Diving cats

One lesson I learned on Saturday was that I don’t have much practice at parenting other than the weekends, which is like dropping a cat off the high dive into the deep end. Fortunately, there is a simple solution, since Mama is always looking for time to go to the gym.

I asked her to promise me that she’ll go to the gym every weeknight so I can get some practice parenting. Seems weird, right? Don’t parents just know what to do? I suppose that many do, and I also know that there are many like us, looking for a way to do things better. And why wouldn’t they be looking?

Since the Spock that was heard around the world, a cottage industry of parental advice has grown into an entrenched industry devoted to perfect parenting. I’m not after perfect parenting–but I do want something better tomorrow than we have today, and I want something better in 5, 10, 15 years and long after I’m gone. All that means that I have to start practicing today.

So far this week has been going well, although last night the kids wanted us all to go to the gym together, which is great for us as a family, but it meant that I had to sweat and suffer on a stationary bike for an hour while watching ESPN. That might seem to you like my dream evening, but I’d much rather ride at home on my own bike while watching le Tour de Fwonce.

The huge upside to it was not only that I still got my parenting practice in, but also that I got to sit on a bike next to Mama, my favorite riding partner, and chat. Just having her company made the sitting and spinning tolerable. And the huge upside for the kids was that they got to watch Mulan again. Yes…while we’re at the gym, they’re boobing out. Not quite sure what the fitness and health lesson is there…

To boost my fitness for every evening, I’m also reading a little bit from the book from our last parenting class on the bus home each evening. It not only helps remind me what I (theoretically) learned in the last class, but also helps me shift gears from dealing with adult coworkers to hanging out with my own kids.

Turns out all those people around me in school and college all those years who studied were really onto something. Who knew?

Other than all of them, I mean.

I’ll let you know how this gym/single dadding evening schedule continues to go, of course. If you haven’t already figured it out, all y’all are holding me accountable, even if you never say anything to me about my parenting skills, or lack thereof. Just knowing I’m going to tell you all about it is enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. And, by “straight and narrow,” I mean, of course, “chaotic, caring, unpredictable, courageous, fun, respectful, strange and kind.”

Which is sort of what you’d expect from a cat falling off the high dive into the deep end…OK, maybe just the chaotic part, but, you know, a little unpredictable, courageous and strange.