The Cynical Dad – The Pursuit of Happiness

Congratulations to me! I got a promotion this week.

Instead of just looking after the kids before and after school, I got to pander to their every whim and need 24 hours a day for the past 5 days.

Yes, this week illness hit our house. Sunday night saw all 3 kids take a nosedive with all of them staying in bed most of Monday. On Tuesday the eldest had recovered enough to go to school (suspicions of dodging a test still remain to be disproven), while middle child’s throat decided to swell up and youngest developed a temperature.

And so began a week of them sitting on the couch, watching TV (arguing over what to watch), coughing and sneezing (giving out to each other for coughing and sneezing) and reminding me that “my throat is sore” and actually competing to see who’s throat was worse!

As they sat there waiting for their next hit of Calpol, unable to eat anything more than yoghurt and ice cream, as a parent you well up with feelings. You look at their pale little faces. You think “I hate to see them in pain”.

You wish for a release…..for yourself.

Yes they’re sore and miserable, but God they make sure you know all about it!! Even when one lost his voice he still managed to start fights! Of course you’re there for them, and love and care for them. But sweet baby Jesus you miss those few hours while they’re in school!

Every parent needs their escape time, though the definition of this changes. Sometimes it’s a half an hour in the evening catching up on that TV programme you recorded before Christmas or the book you started in 2016. And 2015. And 2013.

Other times it’s getting out for a walk or a run with someone or just with the squashed down over-filled rubbish bin of your own thoughts.

Every now and again it’s a night out, no strings attached.

I understand that for younger people in different circumstances a ‘no strings attached’ night out means something entirely different. For a parent (or at least this parent) it means friends, alcohol, no curfew and – most importantly – no kids in the morning.

No. Kids. Before. 12. Noon.

Nothing can match that feeling when you’re heading out for a night and the babysitter/Keeper of Hell’s Gates says, “Take your time in the morning. No rush. Have a lie in!

Oh the joy! At no other time will you see a parent actually skip out the door, shouting a cursory and rhetorical “Are you sure?!

Now I realise my scattered thoughts have brought us on a journey from caring and worrying about sick kids to gleefully abandoning those same kids in the pursuit of alcohol* and adult conversation.

Consider my rubbish bin of thoughts slightly lightened!


*alcohol was not actively pursued while the children were sick. Greatly desired and sometimes secretly prayed for, but not actively pursued.

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