I post a lot of funny stories, quotes and random slices of life with my kids on Twitter. From all that hilarity you might get the idea that being a parent is a cakewalk. You might think that being a work-at-home dad is full of laughs, play-doh and productivity. If you get that impression, you’re not reading close enough.
For all the funny things my kids do, there are just as many days when I want to throw my hands up in the air and take my union-sanctioned break. But I don’t get one of those. I’m not a work-at-home dad because I love kids so much. I work at home because it’s practical. We’re a family that needs two incomes and we’re a family that can’t afford daycare (sure, we could probably do some financial acrobatics and make things work one way or the other, but we don’t). To be honest, I don’t always have the patience for this job.
I like things organized, orderly and quiet. That doesn’t work with kids. So I learn to pick my battles. The daily chore of convincing my daughter to wear pants was just too much, so I settled for the rule that if she was going to go outside then she had to wear pants, but if she wanted to run around the house half-naked, I wasn’t going to fight it. These are the kinds of ridiculous compromises I find myself making. I’ll trade a little self-respect for sanity any day.
Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids. But they can still drive me crazy.
I think sometimes we act like parenting has to be this deeply rewarding experience and to ever complain about it makes you less of a person. But sometimes your kid throws up on your or they won’t stop screaming or you’ve taught them how to talk but not how to be quiet—and it’s all a bit much. It’s not your kids’ fault, they’re just being kids. But as parents I think we need a little slack to say this is hard.