If you’ve been reading this for any length of time, you know enough about me to know that I have three children that I’m very proud of. They make each day a pleasure to live, and I cannot wait to get home from work to be with them.
So with that being said, there’s a part that I fail to mention. They piss me off…Often. As much as I would like to portray that everything is great all the time, we all know that’s not how the real world works. Our children are exasperating. At least mine are, I don’t know about yours, but I would assume so.
In a recent entry titled Be Here, I discussed how your presence, my presence – our presence so necessary for our little ones. When I did not discuss, and probably should have, is how trying they can be. They’ve got nothing better to do people. The purpose of their lives is to test limits and boundaries, and try patience to see what they can get away with. It makes me crazy sometimes…Most of the time. I love them, I really do, and I know of nothing as beautiful and as remarkable as my little ones, all 3 of them are spectacular. I do not write about my teenager much, but that is for her. She’s a teenager, and that’s that. She deserves a little bit of privacy, and I try to respect that. The 4 and 7 year old on the other hand- they are fair game. Sometimes though, I just don’t know what to do with them.
Have you ever gotten to that place- the place where you test your own capability for compassion? I feel like I do it all the time, probably too often. I see myself as a patient guy, I don’t let to many things get under my skin, and I try to treat people the way that I would like to be treated. But sometimes, my beautiful perfect little people direct me past the point that I’m capable of returning from. I am after all a human, it is what happens next that dictates the course of a whole day at times.
The path of the dark side
I go all Mad Max Beyond Thunder dome and make a kid cry. Wow, what a dick, making your own kid cry…well guess what? That is exactly what happens. I am a big meaner-face and little girls and boys run to timeout in tears. That is usually where I exit and berate myself for disciplining them in the first place. I am usually harder on myself than I ever could be on them, as it should be.
The path of the light
I try to keep cool, explain, rationalize, and negotiate the surrender of the fight as quickly as possible. At times, this works quite well. If the fit in question is over Legos, video games, or ice cream, then forget it. Gandhi would yell at my kids over Legos. The bottom line is: pick your battles. My wife calls it helicopter parenting, that is, hovering over kids to keep ’em in line. That is no fun for anyone – us or them.
Do I know what is best?
Am I an exemplary parent?
Sometimes, but we all have our moments.
The moral of the story is simple:
Don’t beat yourself up over being in charge. Someone’s got to do it.