Could I Be a Good Father? (Adventures in Babysitting)

0 Posted by - November 23, 2010 - Real Life, Real Talk

I had to go back to my place in Queens over the weekend to deal with a pesky leak in my rental property. Needless to say things didn’t go too well, but I won’t get into all that. I bring up my Queens trek because being around the debris and contractor work reminded me of something I wrote about four years ago in the midst of remodeling my place. If y’all don’t mind, I’d like to share it with y’all, with minimal edits. Here goes…

I had the opportunity to babysit a 7-year-old the other day. My contractor had to finish working on my place and couldn’t find a sitter, so he brought along his son, a cute kid with glasses, about yeah high and inquisitive, like most children. Well, my place is/was a mess and tools and material are everywhere. I’m a worrywart of sorts, so I wanted to make sure there was a safe space for the kid while his father worked on the pipes in my bathroom. [II]

After checking with his father to see if it was okay for lil’ man to play videogames, I cleared out a space in the living room to pull out the modern day babysitting machine known as the PlayStation 2. My plan was to leave the kid there while his father worked and I went off to my room to get some work of my own done.

I unraveled the controller and powered up the system, and was about to bounce; then came the question, “Do you wanna play?”

I’m a workaholic and haven’t had a chance to play video games in a while, so I thought about it for a few seconds before buckling.

“Sure,” I replied. “I could play one game.”

I unraveled the second controller and grabbed a seat on the floor. The kid and I decided to play Rocky. Of course he chooses Mr. Balboa and I opted for some random no-name Black boxer. I let the kid win a few rounds because, well, he’s a kid and it’d be unfair and just plain ol’ mean to knock him out like that. But of course, I did knock him out once or twice—totally by accident, of course.

Anyway, the “one game” turned into several. During the course of our competitions in boxing, tennis and snowboarding; questions were asked and I answered with little jewels of wisdom. Eventually I escaped to my room to do some work, but kept checking in on the kid and caring to what needs I can.

As the night progressed, daddy tells his son he’s gotta do homework for school tomorrow before it gets too late. While I’m in my room working, the kid occasionally walks in and asks for help in understanding a book report assignment and spelling certain words. I drop my vocab gem on him: “Every time I look up a word in the dictionary, I look up the word before and after it, that way I learn three words at one time.”

Needless to say, we all got hungry and since I was remodeling my kitchen as well we ordered Chinese food. I set a plate for little man and once he was done and homework was complete it was time for him to go. He asked if he could come back, and I responded, “Yes.”

I doubt I’ll ever see the kid again, but he got me to thinking; could I be a good father? I know the question may seem silly to most, but I know me and my workaholic ways. One of my biggest fears is that when, and if, I have a family I won’t know how to prioritize my loved ones over work. But I guess being aware of the fear and possibility of its reality will help steer me away from that path. I hope.

I see my best friend, who’s expecting a child in January (it’s a girl), interact with his nephew and other kids in a carefree way that I hardly see myself doing. In fact, whenever I see a man interacting with his child (not yelling or beating), I wonder to myself if I could be able to do that one day. More importantly, would I be good at it? But the fact that I was able to make time for this kid that I had no familial connection to and put work to the side for him, leaves me with hope. And sometimes, a little hope is all you need.

If you aren’t a parent already, do you ever wonder about your innate parenting skills? Could you imagine yourself being responsible for another person at this point in your life? Are you too selfish to be a good parent at this point in your life? Do you think that you’ll make a good parent? Why? For the parents, how hard was it for you to adjust your lifestyle to fit a child and his/her needs? What’s the best advice or lesson you learned about parenting? Do you think that I’ll make a good father or will I just be another emotionally distant workaholic that’s just there physically?

Speak your piece…

  • Ronnie6676

    I can honestly say I am not a “natural” parent. I never did the babysitting thing nor did I care to be around small children. In all actuality I do not like most children. My sister is totally opposite. Always has kids with her (though she is 32 and has none of her own…if you are listening B I would like a niece…please and thank you). So it was a shock when I decided to have a son.

    But you know what, even though I never showed any of those “mother” like qualities, I do pretty darn good. My little man is 8 and in the 3rd grade. He is an honor roll student. Smart as a whip and inquisitive. Funny and he loves to dance and sing. I love that he can hold conversations better than most adults. He is an absolute joy.

