Now I Just Feel Like a Terrible Parent

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


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.


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.

The Experience of a Working Dad Trading Places with his Stay at Home Wife

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 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.

Mozzie CryingHis 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

Mozzie Sleeping
I used to be against Lindsay letting Mozzie take extended naps while she held him. Not anymore. Do what it takes.

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!