Now I Just Feel Like a Terrible Parent

To be more precise, I feel like a terrible dad.

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I wrote yesterday about how being a parent sucks. And I stand by that. It does, for so many different reasons. One of them being that sometimes what you, the parent, think is the right thing to do turns out to be the exact opposite and is the worst thing you could do.

Well, maybe not the worst, but it is in that general area of things.

Yesterday was Sunday. Which means rushing around the house to leave so that we get to church before the service ends. Due to this rushing, Sunday mornings typically lead to conflict of somekind with Mozzie.

Which is exactly what happened yesterday.

One more thing to set the stage.

I have this thing about my things.

I have them in a certain place and don’t want them to be moved from that place unless I am the one doing the moving.

Mozzie, being a three year old boy who loves everything about life, thinks that my things are awesome (even if they are just books).

His feelings about my things, and my feelings about my things, do not mesh well.

So with the Sunday Morning Rush, and the Don’t Touch My Stuff attitude I have towards my nightstand, in mind…let’s proceed.

I jump out of the shower. Quickly get dressed, mold my hair, apply cologne and other things to produce a positive scent, and rush out of the bathroom into our bedroom…

My nightstand looks like it has been robbed.

The cabinet door is hanging open, and the drawer is pulled out.

My Field Notes notebooks are scattered on the floor. Not good. Don’t touch my Field Notes.

I look in the bottom cavity of the nightstand where I keep a few books and see that it is emptied entirely except for a few bed sheets.

I take a few deep breaths and walk out of the room.

Mozzie is in our family room with my books. He is lining them up on the coffee table, muttering something about a library.

I walk over, and without a single word, collect all of the books and walk away.

He bursts into tears and I tell him not to touch my things (number one), and (number two) that he needs to focus on getting his pants on so we can go to church.

Fast forward 10 hours or so.

I find out from my lovely wife that Mozzie wanted to play pretend library with me. Not only that, he rummages though my things because he wants to be like me. He doesn’t do it to disobey or be annoying, she said. He is just using his imagination.

Well.

Remove my stomach and toss it to the dogs.

Cut out my heart and stomp on it.

What an a**hole parent I am.

I felt terrible. And of course he was already in bed for the night, with burns on his hands from the stove incident earlier in the day.

So here’s what I plan to do: when he wakes up this morning I am going to apologize profusely for being the worst parent ever. I am also going to tell him he can go through my nightstand whenever he wants to (I may have removed a few things permanently that I don’t want him touching). And finally, I want to play pretend library with him before I leave for work this morning.

And the big take away for me, and maybe for you if you can relate to anything above, is to just freaking relax and gain some perspective about things before reacting. This is advice Lindsay gave me last night after telling me what Mozzie was really doing with the books.

She said, “Before you freak out, ask him what he is doing.”

Ok. Can do. And will do.

Now I just need to get my stomach and heart back.

Being a Parent Sucks

I don’t want to sugarcoat this, because I feel like it is sugarcoated all to often.

Being a parent sucks.

It is hard. It is frustrating. It is overwhelming. It is not rewarding (at least not at the moment). It is uncharted territory for each new mom and dad (and no one can provide the adequate heads up that is needed).

We have a very active 3 year-old boy. His name is Mozzie. And he is crazy. Maybe not literally, or clinically, but he is all over the place. Some days he is a gem, other days, seemingly for no reason at all, he is a terror.

The past few days have been a roller coaster of his good days and bad days. And to be frank, it hasn’t been fun at all. For me as the dad, or for my wife, as the mom. Neither one of us enjoy this particular stage of his life.

Well, she may more than I do. She’s the mom. Moms have hearts. Dads just want their kids to listen and do well. At the age of 3, just listen to what I tell you to do and you’ll be off to a great start.

So it is probably more me than her. But I still want to write this, and will publish it so that other dads out there who are in their low 30’s with one or more kids under the age of 4 can know they are not alone.

And if you are a dad who thinks life is great and you always wanted to have kids, don’t say anything. You are truly lucky to have such a bright outlook on parenting. Good for you. Drink your wine and keep quiet.

To the other dads, the dads like me, who are struggling with being a parent, hear this: it doesn’t get easier. Not in my experience. Hang on. And hang in there.

Today, for example, Lindsay was making a sheet of simple Christmas cookies.

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Great idea. What a treat on a cold November day, Christmas cookies!

Then Mozzie burned his hand on the stove after hitting it in a fit of rage because I turned the oven light off.

The burner was hot, because it was used a few minutes earlier for making lunch.

So he burned his hand when he hit it.

The cookies were finished 7 minutes later. But now I had the very pungent smell of peppermint on my hands because we were trying all sorts of remedies to help take the burn away from his hand.

Go figure.

Christmas cookies and all of the drama that they bring with them.

So yes, at the moment, being a parent sucks. Maybe it will get better in the future, but for right now I am resigned to the fact that it will get worse before it gets better.

Happy Holidays 🙂