The advantages of being a parent

Anyone who thinks parenting is easy hasn’t had kids! Even coming from a large family didn’t prepare me for the sheer intensity and complications of having little ones totally reliant on me.

So when I overheard someone the other day claim parents have it easy, I nearly choked on my leftover Wiggles fruit bar.

He was referring to government payments, which is laughable as (a) not everyone gets them and (b) kids are more expensive to run than this guy’s sports car. But it got me thinking: we all know the negatives but are we, as parents, receiving secret advantages over those with proper sleep patterns?

Certainly in the event of maritime emergency, it’s the women and children who get out first but that doesn’t help me. I  can’t imagine “I’m a stay-at-home dad” would get me very far at the lifeboat station.

I suppose you could say I now have an excuse to go to kids movies but to be honest I did that without fear before becoming a parent.

Some would say you’ll never be bored again but to be frank sometimes sleep-deprived insanity makes boredom look like nirvana.

One benefit I have enjoyed however, is parent parking at shopping centres. Quite simply it reduces my hassle and makes things much safer for my girls. Friends without kids don’t understand and often rail at the perceived injustice being perpetrated upon them (#FirstWorldProblem much?) but when you have little ones who have no focus or attention span then the last place you want to be with them (or twins of them) is a space full of heavy death machines moving around.

As such I have learned to truly appreciate a parent-park which is closer to the footpath and shops thus greatly reducing risk and heart failure. For those of us struggling with enough problems it’s a sweet relief – and a rare perk – to be able to park close to the shops.

Which why I now become very angry when I see non-parents stealing those parks. I know I’m not alone. One of my friends, let’s call her Alice, was recently so enraged she lashed out at a lady, who responded haughtily with “I’m only going to be five to ten minutes”. Forty-five minutes later the lady was still parked there and laughing in a coffee shop which prompted Alice to leave a nasty note on her windscreen.

She punctuated this letter by breaking off the woman’s aerial and spiking the letter with it.

Not that I’m condoning letter-leaving, vigilante justice, or taking to the streets to fight crime: For starters most of us don’t look good in Lycra. And anyway, apparently we parents live the “good life”, according to some. We should just stay home and count the benefits of being a parent.

But to be honest, I’m struggling. You see, despite intense thought, (which lasted at least three, mostly uninterrupted minutes) and a Facebook plea, I couldn’t come up with much more in the way of tangible benefits outside of priority seating on planes. And while being let onto aircraft first is great, it doesn’t seem much compensation for the trials, tribulations and terror of raising children. And flying with them is hardly a paradise anyway.

To be fair though, those without kids don’t know that amazing feeling when you children run down the hallway with arms extended and their faces full of the purest joy at the mere sight of you. At that moment not even dirty nappies, sleepless nights and financial destitution matter. It lightens your heart and brings peace to the soul.

So to those people out there who think we’ve got it easy, you may be right in some senses but before you mouth off about it, I urge you to stop and consider the most important factor: Alice is out there somewhere and you don’t want to cross her.

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