    I think sometimes what we think we need to be good parents doesn’t really have anything to do with what our kids really need from us. And I still don’t do the babysitting thing nor do I like kids. But I love mine and that’s what counts.

  • LaChatNoir83

    I often think about that very thing when I am watching my nephews. Sometimes I can’t get enough of them and there are times when I can’t wait to get the hell away from them.
    My fiance’ wants children, so I hope that when we do have them, I won’t be a horrible.

  • Kemz

    This post garnered a whole lot of “awws” from of me :)

    I don’t have any kids of my own. However, I’ve proven myself to be good with them, when I make a concerted effort. My mother owned a day care growing up and I have 6, soon to be 7 nieces and nephews. I try not to act like any kid’s “mother”, not even my nieces and nephews – I’m quick to let them know who their parents are lol. Nonetheless, I don’t have any concerns about my abilities to be motherly when that time comes around and I don’t really feel the need to actively practice.

  • carmool

    I have 7 nephews would love to have a lil girl around an my sisters an brothers are hoping I supply her AINT HAPPENIN! The nephs are enough for this chick me no likey kids they smell like graham crackers an apple juice I pass

  • JC

    I often think of this, even though I recently wrote a post on my blog about how I don’t want children even after years of yearning for one. My family and friends say I would make a great Mom. But I see myself outside of what they see. I see myself when I’m alone. I have an extreme lazy streak. One reason why I have cats…Tried the dog thing and it didn’t work. Too much responsibility. I always said that I wanted to be married and then I would have children. I watched my Mom take partly raise my sister and I and well…do you remember the term “latch-key kid”…yeah that was me. I grew up being alone and at times I feel that is all I know.

    At my Mom’s funeral I cried on my sister’s shoulder saying “Who’s going to teach me to be a Mom?”
    I know they say it is instinctive and that when it is your own child it really does change you. But what about those that adopt? I guess that is done because they really want to raise a child. I have never been good around kids. I really do have a low tolerance for them.
    I can be just as selfish as I can be selfless.

    I certainly don’t think anyone becomes a parent thinking they will be the best…at least I hope not, lol. It is a learning process, that much I know.

    As for you NWSO…I think you will make a great father. Why? Simply because you have it in you to even ask…it shows you care. Before that day comes you are already invested in learning if you can handle being a parent. That shows a depth and maturity that many parents don’t have until they have a span of 9 months.

  • ndygo sunshyne

    killed me at graham crackers & apple juice. 2 things i don’t care much for.

    i like kids. my favorite part about them is that they go home with other people.

  • Danielle

    I think it’s a good thing when people know they don’t want kids and accept it.I have a couple who decided early on that it wasn’t happening. I’ve always, always wanted kids and I’m a laid back mom most of the time. Sometimes I look at my kids and I’m awe of them and a little shocked that they’re mine and sometimes they get on my dang nerves so bad I wanna throw something at them.
    Will you be a good dad? Like X said because you had to ask it means you’ve thought into it. Right now you have a choice to be workaholic so if that’s what you like doing enjoy that for now. Because things change when you have kids, especially if you’re married. That workaholic is going to have to be laid to rest. When she’s hits her second trimester go ahead and have the memorial service.

  • mine jaz

    My fear isn’t that I wnt be a great mother its about being a stepmother…me n my stepmother had sum seriously rocky times and 15 years later were just starting to really mend things up….I wonder if my stepchildren will see that I love them like they r my own…I want them to kno that I’m fair as any woman can b…I want them to kno that I’m not trying to replace their mother …just wanna have a spot in their hearts! I wanna b better than the stepmother I had…cuz it shouldn’t b that hard to love a parent!

  • Vaughnny

    I had a speech last night in my class about fears. Of course mortality was one but the other is children. I don’t fear the little monsters but I fear the responsibility of another human life. Looking at them and seeing your little self. Shaping their values and personality. I was blessed to grow up in a two parent home and thats what I would want for my children if I ever have them. After I finish nursing school I go to Germany for a couple years. When I get back to the states I’ll be 31 and ready to look for that soul mate to spend the rest of my life with and possibly have children. I believe I will be a good father like mines, and hopefully more active in their lives. The only thing is I wouldn’t be able to handle a little girl. women especially black women have it to hard in this world and I think I would be overprotective of my little girl. Plus daddy’s girl would get the world from me and be spoiled haha. IDK, but till then I’ll baby sit my newphews and little cousins and give them back to their parents.

