pretty early that non-screen interactions were much better for kids than screen interactions until they were about 2, when they were introduced to educational TV, like Sesame Street. We tried to avoid shows that we wouldn't watch ourselves as much as possible.

                    From that age, we just decided that 30 minutes seemed about right - it's the length of one "normal" TV show from when we were kids, and that felt like a good place to set the bar. We're more lax on weekends, and we do watch a full movie on Friday nights.

                    how exactly do you deal with the probably vast difference in your daughter and her colleagues/peers' Internet usage?

                    Well, our teenage daughter does use things a bit more, especially with Covid-lockdown. When our daughter turned 13, we lifted most of the restrictions on her time; she is not limited to 30 minutes per day like the younger kids are. This hasn't been a huge issue; she mostly uses her phone to chat with her friends, but she's more likely to be doing handstands than binge watching netflix most of the time - she prefers a variety of activities and not just screen based ones. In that sense, I think that our guidelines have worked out, because she mostly self monitors her screen usage. Additionally, we don't count school work in that screen time, so doing homework on the computer is fine.

                    there wasn't much there for children/babies in the Internet ca. 2010

                    Oh, there were so many great things for kids on the internet at that time! A lot of them have gone away, but there were games and communities around books (especially "Warrior Cats") which have since gone away, there were national geographic communities aimed at kids (there probably still is), there's things like Prodigy which helps kids with math, there's Scratch from MIT... the internet has been beautiful since the early days, as long as you know where to find things, and I've always been pretty good at finding things. And, failing that, I developed a lot of interesting things, like animated nature walks (since retired), interactive art games (most of them retired) and other things that they played with.

                    if you went from thinking "I dont see why should a toddler/kid should use the internet" to "letting my kids/teenagers use the Internet too much is a bad idea and I shouldn't let that happen"

                    I think that for the most part kids under 2 don't really need to have screens; they should have physical, concrete toys to play with, and people to play with. That's developmentally important. But from about that age on, I think it's important to introduce them to the internet and screen time, and to do it in a responsible way so that they can build responsibly habits. Making it off limits is a good way to make your kids go off the deep end when they finally get unrestricted access to it; we do whatever we can to demystify things so that our kids have a good head on their shoulders for dealing with whatever comes at them.

                    1 vote
  8. vord
    Link
    (intentionally skipping over other replies to not taint my own). A lot of my answers reflect that I'm still on the early parenting spectrum. As much as I possibly can. I never thought I could love...

    (intentionally skipping over other replies to not taint my own). A lot of my answers reflect that I'm still on the early parenting spectrum.

    How much time do you spend on them?

    As much as I possibly can. I never thought I could love someone so much.

    How do you parent them?

    One day at a time. Working with my wife to attempt to balance the diametric good/bad parenting skills we were taught from our own upbringings. The overall goal is to foster empathy, logic, creativity, self-worth, and independence. Treat them 3+ years older than they are by default, only dial back as needed. Have fun with it. One of our oft-repeated sayings (and title of our hypothetical parenting book) is 'Just because I'm laughing, doesn't mean you're not in trouble.'

    Do you follow what they're doing on the Internet or how much they use it? How much?

    Currently no access beyond whitelist-only Youtube and video chats with family/friends, but by hitting 9, intend to do nothing more than keep DNS logs as a 'make sure not on Nazi forums' measure. Intend to maintain healthy conversations about activities done and things found. Try to be involved in any interests developed. Perhaps institute time limits if unrestricted internet access becomes a tremendous problem.

    Do you encourage them to have a good diet? How much?

    Very much so, still relatively early in the process. Build vast diversity, don't be afraid of bold flavors, don't give in to mono-meal demands (chicken nuggets/mac&cheese/etc), but also involve child in meal planning. Mandate that 'what's for dinner is what's for dinner, and you will eat dinner and not snacks afterwards', but also temper with realistic expectations. If the two adults don't like the meal, don't force kiddo to eat it too. That's what backup freezer meals are for.

    Even from a relatively young age, don't make anything verboten if it's not a blatant health risk (eg sodium < 2 yr old). Only exception for us is sugary beverages, especially soda (at current age). If your kid wants a piece of candy once in a while? Let them have a piece of candy. Don't turn sugary treats into some elusive white whale that results in a lack of impulse control. As a result, we intend to introduce even sugary drinks so that first interaction with them is a relatively controlled, sane one, instead of one from peers.

    Do you encourage them to do more chores? How much?

