The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


The Parents Worse Nightmare …

Being a parent is – for me at least – one of the most wonderful and rewarding experiences I’ve had in my life.

That said, it comes with pressure.

Not just in terms of ensuring your kid has a happy and healthy environment to grow up in, but that you balance your parenting time with also being an active and engaged employee in whatever job you do.

We are incredibly fortunate that Jill chose – and was able – to stay at home throughout Otis’ infancy and only now – as he has started school – is she contemplating going back to work. I am absolutely in no doubt this has enabled me to manage my Dad and work commitments in a way that – hopefully – has not let anyone down.

But as I said, we are lucky because frankly, I don’t know how single parents do it.

In a World where employers expect more and more from their employees – the ability to perform at a any level and still be a functioning, loving, caring parent is amazing.

I have nothing but utter admiration for single parents and the children – who adapt to the situation in ways that are remarkable – because I am unsure whether I would ever be able to achieve the same thing.

The reason I am writing this post is that I recently read the lyrics to the song ‘Cats In The Cradle’.

It’s an old song, resurrected in popularity by Ugly Kid Joe in the 90’s, but it could easily pass as a story about parenting … a horror story about parenting.

I don’t mean this because it features death or ghosts or the afterlife, but because it warns you about what can happen if you let your priorities get screwed up.

Have a read [but if you start, you have to read it all] … because while it was written in 1974, if you’re a working parent, it’s as relevant today as it ever was.

You have been warned.

My child arrived just the other day;
Came to the world in the usually way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
He was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it.
And as he grew he said,
“I’m gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I’m gonna be like you.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, my son turned ten just the other day.
He said , “Thanks for the ball, Dad. Come on, let’s play.
Could you teach me to throw ?” I said, “Not today.
I got a lot to do.” He said, “That’s okay.”
And he walked away and he smiled and he said,
“You know, I’m gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I’m gonna be like him.”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
“I’m proud of you. Could you sit for a while ?”
He shook his head and he said with a smile,
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please ?”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man on the moon.
“When you comin’ home ?”
“Son, I don’t know when.
We’ll get together then.
You know we’ll have a good time then.”

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
“I’d like to see you, if you don’t mind.”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu,
But it’s sure nice talkin’ to you, Dad.
It’s been sure nice talkin’ to you.”
And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.


24 Comments

Those song lyrics are darker and scarier than anything produced by Norwegian death metal bands.

Comment by George

Absolutely scarier and darker.

Comment by Pete

What if Otis wishes you spent more time at work rather than bother him and his mates? Maybe he could write a sequel to the song, “keep the cats busy”.

Comment by Bazza

I fully expect it to happen.

Comment by Rob

I agree Robert, a truly scary story hidden in a classic song.

Never let work get so much of you that you don’t have enough for your family. There may be times where this is not always easy, but it is a lesson I found to be the most important.

Comment by Lee Hill

Yep … the other thing I continually remind myself is what Otis thinks is important may be different to what I do. Which is why I go to the park a lot to watch him cause havoc on the swings, hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Is that your excuse for watching episodes of Transformers.

Comment by DH

My father wasn’t around much during my childhood. I accepted his job took him away from me a few weeks per month but I found it much more difficult when he said he was too tired to play when he was home.

I know now he was tired from the travel and pressure of his job but his work robbed me of my father during the most important years of my childhood. We have made up for this over the years but when I had my 3 girls it was important we made rules with work about what we would and would not accept.

We were very fortunate to be in a position to do this but it was for more reasons than letting them feel our love and involvement in their lives, but to create the example we hope they follow should they have children.

Comment by Mary Bryant

George is so lucky he met you.

Comment by Bazza

I’m even luckier that I managed to convince her to keep me around.

Thanks for sharing your story Mary. I know how personal that is to you. The good news is the way your dad is with the girls shows you helped him learn his lesson. Perhaps a little too much ; )

Comment by George

Almost at Rob Campbell levels of lucky.

Comment by Bazza

That is like winning the lottery every week for a century.

Comment by Pete

You do remember I can read this don’t you?

Comment by Rob

Do you want me to hit him Mary, or will you?

Comment by Rob

Thank you Robert. George has been dealt with.

Comment by Mary Bryant

I knew the song and liked it.
That was until you pointed out the lyrics.

Comment by Pete

Harry Chapin died way too young.

Comment by John

Good post about the impact of cheap knock-offs.

Comment by John

This blog was made for that.

Comment by Bazza

this blog is one. the fucking cheapest one.

Comment by andy@cynic

Cheaper than a $1 store in Idaho.

Comment by DH

If I was your kid I’d want you to work as many hours as you could. Though I get you and working are rarely mentioned in the same sentence.

Comment by DH

the only thing campbell works hard on are fucking freebies.

Comment by andy@cynic

cats in the cradle? ugly kid fucking joe?
and people say youre out of fucking date.

Comment by andy@cynic




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