  • JC
  • TJ

    Danielle, I like the way you put that last sentence (lol).

  • TJ

    Ans, I think it’s awesome that you’ve given this some thought. I don’t know of too many people, especially men, who consider this side of themselves. This shows a great deal of maturity and care.

    As for me, I never had the opportunity to think about this, as I was placed in a parental role at the age of nine — mom was on her “special” trip. The oldest of four, I took on the responsiblity of raising, loving and caring for my little sisters and brother. The great thing I do remember, though, is that I was actually in love with my little sisters when they were born and almost innately took them from my mother’s arms so she didn’t have to take care of them. (Grandma always said I was beyond my years) When I had my own children I was very prepared to parent them in a way that I had never been parented myself. It was at those points that I realized how privileged I was to have them. They are gifts and I want to continue to treat them as such.

  • TJ

    Where/what is your blog?

  • TJ

    I think I’m out of the blog loop.

  • Preachthecomedian

    It scares me because my dad wasn’t around. I don’t have much of a refrence point. But I pray I have a boy first …I want my girl to be number 4 or 5
    plus I want to adopt…my ideal is like 9 or 10 kids…

  • da ThRONe

    I have no doubts my ability as a parent if it ever happens. I have been overseeing kids of all ages as long as I can remember. None of them mine. :(

  • Shannon

    Let me know how that works out for you and then write a book about it. With that many children, life is bound to get interesting and make for an interesting read, :).

  • Shannon

    My father was retired and tired by the time I was born. He wasn’t sure he could do the fathering thing at his age–he was 60 when I was born–and didn’t think he would live to see me reach maturity. He did go back to work and he did better than he thought; I was always with him and even though some of the things he did lacked in judgment–giving me beer to make me sleep, going out for ice cream at 3 a.m. and taking me to his shop where I played in the recycled oil barrel–he did a great job. He taught me what to look for in a man, which proved helpful when I met my husband and he told me to never excuse abuse–in ANY form.

    He was a great father. I think as long as a man is clear about his role as a man and a father, he will be a great one, a father his sons will strive to emulate.

  • Preachthecomedian

    I got it planned out. Imma adopt like 5 boys…white , black, latino, Asian and a mixed 1. Then start a singing group with the boys… The white got the falsetto, Asian do bass baritone and the rest just fill out the harmony… Get them matching outfits and call them The Preachers Kids…
    Platinum already :-)

  • Lyndon

    If I could have a child without the drama of a relatinship I would, but I know children need mothers and I wouldn’t want to rob my first born of that experience.

    (I will say) One GREAT parent trumps two lackluster parents.

  • Chanel

    Although I am an only child I’m the oldest in my family and have been surrounded by kids my whole life. I even work with them now. I can safely say I know I’ll be a good mother when I’m ready. Until then the kid in my life are good enough. I’ve had a chance to see motherhood up close and personal. I have a 6 year old god son whom I’ve been there for since the beginning. Even though I’m not his parent his presence in my life has changed me drastically but I know I have many more positive changes to make before I have a child of my own. Kids are taxing. Parenting is a thankless ass job that I’m not quite ready for yet :)

  • R.e.D

    The photo at the bottom is priceless!!

  • R.e.D

    God in heaven knows I wish I wasn’t 30 already b/c there is nothing in me right now that wants children. I don’t look at pregnant women and envy them, I don’t sit and watch random kids play and wish for my own. I look at them, with their noisy selves, thank The Father I don’t have one as yet and place my earplugs in.
    My nieces and nephews.. I love them to smithereens, but the best thing is that they go home at the end of the day.
    Don’t know if you would make a good father or not, but if this is your desire, then like anything else in life, you will make it happen if you want it too.

  • QuoteMan

    Kids, they are something…………………… for all the load they bring, they do give one an edge on life. At six, his curiosity has made me develop an encyclopedic mind – I couldn’t be more thankful.