    Trying to build healthy habits...clean up after yourself, help with dishes/cooking/cleaning/yard work, etc. Trying not to force the issue, encouraging them when they show interest, but not afraid to be firm if needed (yes, you will clean up your toys after you are done using them before moving to the next).

    When you do this, how cooperative are they? If they aren't, what do you do to convince them?

    Mixed bag. Still working this one out.

    How do you and your partner split the time spent taking care of them?

    Working full-time while wife does not means I try to full-time as best I can evenings/weekends. With work-from-home, try to disengage as much as possible to be there for them.

    What was the most unexpected thing about parenting to you?

    How utterly amazing it is, but also how fundamentally it changes you. There really is an indescribable bond between parents that non-parents just won't get.

    How did birth(-ing?) go? What was it like?

    It's a long story, but started by going to a birth center with midwives. Ended up getting C-section in nearby hospital due to suicidal baby (umbilical around neck). Midwife was there acting as advocate for wife and help explain and wrangle hospital staff.

    What was being/seeing your partner be pregnant like?

    Weird and cool. Especially weird seeing a limb thrust out from their gut. Doubly so during sex.

    Is there anything you regret doing when parenting them?

    So, so much. I beat myself up over every mistake. But I admit my fault, apologize, and try to do better. But especially losing temper and shouting. I'm a big, loud shouter. If I shout in anger it is terrifying, even to myself. I hate it so much because shouting like my father was my greatest fear about being a parent.

    Why did you have them?

    Truthfully? My wife wanted a kid more than I did. I waffled because I was so afraid. I'm so, so, so glad that I jumped in.

    Parting thought is if you can get paternal/maternal leave....take every minute of it that you can, and then some. Bond with your child, especially early on. I was a lot of other things before I became a Dad, but none of them matter nearly as much as they used to.

    4 votes
  9. [3]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    Another question here - how has having your own kids changed your perspective on, and your relationship with, your parents?

    Another question here - how has having your own kids changed your perspective on, and your relationship with, your parents?

    4 votes
    1. Erik
      Link Parent
      While my relationship with my parents struggled a bit when I was a teenager into my early 20s, by the time I was graduating college and what not we had reconnected. Which I'm sure is a common...

      While my relationship with my parents struggled a bit when I was a teenager into my early 20s, by the time I was graduating college and what not we had reconnected. Which I'm sure is a common story. So, when I had my kid, we were already on the phone weekly and I would travel back for holidays and what not. I named my child after my dad.

      I don't really see them differently because I already greatly appreciated how much they sacrificed to raised their children. I would say the biggest thing it has shown me is just how much they were flying by the seat of the pants. When you're a kid, you assume most adults have the world figured out, including raising children. But they don't remember anything they really did to raise us, I basically had to re-teach my parents how to change diapers, wrap the baby, etc. Seeing that they didn't have some sort of deeply engrained knowledge they used to raise us was a little eye opening. And, of course, I too am flying by the seat of my pants.

      4 votes
    2. vord
      Link Parent
      Ended up going no-contact with my parents because they refused to respect my parental autonomy and were endangering my child. I have a better understanding on why they did the things they did as...

      Ended up going no-contact with my parents because they refused to respect my parental autonomy and were endangering my child.

      I have a better understanding on why they did the things they did as parents. I don't agree with how they handled many things, but I sympathize with how they got there.

      4 votes
  10. [5]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Big thanks to everyone who has answered in this thread! I have really appreciated reading your insights and experiences. I think parenting is one of the most amazing things anyone can do, and I...

    Big thanks to everyone who has answered in this thread! I have really appreciated reading your insights and experiences. I think parenting is one of the most amazing things anyone can do, and I think it's also one of the most underappreciated things anyone can do. I admire all of you for what you do!

    Also, for anyone open to more questions:

    • What does education/childcare look like for your kids right now given the ongoing pandemic?
    • Ignoring COVID times for the moment, what has your experience with your children's schools and teachers been like?
    3 votes
    1. aphoenix
      Link Parent
      Covid Question - I'm in Southern Ontario - my kids are going back to school, in person. My oldest daughter is starting her first year of high school; she's half online and half in person. My...

      Covid Question - I'm in Southern Ontario - my kids are going back to school, in person. My oldest daughter is starting her first year of high school; she's half online and half in person. My younger two are in elementary school. We are lucky - the high school and the elementary school are both very good and our school board has dipped into a slush fund that it's been keeping for emergencies. The weather is still nice, and we have parents volunteering to help with screening. I think it's about as good as this can be.

