Thursday, October 27, 2011
(Father) It's me
I get my kids out the door 4 out of the 5 weekdays whether it be to the park, school, or daycare. It's not easy and sometimes I don't leave as early as I would like. Picking out the "socks that don't feel funny" or refusing to put their seat belts because "I don't know how" when they have done it a hundred times before. I will show up to meet a friend and say, "Sorry, getting the kids out the door was a little more hectic than usual". I receive a sympathetic, "Don't worry about it. It's a hard job" and then we go about our activity.
But I have realized something. I am the problem. One, it is their job to push the limits. It is unfair of me to expect complete obedience to my requests. I am not talking about defiance that deserves time-outs. I'm talking about grumbling as they slowly move about a process they don't want to do. Why should I expect them to feel the pressure of getting somewhere when they are not motivated to be there in the first place. It's like the way we might show up 10 minutes late to work. Two, I try to get as much sleep than I possibly can. I think, "Maybe if I am really on top of things I can get 10 more minutes of rest. Besides, they are quiet and watching cartoons. They really don't want to be disturbed either." Snooze button hit once unrealistic compromise has been made. They are the ones that have woke up early. Not me. Three, I have failed to do the prep work the night before. "I really want to watch the rest of this show so I don't have time right now. Besides, I need my rest. Please refer to snooze button explanation. Four, I can't get them ready and then spend time getting myself ready at the same time. I also can't get them ready first and expect them not to get into trouble while they are waiting for me. Of course I can't have a close shave when every 10 seconds they are in the bathroom asking, "Can I have Ice Cream? Beast is hitting me! Fire just took his shirt off! Fire just went outside! Can you read us a book?" Frustration will come. And what if they really push the limits and a punishment is in order. A three minute time-out is three minutes we don't have. So empty threats come out, for extra compliance of course. When those don't work then you have to unempty the threat and follow through. Another three minutes of throwing the blanket down the garbage disposal plus a tantrum. I end up putting the seat belt on them which just reinforces their expression of incompetence and feel annoyed on the way to wherever because of the sucking sound on the dino-vitamin because my patience level has reached maximum capacity.
My bad friends. So when I show up at my next thing a more appropriate explanation is the kids had a hard time getting me out the door. But I'm not going to do that. Because it is easier to blame them for my problems. Just like they will in their future therapy sessions. It's a win win.