It’s Day 2 of my summer as a stay at home dad, and I’ve already lost it on my kids.
Actually, I lost it at Day 1.5. I’m not cut out for this.
I knew it six years ago when I did it for the first time, I knew it a month ago when it was looming again, I knew it yesterday when things were going well, and I definitely knew it today when I yelled at my 8-year-old because he wouldn’t stop complaining about something he actually wanted to do.
I don’t want to be a stay at home parent. I don’t want to have to find ways to fill my kids’ days all summer. I don’t want to plan, I don’t want to pack, I don’t want to herd them places, I don’t want to go places.
I don’t have the temperament, the patience, or the interest.
I also don’t have a choice.
Circumstances being what they are and summer being what it is, someone has to stay home all day. My wife has done it for years, and now she’s working and I’m not, so I’m back in the saddle. Reluctance (and unsuitability) aside, I have no choice but to get better at it.
They don’t need to know how stressed I am, they don’t deserve a dad who’s grumpy and frustrated before the day has even begun, and most of all, they don’t deserve a boring summer.
Summer is sacred. And it’s usually my wife’s territory. But it’s on me now.
No, we might not be able to send them to camp or take them on fancy trips, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do. And it’s on me to do them. More than that, it’s on me to do them with a smile on my face. Or at least without constantly yelling at them.
So far, things aren’t going so great. But there’s nowhere to go but up!
This is one of the primary challenges of parenting—not letting your grown-up stress impact your kids’ childhood innocence.
We all have struggles, and sometimes the toll they take is going to manifest itself, often in ways you don’t even realize.
I guess the good news is: I do realize it. Which makes it even more crucial that I manage it and do whatever I can to prevent my kids from catching on.
I’ve gotta fake it until they make it.
But what else is new?