Monday, January 19, 2009

Sometimes I feel good about it

I have a secret. I'm my own worst critic and my self-criticism isn't exclusive to the quality of my work. Sometimes, I don't feel like I'm a very good dad.

I know, I know - I blog about how much I love being a dad, but the reality is that when I lose my temper, or get frustrated with the kids ... I end up feeling really bad. And it's really true that it hurts me to punish them. Now, that sure doesn't stop me - they get sent to their room, and when it's warranted corporate punishment is NOT out of the question ... but even when I get to those points, I feel bad.

I have the kids every weekend, since their mom works weekends, and it's great to see them so often. I feel like I'm just a regular ole part of their lives. However, I also feel like I'm going to fucking choke for lack of ME time. And I've got a whole lot of guilt wrapped up in that.

But the reality is that I work a full time job, am currently finishing up my master's degree, my home and job are 220 miles apart and I travel between two cities every weekend, manage the bills at the house and the bills at the apartment ... and sometimes I just want a spare minute for MOI.

I tried something new this weekend. Now that they are 7 (soon) and 5, I can actually have conversations with them. So, I explained to them that I was cranky because I was sick (stupid head cold) and that I just needed a minute to myself ... I mean, I was out smoking and I got the "Daddy, hurry - come look!" I couldn't even have 5 fucking minutes to smoke my cigarette outside.

I've also been tinkering with my taxes and cleaning the house and doing their laundry and I had to get the oil changed, in BOTH cars, and both needed to be cleaned because kids and back seats are like a ticker-tape parade along fifth avenue ... so, I'm like totally spent. But just talking to them about how I was feeling and that I just wanted a few minutes to myself ... that really helped. They were able to better accept my nuances and their feelings weren't hurt at all.

And that's why I end up feeling like a failure - because I snap at them and hurt their feelings, and really - they only see me on the weekends and I manage to hurt their feelings? It shouldn't be that way.

But this weekend folks? It was really good. I came out of it feeling accomplished, I involved them in some of the house cleaning - took them to the car wash (they love that fucking place) and while Walmart had the car (had to make two trips for two cars) we spent time looking at the fish that were for sale. Did you know that two kids and a few fish tanks could take about an hour's time?

It was great to just sit and stare with them into each fish tank and listen to their explanation of what THEY saw. Children's minds are great - so open, so accepting, so vividly creative ... We played a shitload of nintendo DS this weekend, saw a movie or two and did homework.

And this time, I really truly did come out of the weekend feeling like the world's best dad.

My daughter even told me so - even if she was laying it on thick about how much she loved me so that I would peel away from the tax software and lay on the couch and hold her.

"I want you to HOLD me!"

And hold her I did.

And then my son crawled on top of me and there we three lay looking like beached whales fancying the television and all it's colorful candy for the eye.

I *really* miss the couch.


RunningMom said...

You are a GREAT dad, because you recognize you aren't perfect and because you recognize that you need time for yourself (instead of becoming a bitter, reclusive, nasty sob)

Your kids love you and you love them. The real fun hasn't even started....wait till they're teenagers :D

Enjoy this time while you mean everything to them, but still make time for you!

Darius T. Williams said...

Awww - so great. Next time they all pile up - I'm joining. I wanna get in on the daddy action!

Anonymous said...

Did you check that couch you *really* love for chipmunks?

JACK said...

RunningMom: Thank you. That means a lot.

Darius: You can't get daddy action with the kids around. You wait til they leave.

Anon: LMAO - no, no, no ... it's the OTHER couch that has chipmunks. I was *this* close to getting rid of it too!

♫Musique's Prodigy♫ said...

You are a great dad. The kids love you and you love them. You admit that parenting isn't easy and you are willing to make sacrifices. Enjoy this time while you have, because when they grow up you will still want them as babies.

Super Dave Van Buren said...

Dude I feel you but having personal time will make you a better dad. I realize with every break I get I'm able to re-focus on being a dad and not trying to juggle life.

Ray said...

I know from whence you are coming. I too am gay, am a dad and yeah, worked my ass off while trying to finish grad school...not to mention date! Give yourself a break, in the end I believe our kiddos will appreciate our sacrifice.