Comedian Jim Gaffigan's Advice to Parents: 'It Only Gets Worse'
Whoever said that parenting gets easier over time, is well, mistaken and comedian Jim Gaffigan is here to tell you why.
The stand-up comedian, author and father of five has taken the stage many times to discuss his experiences of parenting and complain (as parents often do) about his young children Jack, Marre, Katie, Michael and Patrick. His brutal honesty not only offers laughs, but comfort to parents who can relate to his perspective on new parenthood.
Gaffigan's latest discovery as told on CBS Sunday Morning is insightful and candid: being the father of five *older* children is hard and terrifying.
Throughout his comedic career, Gaffigan has offered many useful tips, and anecdotes about the struggles he faced as a father from traveling with his family to potty training and everything in between. At one point he even said, "Parenting is a cult. And as a cult member, you can try to explain it to other people, but we just appear like lunatics."
But none of that compares to parenting older children. "Having five young children was a beautiful thing," Gaffigan jokes. "I know that now, because I presently have five NOT young children, and my life is absolutely horrible. I remember thinking, 'If we could just get these kids out of diapers, our lives will be so easy," he continues.
Now as a father of older kids, Gaffigan has one bold revelation to share: "I guess my message to the parents of young children is this: It doesn't get better. It gets worse."
Gaffigan's parenting advice is helpful because it can teach parents to figure out what parenting style they wish to embody. Do they want to be authoritarian, authoritative, or permissive? Do they want to raise children the way they were raised or opt for a different approach entirely? Despite their respective approach, Gaffigan's message is clear: parenting remains challenging no matter what stage it's at, but the bigger the kids, the bigger the problems.
Sure, many parents hold the perception that once their newborns and toddlers graduate from diapers into "big kid" underwear and their daily routines include high school instead of daycare, life will be easier and difficulties will subside. Though older kids may be closer to adulthood, it does not mean parenting eases, the issues once small are confronted with changes.
For instance, older kids need to be taught skills like driving a car, or navigating the college or higher education process. In our current political climate, it may also mean teaching children how to understand economic and social issues. Just like children are experiencing these milestones in their lives, parents are learning how to guide them through it. This is a lesson that Gaffigan himself experienced.
"It's for the best that I didn't realize that the smell of a full diaper was sweet compared to the odor of a teenage boy's anything," Gaffigan jokes.
Teenage and adult children are a whole new world for parents. So, what can parents learn from Gaffigan as they, and their kids, grow up?
Adaptability and patience. Parenting evolves through generations and so will the issues parents face through the different stages, but the key is to grow with your child.
Surely Gaffigan will have many more jokes and insights to offer as he experiences parenting older children. We can't wait.