Sharing My Struggle

11017500_796305033756995_4362691894724985392_nI’m not one to get overly-serious when I write in this space. Do I complain? Yes. Do I bemoan my screaming kids acting like tyrants? Yes, I do that, too. Right now, though, I’m struggling. And I need to get it out.

I’ve written before about feeling like I was failing as a dad. That was after a very long weekend on my own with both girls for the first time–when Maddie was still an infant. It was a tough weekend. I learned a lot from it. It made me stronger. But, right now, I feel like I’m scraping by in my role as a dad.

Perhaps it’s the age that both girls are at right now. Sophia is one of the most strong-willed four-year olds I’ve ever met in my life. And Maddie is right in that terrible twos pipeline, about to turn two next month. But, I feel beaten down. Like I don’t know what I’m doing. Like I’m being overrun by two kids. It feels like my instincts have been wrong on far too many occasions. They act up, misbehave, scream, yell, fight and I go for corrective action–it always feels like I’m doing the wrong thing.

I can feel my blood boil when they don’t listen. My patience dissipates in record time, and I feel like I could snap. I feel like I’m grasping at straws. Nothing works. I read about different techniques, ask for help, and no matter what I do, I feel like it’s wrong. I’ll tell you this much–it sucks. Being filled with self-doubt about the thing that you are most proud to be is heart-wrenching.

I want to be a great dad. I want to be someone that Sophia and Maddie can look up to. I don’t want to be someone they look at and get scared of because they think I’m going to yell. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be that dad. It seems like I’m heading in that direction and I can’t stand it. Maybe I need to look in the mirror and figure some things out, I’m really not sure. But, I feel like I’m failing.

This isn’t some new realization, either. This has been eating at me for some time now. I’ve just been doing what I always do when something is getting to me–push it down a little deeper and hope it eventually stops. It’s not the healthiest way to deal with a feeling, but it’s just what I’ve always done. It’s terrible, honestly. I’m well aware that when something like this is going on, I need to get it out. Talk it out. Get it off my chest, and figure out a solution. I’m not looking for sympathy here or to be told I’m doing just fine. I just need to get this out so that I’m not burying it.

This can’t be something that I let simmer and burn inside of me for a long time. There are too many long-term ramifications to doing that. That’s why I’m writing it out. This is as much for me as it is for anyone else. I know that I’m not the only one out there–mom or dad–that feel like they’re flailing. This is my struggle and I have work to do.

If you’re struggling too, I’d love to hear about it. How do you deal with it? Leave it in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.

No Toy Left Behind

notoyleftHow’s that saying go? All’s fair in love and toys? No, that’s not how it goes? Well, it should be how it goes. At least for kids. How many times have your kids insisted on leaving the house with toys in tow? A lot? A LOT?? I can’t tell you how many times we’re leaving to go somewhere and Sophia insists on grabbing this toy or that. Many times, it’s when we’re heading out in the morning to go to daycare.

We tell her that she can bring them in the car, but not into school, because we don’t want her to lose them or forget them. Toys are expensive, man! That changes on Fridays, though. Friday is “Sharing Day” at daycare. Meaning, all the kids can bring in a toy or two to share with their friends. It’s cool, it’s sweet, it helps teach them to share–hence the name. Continue reading

Damn You Teething, Damn You!

57085569Dear Sleep,

How are you, old friend? I hope life is treating you well, as I lay awake at night, readying myself for the next scream of pain coming from the room of my one-year old.

What’s the problem, you ask? Have you heard of this thing that babies do, it’s called teething? Oh you have? Good. Then you should know where I’m coming from. If you were not aware of this growing trend, where teeth fight, claw, scratch, and tear their way through the gums, I’d have to refer you to this handy illustrated guide, courtesy of my friends at How To Be A Dad.

You’d like to know what exactly happened? Well, friend that I see all too little of anymore, it’s simple really. Our youngest daughter, Maddie–she’s one now–has three of those little demon teeth pushing their way through her gentle baby-gums AT THE SAME TIME. Those demon teeth are pushing her temperature sky-high, making her uncomfortable at every turn, forcing her to scream for mercy. She just wants relief, Sleep. That’s all she wants. She wants those teeth to stop imposing their will on her gum-line. Just pop through and be done with it, demon teeth!

Let me tell you, Sleep, this whole teething thing is for the birds. Just last night was the worst we’ve experienced to this point. The clock struck 12 and the demons came to play. One whimper turned to an hour of screaming. Then to a short amount of sleep, back to an hour of screaming, back to short amount of sleep, and on and on and on it went until the wee hours of the morning. No amount of Advil or Tylenol or Ora-Jel could soothe her. Shortly before the alarm clock beeped to wake us for the day, poor little Maddie finally fell into your awaiting arms, Sleep.

One day, this whole teething world will be a thing of the past. And both my girls–as well as Sarah and I–will finally be able to re-connect with you, Sleep. It will be a joyous occasion. One where we all well-rested and free of pain and demon teeth. Until then, dear friend, rest easy and be well.

Yours in exhaustion,

Nick

Tyrant – Living Under the Reign of a Toddler

Tyrant4

She’s turning three, the terrible twos are over, we thought. The threes are worse, they said. We didn’t believe them. Perhaps, we were mistaken… Sophia is as sharp as a tack. She’s far smarter than I thought she would be as a three-year old. She’s more advanced than I thought she would be at this point. It amazes me every day. You know what doesn’t amaze me? Living under the tyrannical reign of a toddler. Continue reading

We Don’t Say That – It’s A Bad Word

bad wordKids pick up on every single little thing you say. Everyone knows that. Whether that means they watch what they say in front of kids, well, that’s a different story. Actually, that’s a story I’ve written about before. When they do say words they shouldn’t, it’s important to teach them that the word is bad, wrong, something they shouldn’t say. Yeah, I mean, eventually they’ll say them, but hopefully that is years down the road.

Anytime Sophia says a word she knows she shouldn’t be saying, like dammit or shut up, she immediately knows what is going to come out of our mouths: “We don’t say that, it’s a bad word.” Sometimes, she’ll even preempt us and tell us we don’t say shut up, or we don’t say dammit. Hey, at least she knows she shouldn’t be saying them.

BUT, that has put me into this habit of saying “we don’t say that, it’s a bad word” anytime I hear the trigger words. Continue reading

My Daughter Is Just Like Me As A Kid–And It’s Driving Me Nuts

When I was a kid, my mom used to say “I can’t wait until you have a kid and they are JUST LIKE YOU. Paybacks.” That’s a true story. You know what else is a true story? The fact that she got her wish. From the day Sophia started being mobile, she has been non-stop. I mean NON-STOP. Talking all the time? Check. Running around non-stop? Check. Never wanting to sleep? Double-check.

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Someone stole my ice cream… #realdadmoments #rehobothbeach

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What Time Is It? Tantrum Time

hair pull out“Oh, you think the twos are bad?! Just wait until they hit three! They’re even worse!” Just wait, they said. It’ll be bad, they said. Who are “they”? Try every parent I ever encountered in the last three years. And ya know what? THEY WERE RIGHT. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, or through a mine field, at all times. It’s a matter of when not if a tantrum is coming. Because OH IT’S COMING and it’s coming STRONG. You see Al Bundy over there on the right? That’s how I look pretty much at all times when at home. With less hair, because, ya know, balding. Continue reading