Monday, July 26, 2010

Struggling, in a Strictly First World Sort of Way

My blog output has been hampered of late partly due to my reluctance to use this space to complain about my pretty-all-right life. I mean, we're not suffering through starvation or disease. Our neighborhood is not torn apart by warfare or even criminal activity. We're all doing very well, relatively speaking. But still, I feel like I'm struggling, and I haven't wanted to say so. I asked for this job, this stay-at-home dad job, and I got it, and it's made me very happy, so complaining about the difficulties seems, well, a little whiny.


I'm having a hard time here. I yell at my kid daily. My levels of frustration, irritation, annoyance, and outright anger often catch me by surprise and fill me with guilt. I think I want another child, but I'm frequently pretty sure I can barely handle the child I have, so another one might just unravel me completely.

Aerie and I like to point out which of Thumper's phrases, sayings, and gestures originate with whom. "Oopsie, doodle bugs" is definitely hers. "You're getting on my nerves," unfortunately, is definitely mine. I try to obviate my frustration by blogging and Facebooking all of the fun things, the adorable moments and interactions, and to remember to see him as other people do, as a smart, charming, sociable kid who's pretty much funny as hell.

Today, for instance, when we were leaving the YMCA, a staff member I'd never seen before, without so much as a glance at me, gave Thumper high five and said, "See you later, Rock Star!" People love this kid. He's a charmer. Often, his charm is lost on me, though.

And don't get me started on the whole potty training saga. It's mostly going pretty well, but good God, it's exhausting. How can I be so full of pride when he craps on the toilet and so mortified when he pees on the floor at the mall, all in the same day?

And I'm sure my struggles are all perfectly normal. Thumper's darn-near three and is supposed to be pushing and testing every limit that's set for him. He screams; he flops; he throws things and hits people, mostly me. I nag him all day long: "Don't touch that. Don't put that in your mouth. Be nice. Don't hit. Don't throw that. Ask nicely. Stop kicking me. Say thank you. Sit up and eat your lunch, please. Sit up. Sit up. One more bite. Get in your seat, please. Come on. Come on. Come on. Come on! Come on! Come here right now!"

When I tell him over and over again to leave the back door alone and don't slam it, and then he slams his finger it, and then does it again the next day, when he cries I practically yell "I told you so!" at him. I just don't feel like I'm being the kind, patient, and loving father that I should be, especially since this is exactly what I signed up for.


Kirsten said...

So incredibly normal. All of it. That's the struggle of being a SAH parent. You want to be there, but they drive you crazy - the point of near-insanity...and some days full on insanity. But the good parts do outweigh the bad.

Amy said...

I think you snuck into my brain and found out all of my feelings and put them in your blog. That is to say, I feel the same way. I know, too, that I'm supposed to use positive reinforcement like praise instead of constant Nos but it sounds something like "Good job staying off of the fireplace toda- Oh for crying out loud, GET DOWN!" OR "I WAS SAYING THANK YOU FOR LISTENING SO WILL YOU LOOK AT ME AND PAY ATTENTION!" Hang in there.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks for the validation. I don't know why I didn't realize the degree to which parenting is full of guilt and irritation. When I put it that way, of course I knew it was!

She Said said...

It's ok to tell us about the not so great times. It makes you human. :) You are a great dad, and you are doing a wonderful job with Thumper. Some days, the weight of my referee hat (that comes with having two kids) is so heavy, I think I am going to lose it. Oh, who am I kidding? I do lose it!

I, Rodius said...

Thanks. I guess I'm about to get extra human...

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