Things I Wish I Could Forget About Parenting

Sometimes there are things about parenting you’d like to forget.

Like the Disaster Weekend where I had a temper tantrum and threw two garbage bags full of toys away because they couldn’t clean their rooms.

Or the near nuclear meltdown I caused by deciding to make Lasagna the hill I would die on.

Even the ways I struggled to bond with my son right after he was born.

This blog has always been a quiet place for me to reflect.  From my first days into fatherhood, I would stay up late and write to help me focus on the positive singular moments we had that day, somehow hoping they would help me get through the sleepless nights and meconium filled days.

And today, as I write this, I find myself struggling through parenthood once again.

Financial pressures from the federally mandated furlough – don’t even get me started – have made me miss being home with my family two nights a week for the past few months.  That’s not going to change until at least October when I find out if Congress can pass a budget or if the rumored lay-offs are going to take place…Hopefully change is just around the corner for us, but until then I’m stressing.

I’m also going through a major revision of what I believe, demolishing much of what used to be foundational to my life.  I’m asking all the tough questions about God that sometimes don’t have answers and it’s leaving me with a lot of anxiety about how to raise my kids in a religious way while still being intellectually honest with myself about what I believe.

Sometimes there are things about your children you’d like to forget.

Most draining of all, I’m dealing with an aspect of toddlerhood that I’d like to forget.  Whining.  Every morning Pax wakes up hollering for someone to get him, moves downstairs where he protests what’s for breakfast and bewails whatever is put on TV.  The whole day, his knee jerk reaction to any stimulus is to mutter and moan; he habitually complains about wanting to return home when we are out, and he is constantly fretful over dark clouds or any chance of rain.  Not only is his belly aching draining, his fake crying is downright maddening at times.  And forget trying to rationalize with him!  He always finds a way to ignore any hint of logic when I try to address a specific complaint.  In short, he’s a grouch and he’s making me a grouch, too.

Pax having fun at the pool
Pax having fun at the pool
Pax on vacation
Pax enjoying a birthday party
standard pax
standard Pax face…tongue out

His only redeeming qualities at this point are his sense of humor and his extreme cuteness.  Even in the middle of a power struggle or pity party, the stuff that comes out of his mouth gets me rolling.  I cling to the moments when he’s in a good mood;  When, on a Saturday morning, we are running through the house with swords and shields “slaying evil” as he calls it.  When he let’s me read to him and pretends to enjoy it (before telling me to leave his room).  Times when he is sweet with his sister and I get to observe their friendship grow.

"Slaying Evil"
“Slaying Evil”
Reading Together. Bliss!
Reading Together. Bliss!

IMG_7989

What I really wish I could forget are my own fears and feelings of helplessness

Those moments when he is in a good mood give me hope.  Hope in the face of all my fears that I am somehow failing him as a father for feeling so helpless with what to do with him at this stage.  Hope that even though my road map for parenting came to an end before I even unfolded it, somehow I will still be able to show him love, and that although I get frustrated with him a lot right now, that this will be temporary and will not be who he becomes as a teenager or adult.  Hope that somewhere down deep, is a boy full of spirit and opinions that in time he will learn to express in meaningful and kind ways, and that he won’t lose all of the good things about his personality.

Because he really is such a sweet boy.

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4 thoughts on “Things I Wish I Could Forget About Parenting”

  1. Hang in there. These are just the foundational moments when he is testing out life to define his boundaries. You’ll definitely get past that soon enough and enjoy every aspect of his personality as he gets older. But yeah, it can be frustrating along the way.

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  2. Well, that just about made me cry. We are totally in the same boat with our 3.5 year old. Cute as all hell. Spirited and full of love, affection and personality. But whiny and angry and stubborn a lot of the time.

    If it’s any consolation, I attended a parenting class last year called “Managing Your Anger.” It had about 30 parents in it. It’s the organization’s most popular class. And 100% of those parents have toddlers.

    Thanks for writing this.

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    1. And thanks for letting me know I’m not alone! I laughed out loud that the anger class had so many parents…seriously, I might need to check that out. I’m glad you related and thanks again for the encouragement Brent!

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