  • mommy t-rex

    You become a good parent by just doing it. You make adjustments, you make compromises and you do it. The most important thing is to raise a child that sees you living and raising the child. I was 36 when my clock ticked so loud, and 37 when I had my daughter. She is lively, beautiful, stubborn,and quick as a whip. I want to be the best parent I can its lots of trial and error and lots of fire and determination, I feel with out the 2 your lost. Parenting is also a case of getting back what you put in, kinda like garbage in garbage out. I love being a mom!

  • MissMe83

    This comes at a great time for me. I JUST asked one of my best friends if he thought I would be a good mother. He told me that he believes I would be a great mother b/c my mom was a great mother. And truth be told, I feel that I am good with kids….but I don’t like them…lol If you are not in my family, there is a good chance I don’t want to be around you…lol Since my sister passed away, I have 2 nieces that don’t have parents (father is a dumbass…but that’s another story) I help with them as much as I can. They are two amazing girls and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I will say my motto with kids….you need to show them that you are crazier than they are!!! Anytime my youngest niece throws a temper tantrum, I come right back at with her something equally crazy. Not necessarily yelling at her, but I must admit, I have thrown a few french fries at her, or made her stand on the side of the road for a little bit until she simmered down (and yeah I pulled off the highway and made her stand outside and literally cool down) But with that being said, she acts right around me cuz she knows I’m a tad bit more throwed off than she is!

  • menluvmysmile

    If you aren’t a parent already, do you ever wonder about your innate parenting skills?
    **I do wonder about my parenting skills, I have looked after my cousins quite a bit as well as my nephews and hopefully my neice too! (long story). I know that I will probably be a bit strict but very loving as these kids I’ve looked after have always asked to come back to spend time and I have done the same. Children have a great perspective on life and really help you see what is important in life, no matter what, who and where you are in it!
    Could you imagine yourself being responsible for another person at this point in your life?
    **This is a great sacrifice that would require me meeting a very special person in order to create this new little life.
    Are you too selfish to be a good parent at this point in your life?
    **Yes I am school full time (to finish my degree) as well as working so right now the priority of children is not on the list of to-do’s.
    Do you think that you’ll make a good parent? Why?
    **I hope so, because what I see in the family I babysit for I hope one day I am able to do some of what they do with their children.
    Do you think that I’ll make a good father or will I just be another emotionally distant workaholic that’s just there physically?
    **I think you will make a fantastic father; you will definitely make some adjustments and not always put work first. I think what you have learnt from your family (your grandfather, mother and father) you will do your best to instill the good you have seen from your ‘elders’. Regardless being a parent you aren’t always perfect and showing your (future) children that both yourself and life isn’t perfect will make them even better people and parents if they decide so

  • doobiebro

    I can say I had the right blueprint…my dad and mom both are great role models and fantastic parents…raised five of us! I knew the key to raising good kids was to talk to them, have plenty of forgiveness, discipline when required, and share LOTS of laughter!

  • bradley

    Well I am a Black, Single man I do want kids. I see how I interact with my nieces and nephews. I love them unconditionally and I make sure they are cared for when they are in my care. I also work with mentally unstable and abused kids and I treat them with respect and try to be that male figure and teacher in their life. I do believe that I would make a good parent one day. Right now isn’t good because I am getting myself established financially and mentally. I think you would make a great father. You proved it in the presented blog.

  • Elle

    Until very recently, I never had to deal with kids. None of my friends have babies, I don’t have any younger siblings, cousins or whatever. The only time I was ever confronted with children was at the supermarket. Needless to say, less than pleasant.

    Through my new job, I had to learn how to interact with children and babies up close and personal and to my own surprise I am actually good at. But what’s even crazier to me is that I enjoy it. DEPENDING ON THE INDIVIDUAL CHILD.

    I am selective after all. Only cute AND well mannered kids make the cut. The rest are all drooling, screaming, temper tantrum throwing rugrats. No offense.

    All in all I am on the fence of my parenting skills in case of my own, unborn children. If I somehow manage to have quiet, smart and extraordinarily cute chidlren, I should be good. If not, lawd have mercy.