I’m In A Fight Club With My Son
Last night, my 12-year-old son attacked me.
I was innocently putting on my night cream when he grabbed me by the knees and wrestled me to the floor.
I couldn’t breathe… not because I was hurt, but because I was laughing so hard.
You see, it was all part of our nightly Fight Club. And yes, I know the first rule of Fight Club is to deny even its mere existence (or a line that sounds something like that), but it’s so good for us, so much fun, I’ve gotta share. I want every parent to know about our Fight Club -- especially the mums, who are often led to believe that rough play isn’t part of their role.
Let me assure you, it is. *bounces on toes and double jabs the air*
I've been a sole parent for a decade, and people ask how I handle the ‘man’ moments with my son. When I say people, I mean very, very brave people.
In our home, there’s two folks: me and my kid. There are absolutely no gender roles -- why would there be? And, we are certainly not hanging around for a man to come along and teach my child how to be a ‘macho man’; because precisely none of that is relevant in 2019.
I strongly believe that rough play has a big role in childhood; it’s physical activity, connectivity, shows them their strengths and helps them to understand personal space. And I 100 percent believe it’s not just a man’s domain: I’m not trying to ‘be his dad’ when we’re wrestling, I’m just being a (brilliant) parent.
Okay, so back to Fight Club -- this is my humble explanation of how and why I came up with this completely inspired and genius idea.
It began about a year ago, when my son turned 11, and started laying down some rules about his personal space. Not to be dramatic or anything, but those boundaries killed me. They were a dagger to my heart. They were introduced abruptly, and I was emotionally unprepared.
So, there I was, only allowed to kiss and hug him on his terms. I was faced with a Sophie’s Choice: either continue to uncomfortably force my affection upon him, or come up with a new plan.
I didn’t want to come up with a new plan. But then one day I realised I could do something we’d been doing for years, and just give it a more grown-up name: Fight Club.
At first, I introduced what I called Friday Night Fight Club as a way to celebrate the weekend. We’d get home, chuck our bags down, kick our shoes off, and begin a slow circle around the living room.
Yes, we are pissing ourselves laughing as we do this, and yes, I am doing moves from The Karate Kid in the air because why wouldn’t I?
Then I call “Go!” and we rush at each other in a fit of giggles because it’s so ridiculous.
Fifteen to 20 minutes of wrestling and pretend punching ensues. There’s lots of melodramatic screeching (me) and ignoring of the safe word (my kid).
We found that FNFC was such a great way to connect and release energy, we now do it most nights, in between the day being done, and dinner.
As a tween boy, I think my son loves FC because it’s a silly free-for-all with me; I’m not talking about what we need to do, or plan, or giving instructions. We’re in the moment. We’re laughing hysterically.
And yeah, I’m getting my mum-touching in -- but don’t tell him I said that.
There will be a time when my boy won’t want to do Fight Club; when I can’t use it as an excuse to get close to his freckled-face and inhale his revolting but oh-so-special-to-me before-shower smell.
So, even if I’m tired, or even if a jar of nice face cream goes flying out of my hand as it did when I was tackled last night, I’ll keep doing Fight Club for as long as I can.
For as long as my child-man will allow it.