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.
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.
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.
Caption to the image above: This is what I feel like when I have to watch Mozzie longer than 2 hours.
My role yesterday was mom. I woke up later than usual (my office issued the “work from home” directive last Friday due to possible winter weather) and was hit with the news from my wife that she had a stomach bug, seemed like a virus, and I would need to take care of Mozzie today. Meaning: I’m mom today and dad is not home. I now have a newfound respect for people that do this day in and day out. I also now know that I am not cut out to be a Stay at Home Dad (SaHD). I never wanted to be one but now I really never want to be one.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Its not that I don’t love my kid to death, or don’t know that he is essentially helpless and can’t do a single thing for himself; I’m just not cut out for this type of work. Its two things that drive me up a wall: 1) crying/screaming at the top of his lungs in the blink of an eye for who knows what at that given moment, and 2) the total lack of productivity that I experience when responsible for taking care of him.
Kids Cry All Day Long
Dramatic, I know, but far from the truth I think not. He woke up today promptly at 8am. Guess how he woke up? Crying. I changed his diaper first thing after getting him out of his crib. Guess what he was doing the entire time? Crying. He stopped crying when I gave him his bottle, but that’s just because he had something in his mouth the entire time. He cried when I made his cereal, cried when I fed him his cereal, cried when I tried to put him down for a nap, and cried 20 minutes later when he woke up. That takes us from 8am-10am. This 2 hour process was repeated 3 more times throughout the day. Each one involving a lot of crying/screaming.
His form of communication is extremely frustrating to me. I know some people aren’t bothered so much by the crying/screaming that their children do, but it definitely gets to me. And not in a “I’ll spoil you just to shut you up” way, but more of a “my mind has stopped working due to the decible you continue to punch my brain with” type of way. It is paralyzing. Unmotivating. And super annoying.
What I wish more than ever is that I could 1) reason with him, and 2) that he and I could converse together using the English language. If I could do these two things this is what I would tell him: “Mozzie, I know you are hungry right now (I am too), but you screaming your head off at me is not going to make me go faster. It will actually make me go slower just to make a point. So, please, sit there, observe that I am indeed making your cereal, and wait patiently. Thank you. ”
And since he can speak English he would respond with “Ok, dad,” and let that be that.
SaHMs and SaHDs Are Special People
(That’s Stay at Home Mom and Stay at Home Dad. I like to referrer to the latter as SAD since I know I would be if I were one).
My second point above is regarding productivity while watching a kid all day. I’ve heard my wife mention this to me before but it didn’t completely sink in until today: you get nothing done. And on days that you do accomplish something, it is probably related to the kid, like organizing their clothing. This is the exact opposite of my normal day.
I start around 6:00am and don’t stop until 11:30pm. The hours in-between are filled with tasks that are being accomplished. Times I am not able to accomplish a task include driving and eating dinner with my family in the evening. Personal, work, and business areas of responsiblity all have tasks associated with them that I do my very best to stay ahead of and I usually have 17.5 hours to complete them each day. Not today.
When Mozzie is awake he is either eating or playing. Both of which involve me. When he is sleeping (he slept for a total of 1 hour and 40 minutes from 8am-7:30pm) I need to clean up the mess that is made while eating and playing and then prepare for the next round of eating and playing.
I’m not going to lie: there have been some days that I wanted to ask my wife why she didn’t do a certain task that I had asked her to do. I’ve held my tongue so far and I’m glad I have. Now I know why she isn’t able to be as quick to do things as I may like. And I completely understand. This 20.5 lb 6 month old kid is all consuming. Getting anything done outside of his existence is a miracle.
Put This to Bed
This has gone on longer than I wanted, but I hope my point is clear. People who stay at home all day with children (especially infants) are special people. I did not completely understand what all was involved, but do now, and as a result have a new respect for the mom’s and dad’s out there who do this type of stuff every single day.
Now, my day is finally over. Mozzie has been sleeping since 7:30pm (it is currently 11:32pm on Monday evening), Lindsay has been sleeping since 9pm, and I have been getting things done that are not related to Mozzie since 8:30pm. I’m ready to call it a day. To all you mom’s and dad’s out there: you rock. And Lindsay: I love you!