Thursday, 9 April 2009

Split Personality Disorder

One of my favourite bad-taste gags has always been;

I am a schizophrenic, and so am I.

Bill Murray delivers it much better.

The problem now being, that the joke is somewhat upon me.

I am in parenting mode approximately 90% of the time, by my quick finger-in-the-air calculation, I do not need to have my son around to be in this mode, if I go to the football, or Max goes off to nursery, I am still in parenting mode, just awaiting our physical reacquaintance.

I will call it parental-standby-mode.

When in this state, both standby and full-on versions, I like to think, that while my mood is generally jovial, my language is as eloquent as it gets – for me – and cursing is minimised.

I am very proud of my record around the boy, for reasons that I will probably come to.

As a parent I get the respect of others, my opinion is valued – I hope – and I am confident and comfortable being the best father I can possible be, without overstretching myself, of course.

I am laid back, yet consistent, and sure in my decision making - generally. I go to toddler groups, I paint, I bake fairy cakes, I bounce on the trampoline, I garden, I dance, I sing, I swim, I walk, I go to farms, I visit museums, I push swings, I cook, I look after other kids, I seek guidance, I respect others, I read, I listen, I tease, I feed, I bathe, I repair, I praise, I reward, I discipline, I ignor, I focus on the positive, I encourage, I comfort, I nurture.

In my humble opinion; I am a ‘nice’ person.

Then there is the other ‘me’.

The me that does not really know where the line of decency is, the me that swears like a tourette-riden-angry-groundworker, the me that seeks attention by shouting and doing the inappropriate, the me that irritates, mocks and insults, the me that drinks to excess, the me that can disregard peoples’ feelings, the me that appears to care about very little.

This me would make an infinitely more interesting character on Skins.

He comes out when the reigns of parenting are unshackled.

He does not need a drink to be this way, just needs to know that he is without direct responsibility for his child for the duration of at least one night.

Both these personalities are happy folk, yet ridiculously different from each other.

My genius sister, and some of my other close friends, actually see my happiness, and grotesque, ratios in the later state, as proportionate. The more abusive I am, the happier I am too.

I do not disagree.

It is my odd nature.

Since I lost my wife, I have had to find my happiness in other things, and I very much see my period as a husband, and all-to-short-stint as a 2.4 family, as my peak time.

It may always be that way.

But I am definitely not unhappy with my lot, how could I be?

Other suggest the absence of my wife, means that my behaviour is not controlled, or reigned-in, as perhaps it was in those days.

In part I agree.

My wife, was not suppressive of my behaviour, I genuinely believe she loved me the way I was, or am.

She would more so give an opinion I respected, when needed, as mine had become a little skewed.

It would sound like she was shouting at me, but trust me, that is what was really happening.

The much more important thing she did, was to take care of my inner-puppy.

The one that, while completely daft, desired attention, and a figurative stick to fetch.

That puppy did not die with her, even though he did take an extended holiday.

I am not saying I need to change anything, or I seek a remedy to this situation, I really do not see it as a problem, more an observation of the growing divide in the two existences I seem to lead.

Who knows, it may even be a healthy way to live.

At times, it certainly seems so to me....

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Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

Such a gorgeous photo.
Sounds to me like you're striking a pretty perfect balance.
Plus you mentioned the fabulous Bill Murray in the same post that had me on the edge of tears - and that's no mean feat!

Maternal Tales said...

By the sounds of things you're doing a brilliant job. And to be in parenting mode for 90% of the time is pretty damn hard for anyone. Whatever side is the real you, you deserve to be whoever it is you are, either way.

SciFi Dad said...

I hate to break it to you, but you're not sick, you're human. If you were Mr. Daddy all the time, you'd go insane. The model we present to our children is extreme for the purposes of demonstration; we don't expect them to be THAT good, but we want to show them as much as we can, as often as we can.

Now, if you could swear like a tourette-riden-angry-groundworker and drink to excess WHILE baking fairy cakes, then I'd be impressed.

Laura said...

That is a STUNNING photo!!!

See this is why I need you at my birthday dinner party :) You a wild child when set free!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Beautiful photo. You are a lot of things and you mention them in that lovely paragraph. But I have come to realise that you are a wonderful father and a hugely decent human being.

