While reading a post by the very talented Otter recently, I realized that I am full of crap. Well, I always knew I was kinda full of crap in some respects, but not when it came to parenting.
Otter wrote that he realized something when looking back through some of his posts related to fatherhood. He found he was constantly presenting a cleaned up version of events to everyone. That he was spouting off good advice, yet wasn’t always following it himself. It was a very honest reflection and it got me thinking. So I went back through some of my posts and damned if I don’t do the exact same thing. In fact, while reading some of my stuff I thought to myself “What the hell am I doing way up on that soap box?!”
Look, I’m not a bad dad. I think I can hold my own as a parent and I’d like to think that overall, I’ve done a pretty good job with Will. But when I read some of the stuff I’ve written, it’s all too clear I’m often putting lipstick on a pig and giving you — my faithful audience — a rose-colored version of events that transpire.
For instance, I wrote a post not too long ago about allowing Will to play with rocks. I wrote that it’s important not to rush him, and that those rocks are the coolest thing he’s ever seen. But you know what? I’m so impatient with Will. I’m constantly short-tempered with him when he doesn’t do things in a timely manner. Lately my life has been “go go go” all the time and I haven’t stopped to let Will play with the rocks (so to speak) in weeks. And he’s been extra fussy because he’s cutting some back teeth, yet I find myself getting all worked up and irritable with him when he whines. Like it’s his fault his teeth hurt.
And even though I take care of Will every morning, drop him off at daycare, pick him up from daycare and feed him dinner every day of the week, I somehow have managed not to spend any real, quality time with him. In the morning it’s a constant rush to get ready, get out the door and get to work. I shower, wake him up, get him dressed, walk the dog, make my lunch and — boom — we’re off to daycare. Then when I pick him up it’s go home, walk and feed the dog, get him dinner and then pass out on the couch from exhaustion while Will plays with his toys until mom gets home. And that’s it. An hour and a half later he’s in bed, and then it’s wash, rinse, repeat.
I’ve realized lately how unbelievably easy it is to get so busy you forget what’s important. And since this blog is supposed to be an honest look at parenting, that means I need to chronicle my failures as well as my successes. And right now, I feel like I’m failing and even worse I try to cover it up by putting a happy face on my daily fatherhood activities for the Internet.
I have the next two days off from work and I’m already looking into some fun places Will and I can go to together. But even if we just stay home, I need to remember that spending time with him isn’t enough. It’s what we do with that time that counts. And even though being a parent is exhausting and a cat nap on the couch sounds divine, you need to push yourself to be better than that. You need to suck it up and put forth the extra effort for your kids.
And unfortunately, I haven’t been doing that. But I will.