10 things we do to try and not suck at being married parents

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

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As of today, we have somehow been married for 10 years. Some people get married, some people don’t. Some people stay married and some people get married and then stop being married. All these things, and all the things I didn’t cover, are normal and fine etc.

We also have two kids, which makes things interesting. Because making sure you keep yourselves alive is tricky enough on most days. Add keeping alive two little humans and life tends to get “challenging” at times.

As two people who are married with kids, I figured I would share a few of the things that we try and do to try and not suck at being married parents. If we’re being honest though, it’s really more a list to not always suck at this. Because sucking at being a parent and a partner is totally okay. They are hard things to do 24/7.

Parents who go out on a date

Laugh at your kids late at night after a long day spent yelling at kids

Kids are great and are the future and are what get us out of bed int he morning. Yada, yada, yada.  Folks, kids yell at you all the time. They tell you they are stupid, they know the word “fuck,” and they break all your stuff. It is okay to laugh this shit off late at night before you go to sleep.

Tell each other when they are wrong

Sometimes (a few times, often?) I am wrong about things I could have sworn I was right about my whole life. Sometimes it is my partner who is wrong. Tell each other when they are wrong and explain why. This might not be as important for things like “Harry is a better wizard than Ron” but is important when it comes to talking about when to speak to teachers about classroom problems, the way the world is set up to benefit white men, and how sure as hell better believe that there are no things men should do and women should do.

Take turns being the one who needs to walk away at 6 a.m. when the kids are being impossibly difficult

You don’t need to know how to speak multiple languages to be a good partner/parent but you do need to be able to pick up on the moment before the moment when your partner is about to lose their mind because they have told your kid to put on their socks 18 times and they are still staring at them. It will take time to perfect the switch to give them time away but it is important to develop this.

Fight the patriarchy!

Fuck all that shit that says men should do this or women do that. Don’t do that crap. In fact, actively talk about why it sucks, why your kids should fight against it too, and how you can go about fighting that. Accidentally knock over signs in stores that say “Boy toy section” or “girl toy section.” Yell out loud “you have to be kidding me!” every time you see the expression “boys will be boys” or “man up.” Throw up when a condescending person in a home repair store turns to a man in the family when discussing household repairs.

Read about the experiences of people who aren’t you

It is one thing to live our life and to face the challenges we face. But, if you want to raise kids who understand the world they are living in, you can teach them that everyone deserves to be treated equally but you cannot tell them that that is in fact what happens. To tell them to not see colour etc. Tell them that other people experience life differently than they do. Seek out materials that talk to this. Read those to your kids. Read those to yourself.

Watch the Harry Potter movies every year

I have no idea what impact this has actually had on us successfully being not always awful but it is something I sure as hell want to keep doing and so I am adding it hear. Also, Hermione and Luna are the best.

Be kind, use compliments

There is always something your partner is doing well. This isn’t a “you look so great in that dress” kind of compliment prompt (but it could be that too), it’s a “thanks for telling me why that statement can be hurtful,” or “you explained the process of giving birth so amazingly to our four-year-old” compliment prompt. As parents and as people we don’t always see in ourselves what we do well. But we see them in our partner. Say the things you want them to you know you admire and love.

Use swear words

Zero per cent of my “how good a person and parents are you?” is allotted to how much one swears. We are all frustrated and doing what we can to go from day to day. There is an awful lot of stuff in this world that deserves swearing at.

Admit you sometimes suck and that’s okay

You aren’t the world’s greatest parent because there is no world’s greatest parent. Sometimes you make mistakes and the best way to get over making mistakes is to know you’ll make them again. Your kid will be okay even after eating the pizza you burned. They will still be okay even though you forgot to give them money on bublegum day. You’re going to feel terrible but you know what, you are allowed to suck sometimes.

Have sex in the morning. Or night. Or whenever the hell you have time for it

Don’t live thinking there is no time for it. Make it count on those minutes you do find time for it. We can’t all afford to go away for weekend journey’s to the mountain cabin or beachfront resort but we can set alarms for 3 a.m., drink some coffee, and then get sexy times going.

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