I love my kids, but sometimes I can’t stand them.
Some people are unable to have children and here I am whining about my frustrations about my kids? Yes, I am. Sometimes love means that we get really frustrated with each other, but that doesn’t mean we are quitting.
I love being a dad and a husband, but sometimes parenting can get to me. My kids fight about everything: who gets to sit next to me at the dinner table, who gets to read a book first (yes, they really fight about that), who gets the leftovers for lunch tomorrow (but not the broccoli, no one fights for that stuff) and who has to dry the dishes.
“I yelled at my kids because they were yelling at each other”
So I got mad last night and I yelled, “I give up.” I lied. I can never give up on my kids or my family. But sometimes I get frustrated and I don’t know what else to do. We all get frustrated sometimes and that can lead us to say things that we don’t mean.
I yelled at my kids because they were yelling at each other.
Then I quietly farted. I’m human and I needed space. At that exact moment, my daughter came up and hugged me. I couldn’t be angry after that.
When you love your family but you can’t stand them, you are being real. Sometimes being real can be very difficult and it can be painful. I am far from perfect, but here are a few things I have found that help me. My mother taught me to share, so I am sharing them with you:
- Don’t push the feelings away.
Listen to them. Part of you is really hurting. You have a right to feel hurt and even angry. Accept it. Give yourself some time to calm down and maybe have a good night’s sleep. Your first job is to listen. Giving yourself time can clear your mind and give you some perspective.
- Grit comes from gratitude.
Gratitude has been shown to increase our persistence. It will also make you happier. I have a book where I try to write every day something I am grateful for. Remembering good things puts the suffering in perspective. Don’t let anyone tell you that parenting is not suffering.
- A healthy father leads to a healthy family
(This applies to mothers too, but right now I’m talking to the dad’s). You know yourself and if you are at your limit, respect that. Go for a walk before you greet your family or use your lunch to go for a walk. Ask yourself honest questions about your quality of sleep, your weight, your diet and your exercise. This is personal for me because I’ve had to make some changes because I am not as healthy as I want to be. If you have one, listen to your spouse or your significant other. They care and maybe the “nagging” about your health is for your own good? Maybe I’m the only one that applies to…
- Men say sorry.
Parenting is like a mud fight. No matter how you do it, it will be messy. But you can also have the time of your life! When you make a mess of things, say it. When I blow it, I say sorry. Relationships die when we go on autopilot. Saying sorry and working to change brings healing and earns respect.
Laughing at our mistakes and the stupid things that we do is humbling. Laughing relaxes and makes us feel closer. Most of all, it’s better than being serious all of the time. You can read about the 7 Gifts of Humor here.
- Get a friend and exercise your soul.
I have a few friends that I talk to. If you are like me, you probably don’t talk to your friends often enough. Friendships are like exercise for the soul. They make our lives richer and help us to live longer. There is nothing more freeing to hear how your friends make a mess of things and live through it.
- Hug your family.
Just do it.
Sometimes we get angry at the people we love. That’s okay. It means that they matter to us. If we didn’t care, we would stop talking and give up. Giving up is easy. Sticking with it shows that they matter.
This gem is courtesy of my then 14 year old (he is older and much wiser now… yeah right). I parent with a pen in one hand a notebook in the other. Writing stories is my revenge:
“I try not to be an ass to anyone outside of my family”
Keep it real