My latest Fathering from the Hip column, What a Stay-at-Home Dad Is Made Of, went up this past Monday. In it, I muse on how a stay-at-home parent needs to hold “the belief that the emotional gains outweigh the financial, professional, and intellectual ones, that the love and selflessness of good parenting makes one feel more rich than any amount of worldly treasures.”
Ok, that and a lot of patience.
And some days, this SAHD just doesn’t have it.
Earlier today, for example, before jaunting off to Chinatown, F was testing–constantly. Not unusual behavior for a toddler. Instead of closing doors, he slammed them so hard that the doorknobs made dents in the wall. He scattered cereal all over the floor and raisins across the couch. Changing his diaper brought on a seizure of rage, putting on his jacket brought even worse hysterics. Like I said, nothing unusual or beyond the pale at this stage. But we were pressed for time, and it’s Wednesday, which means I’ve had several days of this already, and I’m tired from dealing with the bugger’s sleep problems. (More on that some other time.)
So instead of meeting these transgressions with calm, rational corrections, keeping in mind those Public Service Announcements on PBS which preach “kids learn how to handle emotions by watching you”, I dropped a few F-bombs and strapped Lil’ Napoleon in his highchair on time out. Later in the day, when he wasn’t coming when I called, I threatened to break his legs and drag him after me like a pull-toy.
Alright, so the latter comment was made in jest. But the yelling in the morning came from the heart. What can I say? Sometimes the bastard wears you down in little ways. And sometimes even a stay-at-home dad needs a mental health day. Or two.
Which is why I’m grateful the mum-in-law is coming for a visit tomorrow!