There are many things I get to see on a daily basis that my wife doesn’t by me being at home and she working outside of the house. I do envy her some days and then other days I wouldn’t change it for a single thing. I’ve learned a lot from being a stay at home daddy. I had written about the before, yet, I feel like I continue to learn so I wanted to write more about those funny little things I have learned.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. You will fail, you will mess shit up and there will be times when you question your parenting skills and processes. Don’t put too much emphasis on anything like this. Your kids don’t know you aren’t superdad. Just keep trying. They love you anyway.
- You cannot do it all alone. No matter how hard you try. And any single person who ever claimed they did it ALL alone-male or female-is full of crap. You can try. You can work your ass off. But in the end, there will be something, somewhere you forget. A towel you didn’t see to wash, a dirty fork, something you forgot not to dry but stuck in the dryer anyway. Rely on others around you. And when their sorry asses complain that they don’t want to, walk away. It will strike them as odd when they have no clean underwear or socks. They will bitch at you. That is when you say, “Oh, that was in the load I asked for your help to wash.” Not only ask for help, but be willing to take it. Lower your guard once in a while.
- Children will shit right after you have changed their diaper. Never fails. They tell you that they have peed, so you change the diaper. Within 20 minutes of said diaper change, they will have shit. No doubt. It happens. I have had to remind myself not to get mad and that they cannot help it.
- Food will end up in places that you have never thought of before. Not only in your clothes, but in their clothes, diapers, toys, etc. Who knew that the inside of a Fisher Price Little People vehicle could also hold Goldfish crackers? Not I! As well, do not feed your children such foods as pasta in their “good” clothes. Donate an old t-shirt to the cause. TRUST ME!
- Pets are a part of the family and as such will be treated accordingly. Children will feed them anything and the dog as the child doesn’t know any better. This will include varieties of things such as chicken, fruits, veggies, cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc. And by the way, your child WILL share the same utensil as your pet. Try as you may to not let it happen, it will. And they will lick the same food too.
- It is ok to give in. Don’t be the proverbial parental ass that stands strong in everything you do. It will come back around and take a hunk out of your parental ass. Flexibility. I struggle with this still. Daily, ok, hourly. I try to be safe. When all I am doing is taking fun away because believe it or not, I don’t think it is safe for the kids to scale the coffee table. But, I relent eventually knowing that it is useless right now.
- Clothes are optional for kids. Meaning that I have a 2-year-old who loves to stay in pajamas all.day.and.night. Yes, all the time. Why does it matter? It doesn’t. My wife thinks the little one needs to have a proper attire. Ok if we are going someplace where that would be useful. But riding in the car does not count.
- Carpool will suck. Whether or not you are on time, early or late, it sucks. Being on time means you are there at the right time and are SUPPOSED to move through the line. Nope. Inevitably some kid cannot get out of the car without a special operations unit from the Army being called in for extrication. Being early means waiting. And waiting with a two-year old and an 8 month old in the car while your 9-year-old sings and talks non-stop is enough to make one go mad. Being late only allows said 9-year-old to bitch at you. And royally too. About missing the morning “chat” time with friends or missing breakfast with friends or something of the sort.
- Extracurricular activities for any of the kids are taxing. My week consists of basketball on Monday night, a dr’s visit on Tuesdays, a club meeting on Weds morning at school for the oldest, church on Weds night, Thursday the oldest one has a club meeting after school, Saturday are basketball games and Sunday is church. So, Friday night is the ONLY slow time. Which I am sure at some point is going to be taken over as well. We had always told ourselves we’d never become this type of family. OOPS.
- Feeding your kids can be fun or a nightmare. Your choice as a parent. We actually can get our kids to eat quite a bit of veggies. Veggies that I would never eat as a kid. Broccoli, greens, sprouts, etc. are things we eat around here. Well, unless you are the two-year old who now won’t. Three months ago, she’d eat anything that would not eat her first. Now, it is a constant barrage of “snack daddy” or I want milk, or this crap and junk or another. She hesitates to eat anything that resembles healthy. If I told her that spaghetti sauce had tomatoes in it, I’d lose that option too. Get them to eat something.
- Time for me and my better half is almost non-existent. We sneak a kiss or two here or there. Having an 8-month old sleeping in his crib in your rib kinda slows life down. So can a two-year old who wakes up screaming on a more regular basis than I get my mail delivered. And the tween wants to be noticed and paid attention to. Who the hell blames her?
In all of this, I have watched my now two-year old learn to say I love you. And she does it because she wants to. I have watched now as my 8 month old has started to say what sounds like to my wife as dada. I’ve watched my 9-year-old struggle with things in life I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. All of these things are part of my life. Some of them are funny while some are not. But I love it all and wouldn’t change it for anything.