Now I love my kids, but…
Whatever I write after that sentence is going to be horrible, right? I just spent 3 weeks with my 3 kids all day, every day. I’m not looking for any sympathy because I know I won’t get any, but can I say it was really hard for me? Like really hard. We had a lot of fun and did a lot of cool things, but I still feel exhausted from it. I had a weekend away with my wife and I started back to work today, so I’ve had a little bit of reflection time about my 3-week boot camp. I’ve got 3 positive and 3 negative things to say. Which should I start with? Positive or Negative? Eenie Meenie Miney Moe… Ok Positive.
I’m Thankful My Kids Are Alive, Happy, and Healthy
I’ve spoken with parents where those aspects are not true and it can be truly heartbreaking. I hope everyone knows that when I write this, there’s a certain amount of tongue pressed against my cheek. I am so thankful I have my kids, and ironically I want more. I feel like an even number allows me to pair them off in ways that will create less work for me, but then I can keep them just divided enough so they don’t team up against me (i.e. like what the United Nations did in the Middle East.)
I Like How Different My Kids Are
Part of the difficulty is that they all like different things and want to play differently; but I like how unique they are. I hope they always stay interesting. I mean, who would want all their kids to be doctors or astronauts or magicians. It’s way more interesting to have one of each. I feel like I got to know them better as little people. They might all be sociopaths, but I do just kind of like them.
I’m Floating Better Than I Have in My Whole Life
The kids want to go swimming constantly. I thought that was supposed to be great exercise, but there’s just no way that my caloric intake of ice cream, chicken nuggets, and mac & cheese could compensate (does “mac” stand for macaroni or macaroni and cheese?). I notice how much fatter I am, but the bright side is I float like that inflatable orca with handles. My kids don’t need their water wings because they literally can treat my body like they’re playing king of the raft.
Now for the Negative.
My Children Invoked Absolute Psychological Warfare on Me
They isolated me.
Limited my sleep.
Wouldn’t let me poop.
They made me live in squalor.
They interrupted any semblance of an adult conversation.
They would repeat my name “daddy” 7,000,000 times a day, and at least half those times not have anything they really needed.
They tortured me.
I don’t know how stay-at-home moms stay sane. How do I get to poop in peace? How do you clean faster than they destroy? How do you not lose brain cells from helping with their schoolwork and watching their asinine TV shows? How do you not just lose all coherence of who you are as a person?
I Lost All Motivation to Do Anything Else At All
I work some exhausting days at times (I don’t mean physically, I don’t work hard physically ever) but I can come home, cook dinner, play with the kids, brush their teeth, read a Bible story, put them to bed, watch some TV and then knock out another couple hours of work at night without skipping a beat. But after dealing with my kids all day, I didn’t want to do nothin’. I even lost my ability to communicate on a sentient level. The kids sucked all the drive out of me.
I Think There Might Be Such Thing as Quality Time
I used to say, “there’s no such thing as quality time… there’s just time.“ You either spend time with your kids or you don’t. My point was, I didn’t want dads to see their kids every other weekend and call it “quality time” to let themselves off the hook from really being involved in their kids lives. But just like chocolate fudge or cheesecake you can have too much of a good thing. I think I’m a better parent 2 ½ hours a day. The real truth is imagine someone who played soccer back in high school and then was thrown into an NFL training camp practice. There are some muscles that have just never been used and you are going to be hurting in ways you didn’t think were possible. I think that’s what happened to me. I need to increase my children intake to 2-a-days before attempting anything like what I just did.
Man, I’m thankful for my church family jumping in a couple times over those 3 weeks. I couldn’t have done it without them. If you aren’t actually involved and connected with a church, I highly recommend it. Other parents can be a real life-saver. Also, if you know any single-moms or single-dads or other parental units that you know just don’t get out of the house often; offer to watch their kids for them. Offer to watch them over at your house. They’ll probably turn you down, because they’re nice people. They don’t want to inflict on you or on your home what their little terrors have inflicted on them. So keep insisting. People need to get away from their kids occasionally. We used to let kids just go play in the woods or down by the creek or in the old abandoned house down the street, but now all parents have grown up watching “IT” and so we can’t do that any more. This is the importance of being in community with people of like faith in a church. You can get help, ask for help, give help, and even cry for help when necessary. Living in community like that isn’t always easy, but it’s good for everyone involved.