In order to be a great parent, you have to take care of yourself and smile often.
I remember the first moment Vinny was born and the message that went through my head. “It’s all about him now.” And also, forget about sleep for a month but I digress..
When your kid comes into the world, you are no longer the star of your own show. The screenplay shifts and pivots on a twist. A young 6 pound kid takes center stage and the rest is bullshit. Filler. Fluff. Crap. Nowhere near important. And it’s okay.
When Vinny was born on September 2011, the Cards were in the middle of one of their greatest runs in the history of their franchise. 10.5 games out on August 25th before streaking towards a playoff berth and eventually the World Series. They overtook Beast Mode in Milwaukee, Ron Washington and Nolan Ryan’s ego, and the relentless Texas Rangers. In the middle of that, Vinny made his entrance. It was a perfect collision of responsibility and passion.
I didn’t write for KSDK or any other website back then. I wrote blogs right here once a week. Rambling and ranting that only a handful of people noticed. A hundred Twitter follows and a Facebook page without color. None of that shit mattered, right? Well, it’s not that simple.
Here’s the flip side of the “kid is the star of the show” ideal. If you don’t care of yourself, what the fuck kind of parent will you be? If one isn’t happy, he or she can’t please others or make a great life for someone. He’s isolated in dread and agony. What fun is that?
The biggest lie or hollow promotion a parent will ever tell is “I don’t matter. It’s all about them.” Wrong. You need to matter and need to convey something or hold a certain level of passion. If you do not do this, what can you offer a kid? When Vinny looks at me, he wants to be like me. He wants my approval. Always. Constant. Every day. Every kid wants their parent to see them and love them. They do this by watching you and seeing you smile. Then, they know how it will feel when you smile at them. What if a parent doesn’t smile enough? Something is wrong.
It is all about the kids but if you don’t take care of yourself, you will be in a world of pain for a long time and your kids won’t benefit from it. The only thing that changes in your life when you have a kid is sleep, time management and your food bill. What you get is a chance to relaunch through this kid. They are supposed to give you energy and give you new meaning. I want to write as much as I can, run as much as I can. smile as often as I can and make Vinny’s life a constant event.
You aren’t ignoring your daughter or son if you take time for yourself. It’s required.
When I was growing up, I’d watch my dad work, play and basically move through life. You may not know it when you are 5 years old or 10 years old but you are taking notes on parenthood. My dad was a loving parent and attentive but he took time for himself. He’d sit out back and smoke a cigar late at night or play some music and sit still for a while. I understood that and tried to remember to do so.
That is why when the wife and kid go to bed, I have my own time. I write, go to the gym, listen to music, watch some TV or have a drink. I take time for myself. Every parent should. If not, you are doing more harm than good.
You aren’t abandoning your child or doing parenthood wrong if you take a few hours for yourself.
Thanks for reading,