What Is Baby Aggro?
Baby aggro is when you’re neck-deep in thought or a project and your sweet little bundle of joy desperately needs your attention for something. The importance of that “something” varies significantly. As a full-time stay-at-home dad and full-time web developer, I get that baby-aggro all the time. So how do I get anything done? How do I stay relevant within my niche? The short answer is a lot of effort and yelling.
In this series, I’m going to go over my experience as a father and a professional freelancer. In this first article, I’m going to talk a lot about my kids. They’re a lot of work – way more work than any project I’ve ever had. But I don’t think they’re uniquely difficult children. They’re just kids being kids, learning and wanting and watching and loving everything I do.
Children Are Challenging
But yes, they are challenging. In fact, between the end of the previous sentence and the beginning of this one, I had to take a small break to yell at my eldest, Gid, for jumping on his brother (who is 11 months). Kids are tough, guys. They’re little menaces more often than not, but they’re learning and growing every day.
My kids are challenging. They challenge my authority, my determination, my patience. But they also challenge me to be a better dad and developer.
Children Are Determined
Kids are determined to get what they want. By the age of 2, Gideon had learned how to push a dining room chair around the house so that he could reach places he couldn’t otherwise reach. By 3, he added the office stool to the mix, giving him another 3 feet or more of reach. This boy literally engineered a way to get to the top of the fridge so that he could get his Holloween candy.
If I could learn to be as determined as my children, I’d be unstoppable! To be 2 years old, maybe 2 feet tall and see something you want 6-7 feet in the air; then have the ingenuity to get that thing? Man, that’s impressive. My Holloween candy is financial success, raising 2(+) children into great adults, and being the best husband I can be. But most days I’m still struggling to get that dining room chair to budge.
When kids see something they want, they’re going to get it one way or another. They don’t care how they do it and they don’t understand the consequences. All they want is that thing. Most days, that thing is my attention.
Children Are Inconsiderate
Man is that an understatement. These little ankle biters will push their way through any situation with no thought of how their actions affect others.
I’ve been on phone calls with customers when Gideon decided that he too was going to be on a phone call. He ran and found his play phone, then made sure he was right next to me when he started yelling into his play phone about who knows what. To him, it was a very important work call. To me and my client, it was incredibly distracting. Which lends itself nicely to my next point!
Children Are Loud. So, So Loud
As I’m writing this, I have 2 screaming children in the background. Liam seems to have fallen when learning to walk and Gid is pretending to be a firetruck? I’m not entirely sure anymore. Parents will tell you that they learn to tune their children out. I don’t buy it. I, and probably the entire neighborhood, still hear everything these little ones do. Learning to work through the noise is a skill.
When the kids are being especially loud, I find that some headphones and light music helps to drown them out. :) And since my office is in the middle of their playroom (for now) it’s not like they are ever far enough away to get into serious trouble.
My business requires me to have several meetings a week. I try to schedule them during the kids’ nap time, but it’s not always that predictable or doable. My kids are not an excuse to get out of meetings, but if they’re being particularly loud … let’s just say rescheduling for a few minutes later after I have a heart-to-heart with my kids is a must.
Children Are Not Patient
So not only are kids loud, inconsiderate, and determined … they are in no way patient. Whatever it is that Gid or Liam wants, they want that now. These two are at the fun age where they’re old enough to know what “no” means, but don’t actually listen (the first-time). Not to mention in Gid’s case, “no” is just the precursor to “why.” To be honest, everything is a precursor to “why” for Gid, right now.
Can I have ice cream for breakfast?
No, Gid. Ice cream is for dessert at night time.
Children Are So Worth It
Disclaimer: I’m not trying to infer that you need children to validate anything. They’re a choice two adults decide to make together when starting a family. ;)
I love Gid and Liam and can barely remember my life before them. They are difficult, determined, loud, inpatient little creatures, but they challenge me to be a better man. My heart truly goes out for those who are unable to make little beasts like them. Words aren’t enough to convey my sympathies.
Most days, being a stay-at-home dad and a professional feels like doing life on hard mode. But it’s a choice I made, and I’m so glad I did.
I’m Not A Parenting Expert
Look, I don’t have it all figured out. I’m not an expert parent. In fact, most days I wouldn’t even call myself “good” at it. I only have 3 years of experience after all. But team Zeal is figuring it out as we go and I think we’re doing alright. :)
In the next article, which I’ll publish later this week, I’ll talk about how customers and children relate. Specifically, how your customers are not your children – and that’s a good thing!