Just before she lay down her beautiful head to sleep the other night, my wife took the water glass from next to my laptop (I was working on a presentation for the next day around 9:15 that night), sipped from it, and said…
“I’m f***ing tired. The house is always dirty, I’m being disrespected, I hate this house, if I’m not here cleaning I’m off doing a bunch of other stuff just to keep the boys busy or in school, and I’m sick of it.”
So, what did I do to respond? What COULD I do?
She was done for the day. She had gotten up pretty early to go workout, raced home to get our kids in the car for preschool and general out-of-house tasks (what non-stay-at-home parents call Life or Work), and they were going a bit nuts the rest of the day. I got an earful when I got home from the kids, after a long day and meeting with a local entertainment comedy talent mastermind. Kids will wear you out. They will grind on you and they will break you down and they are unreasonable under the age of 5 or 19 and will just beat on your brain walls and sometimes you want to tell them to shut their damn mouths and go the fuck to sleep because you are a grown up, sex has been had, you’ve thrown an angry punch, and paid taxes but not enough to really help this flailing society you want to build a wall around to protect them, so go to sleep.
But you cannot do that. I cannot. I’m an adult. I’m nearly 40. I have embraced and accepted all facets of Parenting, which is a much more advanced form of caregiving, and shouldn’t ever be equated to having a pet. [ed. note; Equating child-rearing to pet care is on the same shelf as equating an compound femoral fracture to a sprained finger. It’s minimizing to do so, and you should really not do it, or I will punt your dog right down the frozen aisle of this Trader Joe’s it’s not even supposed to be in.] Because I’m an adult.
And no, you cannot flip out on your kids at the ages of 4 and nearly 2. You look like a complete asshole, first, because the kids don’t fully fathom the rage and the cause. You only scare them, you don’t teach them. And it’s much much much more frustrating than you’d think it may be to tell a kid for the 5th time who knows what you’re saying to put.
underwear. Then they cry, and it’s like…
“Why are YOU crying? You did this to yourself! 5 times I’ve asked you to put your monkey underbips on and you keep trying to put your bobo on the gorilla pillow! Put your monkey underpants on, don’t put your business on the monkey!”
As adults, we’re supposed to be in control of things. I’m not. I control very little. I control myself, usually (except I’m a bit of a choc-o-holic, GUILTY!), but sometimes I just have to ask somebody at a grocery store “What’s going on here?” I know what’s going on. They are blind to anything else around them, dead-stopped in the aisle, looking at their phone. I promise you, ma’am, you are NOT about to get a prescient message that has the PowerBall numbers. I can’t always control what happens to me, but I can control whether or not I tell somebody their head is in their ass.
So here’s what I did the other night.
I wrote a note to my wife and left it up on the monitor for her to see in the morning.
This is what it read:
- I have a great marriage to a man who loves me and works hard to provide for our family. He doesn’t gamble or drink or tattoo or buy cars and shit we don’t need.
- I have 2 great sons who are young and sometimes they are just little kids who don’t know any better while trying to be funny.
- I get tired and that’s OK
- My house is a house, not a hut, not on fire, and not a pit in a shitty jungle.
- I woke up today healthy. This is a good start.
- My sons woke up today healthy and with food in their house. This is a good start.
- My sons have two parents who love them even if my sons don’t know it yet.
- We will be in a new, better-sized house soon and we’ll do it the right way so that we don’t destroy our family financially.
- I am a great mom and wife who does what she can to make every day matter to my family.
- For all of these things, I am grateful.
Here’s what I did NOT do, after she made her statement of frustration and walked away with my glass of water while I worked on my presentation…
“Hey hon? Hon?
Could I get that water back?”