Overcoming Petty Frustration and Remembering Tender Moments With My Kids Before It's Too Late
To look at your fellow parents, as you talk to neighbors or see friends pictures and posts on Facebook, you'd think they were all perfect and you were the ogre!
Parenting, man, what a struggle sometimes, incredibly frustrating sometimes, rewarding always though, even during it's most trying times. To look at your fellow parents, as you talk to neighbors or see friends pictures and posts on Facebook, you'd think they were all perfect and you were the ogre! I find though, that when you get to know parents, and they aren't afraid of judgement, you find that most if not all have gone through trying times with their kids.
There are times when you want to scream out, and there are times when you do, haha. When poop falls on your foot, or when the three-year old rides the seven-month old like a pony. Or when your little son yells at you that he wants to watch television, or wants to climb in bed. Or when the seven-month old wakes up at 11pm, then midnight, then 2am, then 4am, then stays up until 7am. Or when the three-year old wakes up from a nightmare, screaming about a monkey in his bed, then wakes up the seven-month old who now refuses to go to sleep. Or when they just scream, for no apparent reason, they just holler and cry at you, WAAAA, WAAAAA, WAAAAA!!!!!!!!
All this while you know you have an early morning meeting to get to in good shape while you (and if your lucky) your significant other wrestle the kids through breakfast and into daycare.
So much strife! I thought being a parent was supposed to be cool! It is cool, it's great actually. The infuriating moments, sometimes overshadow it's greatness. The times when your kids talk to you, when they tell you you're they're best friend, when they babble at you and smile at you like the happiest being you've ever seen.
These moments, please don't forget them!
Speaking to myself someday in the distant future, do you remember these times?! This pain and happiness?!
This roller coaster ride that is parenting is different for everyone. For my first child, who is now seventeen, things seemed somehow milder. She was an excellent sleeper and eater as a baby. She potty trained early. Currently all three of my kids eat well, a large variety of foods even some spicy meals. But the two little ones are a bit more wild than my first. More screaming, more swinging of arms, more full out sprints around the house than I remember than with my oldest.
With all that being said, it's the moments of bliss that matter the most. The cooing and smiling, the laughter, the tender hugs and innocent kisses. Listening to my son ramble on about his day, or sing as he looks out into the winter world outside. Watching him learn to be polite sometimes and assertive other times. Observing his art making skills, his drawing and painting.
With my little seven month old daughter, she's growing up fast too. My wife reminds me, as do friends and family, to enjoy these moments before they are gone. Yea though I walk through the valley of dirty diapers and sleep deprivation, I still abide and take in the good stuff. Some would say even the smelly stuff is the good stuff, maybe it is, maybe it is a landmark to remember everything. Holding my daughter after a nap, when she clambers at me and I hold her to my chest and she immediately cuddles against me, this is what I don't want to forget, and why I document it here. Speaking to myself someday in the distant future, do you remember these times?! This pain and happiness?! Nahele's big hazely eyes staring and smiling up at you, her joyful screams and her crawling meander around the living room, targeting noodles and foil that somehow (somehow? haha) found it's way to the ground.
When parenting is good, it's really great, no matter the piles of poopy diapers and sleep deprivation
All the giggles and smiles.
Many, many little things to remember, that's why I wanted to write this. Because, I don't want to forget how good it felt. That being said, I miss my independence, a lot. So much so, that I believe I'll probably roll in it once it's back, as the kids get older, more and more of it will return. I know this because I experienced it already with my teenage daughter. As she became more autonomous, my independence returned. Truthfully, I forgot all the warm moments you get with babies and toddlers. All the giggles and smiles. All the firsts, you know, when they see something you take for granted, snow, Star Wars, horseradish, etc. Watching them experience everything for the first time is a wonder and can be experienced in big brother situations, uncles, aunts as well as parents. I just don't want to forget. I tell my wife, someday our kids will have kids, then I can get all those moments back again, and then hand the kids back to our kids when we've had enough ha! It's a mixed feeling to be sure, that suffering of being stuck in the house, or waking up all night, mixed with a warm feeling of being loved and adored by these tiny human beings.
Exhaustion sometimes is a memory in and of itself
How do you feel as a parent? Or big brother/sister?
Do you feel the rewards of parenting far outweigh the inconveniences?
