Parents Suffering From A Lack of Enjoyment

dinoOver Mother’s Day weekend, I put in a 16-hour shift with my kids (6, 3 and 2).

On my big-daddy-day, the rage and anger that would well up inside me, were exhausting. Mother Nature has done a good job attuning my hearing to the whines of my preschoolers.

Why can’t they just get along?!

For the most part, I have enough skill to avoid pointing the anger at the kids, my marriage, the situation or other people. However, I will stipulate to yelling in the car around 12:45pm last Saturday.

My big-daddy-day showed me that I would certainly crack – the only question is how quickly.

It also showed that I’m doing a lot right.

+++

Since our first child arrived, I’ve noticed that my wife is only relaxed when we’re out of the country. I had years of similar suffering, always carrying the trauma of parenthood around with me. More on that here.

Saying that my wife’s trauma strains our marriage would not be true. We have a fantastic marriage.

However, it is difficult to watch the suffering of a person we love.

When I listen to parents, I hear their disappointment.

I wish I could enjoy my time with her.
I wish he would listen to me.
I was so angry at myself (for being angry with her).

Insight came from asking myself…

Are we supposed to enjoy things all the time?
Are kids supposed to listen all the time?
Is reasonable to expect an absence of anger in this situation?

My friend, Justin, wrote a piece about racing triathlons. He pointed out that nobody expects life to be nothing but green lights. However, novices sometimes expect everything to go their way on race day. When an inevitable setback occurs, they start a downward emotional spiral.

Perhaps you’ve noticed this pattern with your preschooler?

You can do yourself, and your community, a great service by breaking the chain of this sort of thinking.

How were the kids?
They were age-appropriate. We are very lucky to have three healthy children.

How are you doing?
I am tired but I’ll be fine tomorrow.

The lesson of my big day was how easy it would be to lose myself and fall prey to the seeds of anger, rage and resentment that live in each of us.

I took my wife out for Mother’s Day dinner and shared:

Someday the kids are going leave and we will be left alone.

Our marriage is what we want to endure.

We don’t serve the family by becoming casualties, ourselves.