      I think it'll last a month or so.

      what has your experience with your children's schools and teachers been like? All my kids have attended the same elementary school, and it has been superlatively good. Good principals, good teachers, good school resources, close to our house, close to a park, very highly rated, great community and community events; it's a wonderful school. My oldest daughter has gone on to middle school at another school that has also been very good, though we're less directly involved in the community of the school, but loads of great people, and lots of great teachers. In general, we have been very happy with all the teachers, with only a few notable exceptions.

      My oldest girl has had only one teacher that we were unhappy with; she was pretty old, and stodgy, and I think she just simply didn't like my daughter. I'm not sure why; though I'm certainly biased, I do know that my daughter is a delightful, friendly person whose greatest skill is being personable. I always suspected that it was related to race; there was another non-white kid in the class that the teacher also treated badly.

      My younger daughter has had only one teacher we were not impressed with; the rest were fantastic. The teacher that we had a problem with seemed like he did not take much of an interest in the kids, and we also had a personality clash. However, we're especially happy with her teacher this coming year, since she'll have the same teacher that she had the year before last, who has switched from Gr. 2 to Gr. 4/5.

      My son has only had one teacher, and she was one of the sweetest people we've ever met. No complaints about any of his teachers.

      4 votes
    2. [3]
      Erik
      Link Parent
      School is 100% virtual right now where I live. This is tough for a kid in PK4, where one of the main benefits of school is socialization. Mostly, he is learning how to mute and unmute and raise...
      1. School is 100% virtual right now where I live. This is tough for a kid in PK4, where one of the main benefits of school is socialization. Mostly, he is learning how to mute and unmute and raise his (virtual) hand. I have an old computer that he was using, but using the mouse was too difficult for him to learn, so we had to buy an iPad. Not everyone has the luxury of even one device, let alone being able to buy a second and so this whole thing is just a mess for many people. Our school district has a program to get people technology, but they didn't even order devices until the end of July. I can't believe how poorly the city handled this situation to be frank. From rushing reopening before we even hit self-defined metrics, which spiked infection rates further and kept us out of in person school, to not using the months and months of time we had to prepare for this.

      2. When my guy met his teachers last year, I was blown away. I have never met two human beings more excited to meet my son that weren't at least related by blood. I could not be more pleased with them, they got him over the hump on potty training, and for that alone I owe them a life debt. They continued to send us activities to do with him over the summer even though they weren't his teachers anymore. The school itself is good, but pre-k is so separated from the rest of school that I don't have big thoughts on it yet.

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        TildeMan
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think this is a little unfair - hear me out. I recently watched this video https://youtu.be/SVmEXdGqO-s?t=48 (it's 10 minutes long but the part I'm talking about is only about a minute long and...

        I can't believe how poorly the city handled this situation to be frank. From rushing reopening before we even hit self-defined metrics, which spiked infection rates further and kept us out of in person school, to not using the months and months of time we had to prepare for this.

        I think this is a little unfair - hear me out. I recently watched this video https://youtu.be/SVmEXdGqO-s?t=48 (it's 10 minutes long but the part I'm talking about is only about a minute long and it's very clear when he changes the subject) and it kind of opened my eyes to how this kind of thinking doesn't really make sense. If we had new information that made it clear that covid wasn't a big deal (remember: for a long time we had no concrete information, just speculation and the desire to err on the side of caution), people would have been up-in-arms about how the school district just spent x hundreds of thousands of dollars on preparing for a future that never happened. People in the past had to balance the information they had (potential future pendemic? maybe nothing?) with their options (spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, or wait). They had no way to be sure they would actually need all this equipment.

        1 vote
        1. Erik
          Link Parent
          Literally a FOIA request showed today that our government pulled posting data that showed it had not reached the criteria for phase 2 re-opening. They knew that they had not reached the metrics,...

          Literally a FOIA request showed today that our government pulled posting data that showed it had not reached the criteria for phase 2 re-opening. They knew that they had not reached the metrics, which they themselves defined!, for opening things like bars, restaurants and gyms, but they did it it anyway. And they tried to hide. There are literally emails that say to put "14 Days of decline" at the top of charts that only showed 13 days because the 14th day was another spike. This wasn't a oopsie, this is a administration that knew they shouldn't do these things and they did them anyway. People got sick because of this. Phase 2 saw massive spikes over the numbers in phase 1 and basically assured we would never get to phase 3, which was in person school, among other things. People may have died because of this. I don't think I'm being unfair in my assessment, if anything I'm probably not angry enough.

