The Most Difficult Part of Parenting

There are tons of ways to screw up your kid, that’s pretty much a fact. I won’t get into all of the things that you can possibly do wrong, but it’s a list that’s a mile long. Parenting can be challenging and really, if by now you don’t realize that, you clearly haven’t been listening to all of the people who complain endlessly about how tiring it is or how much it costs etc. Personally, I can’t stand those people. Being a parent is tough, sure, but you made the choice to have a kid, so shutup and get on with it…your kid doesn’t care that it’s tough, he/she just wants your attention.

Anyway, as a father, there are a variety of things that I find difficult. Being the heavy who has to draw the line is tough, especially when you know that some of the things your kid is doing are the same things you know you used to find hilarious. You want to say, “Oh man, that was AWESOME! Do it again!”, but you can’t. You have to keep a straight face and make sure that you are creating boundaries. But that’s not the toughest part of being a parent.

After working a tough week and then coming home on a Friday night, there is nothing more that you would love to do than have a few bevvies, relax and watch the game and then sleep in Saturday morning, but if you have a kid (or a few), you know this isn’t happening. You will probably be awoken at some ridiculous hour Saturday morning (why is it that on Saturday, the kid is up at the crack of dawn, but during the week, she sleeps like she was on a 3-day bender?) and you most likely have to get the kids off to dance, hockey, swimming or some event that looked cool down at the ROM (dear ROM: plan some stuff in the afternoons. AFTERNOONS guys! Mummies and Daddies are hungover!). But that’s not the toughest part of being a parent either.

The toughest part of being a parent is knowing when it is appropriate to throw some of their shit out. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t call it that, because I’m actually impressed by most of the stuff my daughter does, but I’m going to call you a straight up liar if you have a kid and haven’t at some point looked at all of the artwork, writing and exercises that have piled up along with the various toys and giveaways and not said, “Man, this kid has a lot of shit.”  But after making that startling revelation (and it does come to you like that…you look around and think, “When the hell did this happen?”), you are then faced with the thought of, “What can I actually get rid of?” 

There are a few different reasons that makes throwing things out difficult.  First, if we are talking artwork, there is probably a lot of stuff that you really like.  I have actually made a point of framing some of the kid’s stuff and putting it up with the other artwork in the house.  It makes her feel included and it actually looks good (nobody know that it was done by a kid).  If it is writing or exercises, there are some things that your kid has written that probably made you laugh when you first saw it or made you feel genuinely good, like when they completed all of their math exercises correctly for the first time.  You remember how they ran to show you the sticker they got on the sheet.  So sure, that stuff you keep, you scrapbook, you file, whatever, it’s not going out in the recycling.

You also have to think, “What is this kid going to miss?”  There are some things you think can go out in the recycling, like doodles or what appears to be torn up paper, but you know that as soon as you start to put that stuff into a plastic bag, your kid is going to come around asking if you have seen the “tickets” they made for the movie.  You have no idea what they are talking about, until they see the bag and find the torn up pieces of paper inside.  When confronted with the sooooo accusatory tone that accompanies “Why are my tickets in this bag?”  how do you respond?  It should be the other way around, I mean, I should be grilling the kid.  “What’s behind your back?”  or “What did you just eat?”  or “Where did mummy hide daddy’s stash?”…er…maybe not that, but anyway, the kid gets you on the spot and you don’t know what to say.  You can tell them that you are just cleaning things up, but they’re not stupid, they know that you don’t clear up with plastic bags because you’re slight Lowe’s-anal when it comes to that kind of stuff and if there’s an opportunity to building some shelving or a multi-purpose storage unit, you’re going to take that opportunity.  Plastic bags mean a few things: pulling together recycling, taking out the trash or daddy left the shopping bins in the trunk again and was too lazy to go back out to the car.  They certainly don’t mean storage of arts and crafts.

So what to do?  We’re three people living in a four bedroom house…and the kid owns two of them!  She’s working on the basement too!  I don’t know what to do.  I thought about maybe creating some “priceless moments” that could be stored at grandma and grandpa’s place, but all of a sudden they have been getting me to ship my university texts and assignments out of their basement.  I have a feeling that now that they are retired, they took a look around and said, “We have a lot of Jay’s shit in here.  Let’s call him up and get him to get some of his shit out of here.   I mean, sure, some of it is quite impressive and maybe even thoughtful, but it’s taking up space that we need to…um…well, just call him.”  I found it really curious why all of a sudden I had to start moving my stuff out of their basement, but whatever, it’s their place.  I just wonder if they even took a look at any of the stuff I did in university.  I still don’t think they really know what I took to tell you the truth. 

Now that I think about it, I’m going to keep all of my daughter’s stuff.  I have the space.  I’ll store it in an organized fashion and occasionally go through it when I’ve had a rough day followed by a few Carlsbergs.  It’ll make me feel better and remind me of what purpose I have on this planet…and who knows, when I’m 60, maybe I’ll be calling her to let her know that it’s about time she comes and picks up her shit…but probably not.


  1. avatar Wendy Says:

    I usually throw out the things that occur in great number, but keep one version, of course. I also ship some things to grandparents as gifts, and my sister loves to come over and steal some. I put a bit of work and money into a craft room, so I have quite a few really impressive things that are up on the wall there. And the fridge sports some thing. And there’s one hanging off of the wall decor. And she puts some on the fridge herself now….

    I try to judge based on the effort she puts into the item. Stuff from school and the library, she just half assed ends up on the floor anyway so I keep it in view for a while, then move it out of view, then recycle it.

    Otherwise, I have file boxes that are already quite full.

    As for toys? I have this strange obsession after finding some toys at a garage sale run by two young girls. I want my girls to have one of those when they are older and donate some money to charity etc. And I actually buy toys with that in mind, which is stupd because really, they don’t need anymore toys, especially if I’m actually buying them to sell for far less than I paid in the future…

  2. avatar Jay Says:

    The grandparents don’t get enough “gifts”, but the problem is that the kid goes by there before coming home, so the line she’s fed is, “I bet mummy and daddy will be so excited to see it when they get home!” No dice there.

    I think I am just going to turn the basement into a studio for her, where she can do whatever art she wants and then we can rotate the things that go on display.

    As for toys, this is now officially out of control and some stuff WILL be donated.

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