“You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father.” — Tod Higgins in Parenthood
Anyone can have a kid. Not everyone can be a parent. It’s an impossible gig from the onset but the difficulty level quadruples when people try to be the perfect parental unit. There is no such thing as perfect parenting. Perfect only happens in pitching performances and Suki Waterhouse’s ass in a pair of boyshorts.
I’m kind-of an authority on the topic. I’ve got kids. I was trusted to care for two tiny humans. I was also trusted to write a book to help other bros raise little humans. I’m doing a decent job as a parent but the book, The New Dad Dictionary, is now available!
The good news for people procreating on purpose — there is time (sometimes years or at the very least nine months) to work on personal stuff before the kid slides out of her vagina like a sip of water from a mouth numbed by novocaine. Most of the hard work involves your own life.
There are tell-tale signs that a guy will make a terrible dad. Even if he can’t see it, others will easily point it out. Here are six sure-fire signs you’re going to be an awful father — unless you make some serious changes.
You’re Too Self-Involved
The decade of life between 21 and 29 years of age should be dubbed the “Me Decade” because it’s the only person who matters in life. Eventually, a guy grows up and grows out of only caring about himself. This usually happens when he’s in a relationship. Some men never stop thinking about their own wants and needs first.
I’d make the claim that everything in life goes on the back burner when a kid arrives but that’s a lie. The back burner is also for the kids. A man’s interests, wants, needs and aspirations get jammed into the oven with the broiler set to high so they burn up into charred memories within minutes. If you can’t handle the pause button on your life stuck on a really crappy scene for at least ten years, you shouldn’t even consider having a kid.
You’ve Got Zero Patience
Axl Rose crooned in the Guns N’ Roses classic tune that “all you need is a just a little…” and then he whistled for like forty minutes at the end of the song then probably banged a stripper under a Ramada Inn restroom sink. Patience isn’t all you need but it’s pretty damn important in the grand scheme of raising kids. With age comes a little more patience, so you’ve still got time. Ironically, the stripper Axl had under that filthy sink? Her stage name was Patience. True story I just made up.
Here’s a good test of your patience — volunteer for just one day in a nursing home. The random dumps in the pants and the hours of crying for attention, caring for senior citizens is eerily similar to caring for a newborn child. If you can last the day with the “Can’t Get Along” Gang you’d probably survive the first few years of tending to a toddler.
If you don’t want volunteer then just got watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. You’ll figure it out long before they kill off that little kid.
You’ve Got Addictions
Got a drinking problem? Fan of the nose candy? Snort half your paycheck up your nose? Need to watch seven dudes peeing on a girl to get off? You’re probably a US Senator AND you’ve got serious addictions that must be handled before a kid even enters the life discussion.
Recent studies show a strong genetic component in relation to addiction, particularly for early onset of alcoholism in men. Sons of alcoholic fathers are at fourfold risk compared with the male offspring of non-alcoholic fathers. And it’s not just booze and blow. Addictions come in many shapes and sizes, scopes and severity, and if youhaven’t got them under control at least 97.6% of the time you shouldn’t be raising (or maybe even around) children.
Your addictions will become their addictions, or even worse — they’ll take your seat in the Senate.
You Plan on Creating Another You
I’m just as guilty as anyone with this next problem but I’ve gotten much better dealing with the idea that kids aren’t created just to get right all the things you screwed up in life. They also aren’t the chance to recreate the perfect little clone. If you’re excited about being a parent for either of those reasons you’re going to be in for a huge surprise when the kid either completely rebels against your agenda pushing (and tosses his hand-made Yoda costume you spent months on in the dumpster) or does it just to make you happy — only to turn against it and you in the end.
You’ve Still Got Your Own Parent Issues
I’ve heard this statement, in different variations and levels of inebriation, from countless fathers over the years. “I just want to do a better job than my old man.” The fact is that your old man really didn’t do that bad of a job (maybe he did but we’ll get around to that problem) and a lot of the bad feelings are just a reaction to your own shortcomings that you now blame on your dad.
You play college baseball because dad never took you to shag fly balls or you never became a Pulitzer Prize-winning author because your dad didn’t pat you on the ass for that awful poem you penned in the fifth grade. The honest truth is you just sucked at baseball and your stanzas are for shit and it’s got little to do with your old man. You’ve got daddy (or possibly mommy) issues. It could be justified because…
Your Old Man Was a Terrible Father
As I said in the introduction to this piece, anyone can make a kid. Even assholes. Your dad could very well be a massive asshole. It’s the hand you were dealt. Sadly, just like addiction, jerkoffs tend to raise other jerkoffs and the cycle of bad parenting continues. A good litmus test is to ask other people their impressions of your father, not as a parent, but as a person. If people find it hard to say anything nice about the guy, he was probably a massive penis.
There is a slight possibility you could make a great parent, even with a terrible father, but the chances are slim.
If you’ve got any, or all, of these issues you’re going to want to keep the little kid in your pants wrapped up for a few more years.