          2 votes
  11. [3]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Okay, two more questions, but less specific and more big picture: From 0-100, How do you rate it? Do you think most people can partake in it?

    Okay, two more questions, but less specific and more big picture:

    From 0-100, How do you rate it?

    Do you think most people can partake in it?

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      mat
      Link Parent
      I would simultaneously rate it 0 and 100. It's both the hardest/most painful and best/most rewarding thing I've ever done. Anyone can do it. We're all products of an unbroken line of humans who...

      I would simultaneously rate it 0 and 100. It's both the hardest/most painful and best/most rewarding thing I've ever done.

      Anyone can do it. We're all products of an unbroken line of humans who have raised other humans to breeding age. There's a very strong selection pressure to keep your kids alive.

      I suspect the question you're really asking is can most people do it well? Trickier. Kids are pretty robust. Treat them fairly and with love and they'll usually turn out OK. Can most people manage that? I dunno. There's a lot of shitty people around. But I suspect there's more not-shitty people and that suggests that yes, most people can raise a person reasonably well. Can most people enjoy it? Probably. Again, there's a very strong selection pressure to enjoy having kids so you can keep them around and alive to pass on your genes. Most people I know seem to come down on the side of having kids being better than not having kids, despite it being hard fuckin work.

      Would I go back to being able to play video games for hours on end, go out on a whim, stay in bed late, have more money, not have kid stuff all over my house and so on, if you gave me the choice? Absolutely not. Although if I could just have a week of doing that stuff, please.. please

      7 votes
      1. Erik
        Link Parent
        This post is a very good answer to this question. I mostly agree.

        This post is a very good answer to this question. I mostly agree.

        2 votes
  12. [5]
    ShroudedMouse
    Link
    And is it anything like owning a dog? I hope so... Great question.

    And is it anything like owning a dog? I hope so...

    Great question.

    3 votes
    1. mat
      Link Parent
      As someone who has both, I can assure you that there's a surprisingly big crossover between baby stuff and dog stuff. Puppy training pads are great for baby massage and a fraction of the price of...

      As someone who has both, I can assure you that there's a surprisingly big crossover between baby stuff and dog stuff. Puppy training pads are great for baby massage and a fraction of the price of the special baby ones, despite being identical. Poop bags are far cheaper than nappy bags, but reusable bags are better if you can. For the nappies, not the poops.. Simple Solution (biological cleaner I've used for removing dog accidents for years) is ideal for having around kids and again, a fraction of the price of the kid-specific stuff despite being the same and equally kid-safe.

      Both babies and puppies respond very well to simple operant conditioning techniques although I have (so far) resisted clicker training my toddler. There's a lot of transferable skills between dog training and kid management. And, if I'm honest, people management in general. One of the most useful things I've learned how to do in my life is train a dog.

      The smell is slightly worse.

      5 votes
    2. [3]
      vord
      Link Parent
      I think my peeve around that question surrounds the huge disparity of importance between those two. Specifically when you're venting about parent things to non-parent dog owners where they say...

      I think my peeve around that question surrounds the huge disparity of importance between those two. Specifically when you're venting about parent things to non-parent dog owners where they say "well yes, my dog does XYZ, our problems are so similiar."

      No, it's not. You can 'turn off' taking care of a dog for a bit if you need to. A dog does not have remotely the same level of physical and emotional needs that a child does. Parenting is a 24/7 gig, and the stakes are higher. You can half-ass own a dog. Half-ass caring for a human results is how you end up with dysfunctional societies.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        ShroudedMouse
        Link Parent
        I'm definitely aware of that huge disparity so I hope you'll take the question in half-jest. I wouldn't want to half-ass raising a child so, in the back of my mind, I've been using our dogs as way...

        I'm definitely aware of that huge disparity so I hope you'll take the question in half-jest. I wouldn't want to half-ass raising a child so, in the back of my mind, I've been using our dogs as way to test if we're even remotely prepared for the demands of being real parents.

        And seriously, even though I'm not a parent, I think one of the biggest things we could all do is to be kinder to the newer generations. Nurture them and start breaking down these cycles of dysfunction.

        5 votes
        1. vord
          Link Parent
          Oh yes, my intended tone was not anger per-se. Although I did have several friends who did this, so the vent was in part directed at them.

          Oh yes, my intended tone was not anger per-se.

          Although I did have several friends who did this, so the vent was in part directed at them.

          3 votes