My take on some "parenting myths" from an article by Positive Parenting With A Purpose
Here are some cherry-picked interesting myths about parenting that I gleaned from this essay:
Positive Parenting With A Purpose is new to me, but looks to be an excellent parenting resource, a lot of well-rounded advice!
Some of my favorite "myths" from their article:
1) My kids won't respect me if I'm wrong about something or make a mistake.
The author of the article goes on to say that it teaches your kids you are human, and I wholeheartedly agree! After all we are, and they need to learn this, especially from the safety you provide as a parent. The author goes on to say it shows them you are okay sharing your feelings, and gives them some sense of control/power when you ask for their forgiveness
2) Bribery works as well as positive reinforcement.
Here again, I agree with the author that rewards should only be given after a good behavior is exhibited, not before. They state that kids don't understand promises and so bribes don't work for that reason. They say positive reinforcement and consistency work the best, and I agree.
3) Reading to babies (as young or younger than six monthes) is not beneficial.
According to the researcher of the author of the article, reading to babies is in fact beneficial for brain development! This is great, who knew! I'm always looking for new things to do with my kids
4) Parents should be in control of their children.
According to the author, pure authoritarian style parenting isn't as good as intermingling some independence for kids, to which I agree.
5) If my kids are bored I have to find something for them to do.
Here I am in agreement again, that yes parents should find somethings for kids to do, but also kids should be left to invent something of their own. As they state, you'll be surprised what they come up with. Truly, isn't it better for both parent and child if they can occupy some of their own time? In my opinion probably after a parent has shown their children what tools they can use, or materials, or parts of the home, then they are freer to figure out somethings on their own.
6) Focusing on giving my child exactly what they want makes everything smoother.
I have some friends that would disagree with this myth but once again I concur. Although, we all (I hope!) want to give our kids lots of what they want, we also want to teach them to be grateful for what they already have. The author mentions that list of wants will grow and grow and I have found that to be true too. Better to create a limit at some point, better again for the kids and parents!
My son working on the chassis of his new toy car
I hope I can remember those laughs and giggles for ever embedded in my consciousness
So many moments can't name them all now, but give me a few months...
The list goes on, and writing this I feel a little better. This is a time-capsule of sorts. I expect to come back here and list a few more updates of memories I'd like to capture. Today for instance, was tough, my son Klaus was in fifth gear, tried pushing my daughter Nahele's swing into a wooden chair while she was in it. Not a great moment for me, as I hollered at him and enforced a rigid time-out. He cried, I got pissed. But then things winded down. My daughter fell asleep in my arms, utterly collapsed like a rag doll, arms pouring out over my own, a warm sack of fried chicken cradled in my chest. So cute and warm. Makes you wonder how you could ever be mad at these precious little angels. My teenage daughter called from her part time job at the sandwich shop, asked if I wanted a sandwich, which was a good feeling. She turned out alright, people tell me I did good with that one, and I believe they are right. My son gave me a hug and a kiss before his mom lay him down to bed. We talked about him being mean to his sister and me acting mean to him and then there was one more hug. I'm a pretty lucky guy, surrounded by these cute kids, that drive me mad sometimes and shore me up with adoration other times. Might I suggest you document your times with your kids too? In photos or writing or video, something to help you remember, a sketch perhaps? I don't ever want to forget, what a rich collection of memories I've lived through, including the drool and screaming, but also the crawling babies, and squinty-eyed smiles and constant screams of laughter.
That being said, I worked on this essay for much of the day and would have been done much earlier if my kids wouldn't have driven me bat-shit crazy all day.
Parents are #1 !!!
Other parenting essays and more writing from author/artist Ben Zoltak
- A Couple of Heroic Moments in My Life
This is a nonlinear, non-Hero, nonsequitor, nonpareil look at a few memorable and possibly even heroic moments in my life and the lives of a few of my friends and heros.
- How Real Men Spend Time With Their Newborns
Dispelling the myth of men that dislike spending time with their newborn children, author/parent Ben Zoltak speaks about activities he does with his children, and assures men of their parenting skills.
- Secret Letter To Klaus: A Poem Time Capsule For My S...
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- How To Be A Cool Dad, But Not Too Cool Dude.
I was inspired to write this article because of all the loving support and feedback I've received from my family and friends related to the compliments about being a great Dad. I try to be a self-effacing kind of fella, so to sit here and preach...