I always try to tie my posts into reality. I mean, there are a ton of perfect parents out there and I guess I don’t fit that mold. More often than not, my parenting successes are followed by an inward sigh of relief for not fucking things up. Sometimes I read these posts by what I can only assume are the most thoughtful, patient, kind and caring parents only to feel bad because I called one of my children a dick under my breath. I’m not jealous of these parents abilities at holding their kid close at all times and skipping to the latest Disney movie in family bliss. I don’t size up my family to theirs in professional photographs, of moments filled with photoshopped happiness. Maybe because, through all the love and adoration they post online, you kind of have to feel sorry for the blatant bullshit they so desperately hope you, a stranger, believes.
At this exact moment, Hozier drifts through the speakers to battle with the sounds of Doc Mcstuffins on the television. A newborn is passed out in his rocker, dead to all the noise around him. The boys are half in my lap passing my Bruins cap between the three of our heads. They go from jamming to Hozier to watching Doc and giggling. It is peaceful and calm, everyone is getting along. The house looks tidy, toys are mostly picked up and a broom might have even touched the floor today.
This is parenting.
two hours ago…
I was in the bathroom. No, I did not need to use the facilities. I had a Monster energy drink and was updating my Facebook. Outside the door the baby played in his little gym, looking at the dangling sun, smiling. His brothers on the other hand, were fighting over basketball rights. As banshee screams and meltdowns echoed through the house, I sat in the bathroom. Enjoying my Monster and catching up on the cyber world.
You’re probably thinking to yourself right about now,
“Why would he admit to that?”
Am I right?
This is parenting.
It was eight in the morning. Diana had just left for work. I had just finished feeding the kids breakfast before their basketball tantrum started. I was going through the motions of the day, getting everyone set up for what I can hope is a good day. When the fight over the basketball started, one of three exactly identical basketballs mind you, I just wasn’t ready to parent. I didn’t want to choose sides and I didn’t want to yell. In that moment I wanted some peace and quiet. I needed it, instead of lashing out at my children in a groggy state.
So, I did what I do when my kids have me feeling ever so slightly overwhelmed. I took a bathroom breather.
Yeah. I hid from my children.
This is parenting.
I work overnights. From 10 pm to 6 am you can find me picking things up and putting them down. After work I come home and try to catch as many winks of sleep I can before hitting up the dad zone. My wife and I both make sacrifices to make this family work. I sacrifice sleep.
On a good day I can get five hours of rest before being thrown into a chaotic mess of toddlers, toys, and tantrums. On less than good days I get twenty minutes.
And on those less than good days, I hide in the bathroom. Two, three, maybe five times I retreat to that bathroom to collect myself.
I would rather be known as a dad who avoids his kids when he is annoyed than be known as a dad who lashes out at his sons in anger without thinking. Don’t get me wrong, it happens, but I try to curb occurrences with potty cool downs.
I look around to the mess of my house. My walls are covered with hand prints. Toys spread across the floor waiting for a clean up that probably won’t happen anytime soon. I am sure you could find forgotten Cheerios if you went sofa searching.
Looking at the kitchen you can see dishes piled in the sink, waiting for someone to need a bowl. The funny thing is we clean. It just can never stay that way, no matter how hard we try. An especially bad day of tantrums, coupled with a long night of work. The housework falls to the wayside, as we fall exhausted to our pillows.
This is parenting
I assume that many parents go through this, regardless of child count in their house. Being a perfect parent is HARD. I want to clean and maintain a clean household. My wife wants to clean and maintain a clean household. At the end of the day it is difficult! My kids favorite activity is to recreate scenes from Twister, as they thrash any evidence of us being cleanly folk.
This is parenting.
It is a never ending mess of toys and tears.
Sure, I am complaining. Not about my kids or anything. I am complaining because I am tired of seeing these posts which make parents out to feel like shit for taking moments away for themselves. I am tired of people trying to pretend that they took a picture in the corner of a room because of the lighting and not the mess on the other side of the room.
This is not parenting.
Who do we have to talk to about pulling this dribble off the internet? Tearing down these sites of Stepford wives and Dads of the Year. There has got to be more parents out there tired of being fed condescending spoonfuls of bullshit that only lowers their confidence in ability. One of the major reasons you wont see me on popular blog sites geared towards parents is because I don’t want to participate in lying or pretending my hair isn’t one tantrum from being torn out.
Parenting is toys and tears. it’s messes and mistakes. It’s growth, for both child and parent. Sometimes it’s a calm day on the couch. Most days, it’s a cluttered house and a parent hidden in a bathroom. Stop wasting your time reading the dribble, enjoy the real and know you’re not alone.
And that, is parenting.
The inspiration for this piece came from a good friend and mother to eight boys. Check out her post it ties in quite well with these sentiments.
Tune in next week when I sell out and pretend to have parenting under control for a spot on one of those sites! Just kidding, they would never accept me. Can’t accept what I would never submit.