CJ xx

andy said...

only 2 personalities? i am SO ahead of the game: i have mom andrea, girlfriend andrea, worker bee andrea, stranger andrea, and "get what i want by flirting" andrea.

but i'm a little messed up. so 2 is probably better;)

and fairy cakes? OMG! i haven't had them in years since i was visiting my nan and she kept making them for me because my ass couldn't get enough...sigh. must google recipe.

and i cannot trampoline bounce unless i have just gone pee. 3 kids, nuff said. kegals can only do so much.

have an awesome day with your beautiful babe!

Karen said...

Gorgeous photo. It seems like your doing an excellent job. I think i have at least 3 other personalities.

The Dotterel said...

Sounds a pretty healthy balance to me, too - we're all suffering from multiple-personality disorder to a certain extent. It's what makes human beings so interesting!

Krystal said...

There has to be a balance between the lives we lead - we all have a "work" life, a "family" life and a "personal" life. I know i am different in each aspect and at times I am the most courteous professional person, others I am a child at play, and well the others I curse like a drunken sailor - but it is a cathartic output we need to be ourselves, and by golly, you are doing great at it!

T said...

This is SOOOOOOO me!

There's this "Mommy" character who does much of what you describe.

And then there's... well, my friends lovingly refer to her as "Vodka Tonya"... because, yeah, the reasons you stated above.

I think we need to let loose. We can only be nice for so long, right?

Now to find someone who will accept both sides of us/me... like your lovely wife did. If it happened once, it can happen again.

Single Parent Dad said...

Tara - Thanks for that comment.

Maternal Tales - I'm confortable being either, but probably not one without the other.

SciFi Dad - Sounds like a challenge for my next Vimeo upload.

Laura - Wild, without child. Tis true.

CJ - What a lovely comment.

Andy - Well, I was going to squeeze in the fact that I made a pretty decent husband too.

Karen - Thanks.

The Dotterel - You're right.

Krystal - Thanks. Quality usage of 'by golly' too.

T - Too right. And I certainly hope so.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Like you said, even when you are married you have duo personalities. Like the one you are when the spouse and kids are around... for ME it is ever seeming like I am on TOP of everything...but when they are away and I have a full 24 hours or more to myself...

My lazy lounge around slob comes out. :)

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

There's nothing truly wrong with having two sides of yourself. We all want to be what we are which are Parents and Young Fun people. Sometimes it's very hard to get the Young Fun version because we are always in Parent mode. But by allowing the Fun version out every now and then is healthy.
You've had a rough deal thrown at you in life but you seem to be handling it with greatness. I saw your video of your son the other day. Really, how could a dad that makes his son that happy be bad?
Live for you and your son, you can do both.

nixdminx said...

You're suffering from SMOTLS - single mums on the loose syndrome - it's not uncommon.

Many of my friends go completely potty ( the madness not the toilet kind ) when given leave of absence. It's a weird existence but I love it!! Happy Easter to you

Mama Nabi said...

I think a lot of us are crazy teenagers trapped in respectable AND responsible parents' bodies. Love the photo!

MindyMom said...

The picture says it all. ;)

Leanne said...

Its good to vent every now and again. No parent can be "on" all the time.

I swear like a sailor when Toots isn't around and I can bake fairy cakes and all the other stuff but trampolices are out cause of the twins.

Robert said...

I've got SPD big time -

I'm a dad, a grandad, a husband & a businessman.

Somehow it all adds up to just me.

Single Parent Dad said...

Shelle-Blok Thoughts - Lazy lounging, I like that too.

Blogging Mama Andrea - I think so too. It was more an observation than identifying a problem.

Nixdminx - Thank you, and I think you could be right.

Mama Nabi - Indeed.

MindyMom - Good isn't it.

Leanne - Bouncing the twins could be fun, for us anyway.

Robert - There's a mode for all occasions, I had the ability to be very different at work I suppose.

Gen-ius said...

I think you're both cool...

LyN said...

i think it is the contrasts and the spaces in between our many dimensions that makes humans so interesting... if you were in one mode all of the time, don't you think you would get bored?
too much perfection, or too much rebellion, would throw our balance off-kilter.
i say keep doing what you do, and may i add that that paragraph about cooking and painting and baking and repairing was pretty much my entire "Dream Man/Future Husband Material"

Single Parent Dad said...

Gen-ius - Thank you.

LyN - Lovely comment. How.Are.We.Fixed?

LyN said...

(i need help understanding your lingo sometimes, which i Looove btw)..

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