I had it all planned out to a “T”. A new Sheriff was coming to run the show at home with the kids. Just like I was a supervisor at my former workplace, I was now going to use those skills and run the show at home.
Piece of cake.
There would be schedules, a strict meal plan, and these two little guys that were apparently burning their mother out, were going to be whipped right into shape. They would be so full of arts & crafts, field trips, and an endless learning of gross motor skills, they would be begging to go to sleep early every night from being over stimulated. Watch me turn them into law abiding little “angels” sent straight from heaven above. Watch me.
I will show you how it’s done, my dear.
A few days went by. There was a quite an adjustment for everyone as the kids were getting used to me being home every day, and my wife was getting used to being away from the kids everyday. I was still just kind of lost I guess you could pretty much say, from having recently lost my job.
There is definitely a grieving process with job loss. It was definitely hard on my ego, my pride, and generally an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment. By that I mean I would be lying if I didn’t say it was important to me, or most everyone on some level to “look good”, and to me losing my job certainly didn’t look good.
“Looking good” can come in many different forms. For some people it’s a nice car or truck, fancy clothes, fancy house, fancy whatever. In this particular case, for me anyway, I have always been proud of the work I do, the effort I put into it, and the pride I had in it. To put it bluntly, I am absolutely fucking great at what I do. So when you are let go from your job due to circumstances such as the price of oil, it is hard to come to terms with the fact that I was apparently someone the company felt they could go on without. Oh well, I digress.
Our youngest child Brock, I knew was going to be an issue. Unlike our oldest girl “The Sloane Ranger”, this kid doesn’t embrace sleep like her. That is at least during the night, or when he is in his crib, or any other time. When this little bundle of joy is placed in his crib, it is like you are pulling out his toe nails out with a set of needle-nose pliers, so you can guess where he sleeps. That’s right. In the comforts of a king-size Tempur-Pedic bed.
Until recently, I used to think there was plenty of room in king size beds. I mean who doesn’t love the process of having to yell over to the other side of the bed, or text your wife to get her attention? I love the ability to do a full snow angel in bed and not have to touch anything. Now though, there is a sweet little 16 month old who sleeps next to us and he is a heat seeking serial cuddler. Sounds not too bad right?
Well, it is.
I usually end up on the edge of the king size bed with one leg barely hanging on, the wife has all of the covers, the little guys toes are literally gouging your eyeballs out, and while your teeth are chattering from the cold because you have no covers, you dare not move the little fuckers feet away from your face or at all – in fear of waking him, which would no doubt trigger the 4:00 AM party invitation that would be heard by everyone in the house. He could easily be one of those guys at a Mexican Resort that rounds up all the Hotel guests to play tequila volleyball in the pool at high noon.
He had been accustomed to sleeping in our bed in his early life already though, because he was often sick as a baby and we didn’t want to be far from him, so trying to get him in his crib became very tough. It just became easy and convenient for Lauri in the past and I would just go and sleep in the spare room downstairs to get my rest for work. It pissed me off too, because I was worried that this “I hate my crib” thing would happen, and it certainly did. He hasn’t slept a full single night in that crib to this day. Now it was going to be my problem.
Early on I created a bit of a monster myself as well, because when Brock was born, I worried a lot about Sloane feeling like she went from being on the starting line up 1st line centre to, being demoted to the 4th line grinder role so I started going to bed with her every night and reading stories so that she would always feel special. We laugh, and take goofy “selfies”.
Before Brock was born, she was very good at just being tucked in and saying good night usually around 9:30PM and closing the door and off to sleep she would go. When the first time I tried to get back to those ways, she bawled, and as I looked her in the eyes I could see the look of heartbreak and I could hear her heart shatter into a million pieces, so to this day we are still often going to bed together and reading stories until she falls asleep.
It really is a special time for us, and in all honesty a part of me doesn’t want to give that up. I am not looking forward for “the last time” this happens. I hate the thought of the day when she says to me “Dad, you go to your bed, I am fine alone”. I am not looking forward to that day at all, to be perfectly honest. I am a big sentimental “softie” I guess.
These situations have, while given us lots of great bonding time with the kids, basically eliminated any time at the end of the day to just decompress and enjoy the sound of silence, or watch a hockey game. Or watch anything for that matter. Around these parts it’s Disney Jr and Treehouse Mister!
I was just thinking the other day that with “The Masters” golf tournament coming up this week (easily my absolutely my favourite sporting event to watch of the year), one bonus to being unemployed this year was that I would be in my glory, soaking up every moment of it.
Then I was like, oh wait…
It has basically eliminated any chance to actually have time to yourself, which for me is tough. For my personality type, I need time to myself and can pretty much guarantee I will go bat shit crazy at some point if I don’t get it.
Recently my wife must have recognized me going bat shit crazy and basically told me to get the fuck out of the house and to go get drunk with the guys to try to build my testosterone back up. She said I was getting very hormonal. Screw her, what the fuck does she know anyway? So I went out with some of the boys, ate, excessively drank, and had a good time. It was needed for sure. How did she know?
As we started settling into our new routines, I had a “rude awakening” as they say. An epiphany if you will. It didn’t take me long to realize who the Sheriff in town really was, and it certainly as fuck was not me. It was “The Sloane Ranger” and her little deputy “Shot-gun Brock”. They run the show here. Nobody else. No matter how any parent tells you that they run the show in their house, it’s all bullshit. All of it. Believe me.
The kids rule with an IRON FIST!
Whether these perfect want to “look good” parents who we will just refer to as “liars” want to admit it or not, these sweet little master manipulators rule the roost, period. And the funny part is you don’t even realize it until they have already buffaloed you. They use their cute little smiles, their stunning good looks they got from their Dad, and sweet little words of babble to totally bamboozle you. Your sleep deprived ass doesn’t stand a chance in hell to defeat it.
Show me a parent that says they run the show, and I will show you a liar.
You quickly realize the schedule you thought you would have the whole family on, the meal plans of organic health, and keeping the house clean and orderly gets thrown straight out the window. It ain’t happening man! The faster you let go of those fantasies, the better off you are at trying to hang on to your sanity. Just “let it go” as Elsa would say.
You gotta get used to microwaved coffee. It’s a pretty rare fucking day that you will ever have time to make a cup of coffee and actually sit down and drink it before it gets cold. Just when you get the kids all set up and sit down thinking it’s going to happen, you get more orders from the Sheriff and her deputy. I need juice, I need a different colour of spoon, that’s not the cup I wanted, I wanted to pick the cup. I need a straw. I’m not hungry.
I probably microwave my coffee 3 times almost every morning until I finally just forget I was trying to drink coffee in the first place and then find the cup sitting in the microwave still the next morning, or as I like to call it, “Groundhog day”.
It goes on, and on, and on. The only thing saving my sanity to this point is remembering to not sweat the small stuff. Pick your battles. The quicker you can come to the realization that the house is going to get messy, you will deal with mood swings, tantrums, teething, picky eaters, crying, projectile vomit, the better off you will be.
Let go of the whole idea that your success as a parent is measured by how clean your house is, what they won’t eat in comparison to other kids, their athleticism, or gross motor skills, yada, yada, yada. They are just kids. It all falls into place, eventually.
The only measuring stick that I think should be used that actually will give you accurate results to be judged as a parent, is by measuring how big their smiles are when you are with them. That’s it, that’s all. Even when you can barely keep you eyes open wide enough to see them.
There’s “law and un-order” in house all right, and so far I have been put in my place.
I am happy to be one of their law abiding citizens.
Thanks for reading!