If you know anything about me then you’ll probaby be wondering why I’m writing a blog post declaring that I’m not ready to grow up.
I’m married (nine years now) and have three children. I live in a three bedroom house, | have a garage and a garden. I have a full time fai job working as a journalist for the one of the worlds most respected broadcasters – the BBC.
But the idea of growing up, in fact the very concept behind ‘growing up’ is an alien one. I genuinely haven’t worked out what it means yet.
Yes ok I know I have to get up early, take the kids to school and work hard, I know I have to do my bit cleaning teh house and looking after the kids – but with the exception of getting up early I don’t find any of the above a chore.
I love taking the kids to school in the morning because I enjoy the funny conversations I have with them (Oceana, 8 and Jaden 6). I like listening to their ideas and theories for the world, the little ‘discoveries’ they’re making on their road to being all growned up.
I enjoy my job, in fact I love my job – I get paid to speak to interesting people, to explore and understand stories and ideas and to then write or talk about those people and ideas in public, to other people – what isn’t to like?
OK so I could live without the cleaning but there is still something relaxing, inspriring about washing the dishes looking out at a beautiful sunset or running around the house music blaring loud doing a ‘man clean’.
If you don’t know what a man clean is then you’re either a woman or under the age of 10 – this is bascially where, once in a while you clean and you clean EVERYTHING in an insane way – the whole house looks different when you’re wife/mother/girlfriend gets back.
And I mean gets back because you can’t do a man clean with other people around – a man clean is a solo experience, a time for man to become one with the polish, the kitchen roll and some very loud music.
It’s the boring day to day cleaning I’m not a fan of – the constant picking things up, putting things away, washing down the sides – give me everything or give me nothing – or maybe just a bit of light washing up.
So back to back to being grown up – I’ve already admitted I cook, I clean (occasionally), I take the kids to school, look after the kids, change the babies nappy, work and have a house, garden and garage – so why don’t I feel like a grown up.
Why is it that when you take all the responsibilities above into account do I still feel like a teenager (without the hormone riddled angst) having a good time.
I think the problem is that there’s no real definition of what a ‘modern’ grown up is – back in the days of black and white, one job for life, grimy dirty era – man, grown up man, would leave early, work, come home to eat and go to bed.
But in a modern, multi-choice era where it is as important for men to be an integral part of the family unit as it is for them to be at the centre of their work environment, in an era where you don’t just work to live – grown up means something different/.
When we say ‘I’m not ready to be grown up’ and I’m hearing it increasingly from my friends in their 20s and 30s (I’m 28) I think what we really mean is that I’m not ready to be boring.
The world is a different place and what it means to be grown up is a different thing – there was once a time (and I’m sure it is still there) when telling off a child meant actually telling them off, hitting, smacking, putting them in another room – punishment – but I can’t do any of that.
My wife can punish the children – she does the whole time out, take things away, shouty stuff brilliantly – but for me my children are an extension of me, they’re my friends – I don’t want to tell off the people I have wonderful philsophycal discussions about the world with every morning.
I want to engage them in debate, talk to them aboutwhy they won’t eat their vegetables and try to find a resolution to the conflict – my wife wants to put them in another room until they say uncle.
Who is the grown up? She is but then so am I – it’s jus tthat, as you can do multiple jobs and have completely different careers now – so can you have different types of grown ups.
But I only get to be the way I am because my wife is the way she is – do we still need ‘real grown ups’ to keep the rest of us in check?Damn right we do.
So I’l finish by saying universe bless the real grown ups, the ones who make food that isn’t covered in sauces and spice, the ones who know how to say ‘naughty boy’ and the ones who keep the rest of us from flying off into a world of comic book fantasy.
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