I think a lot of parents get asked how we manage to get the energy to keep up with children, as well as, work, cleaning, chores, bills, etc. At least a few times, I week people ask how I avoid being tired. Well, I think everyone has their own method. I kind of like the Hulk approach. ;)
Seriously though, being a parent is exhausting. And no this isn’t going to be a rant about how much harder being a single parent is, because in my opinion it’s about the same. I view the whole normal parenting situation vs single parenting situation, similar to the whole "more money you have, the more you spend". I was probably just as tired when me and Crissy were together,still best friends, working both super hard at work and being parents together. When she left, I just had to really focus on exactly what I needed to do for my kids, work, and personal life. Really, I just cut out little luxuries for myself. So I probably spend as much time as all the other parents who take it seriously. I might get a little less sleep than I did before and had to learn a lot more things, but all in all, parenting itself is a lot of work if you are doing it right.
My main method for charging myself up is finding joy in little things. I always try to think of one thing that I’m excited about that day. Like a little treat to myself that I get to experience with someone else. For instance, today I was excited about giving my friend’s daughter some pictures of some tigers. It was her birthday and she needed a few pictures of tigers for birthday cake ideas. I guarantee some people reading this were thinking, that’s the most depressing thing ever… the fact that what I am most excited about today was giving a kid some printed off pictures of tigers. Maybe there is no one reading who is thinking that; however, I used to think that way. I really had to train myself to understand where happiness comes from. It’s all about thinking about others. To me, it was just a few pictures of some tigers; however to her, it was such an important event. Do you remember being six? Imagine someone giving you a big book of pictures of your favorite animal that you get to pick from and have your birthday cake just like that. I mean come on, when you were six was anything more exciting than your birthday? That’s what I thought about this morning when I woke up. The look on that little girl’s face when I handed her the little folder full of tiger pictures with her name on it. That’s how I try to keep up my energy. Just trying to find at least ONE thing special thing I can do for something else that will make them smile.
Her little birthday cake Tiger Folder :)
However, there are points in my life where I have pretty much no more to give. Just completely drained. Last Friday was one of those days. I got home from work and picked up the kids. We were leaving Saturday morning, so I didn’t make any big plans for Friday. Since I am normally out and about with my kids, they sometimes enjoy a night at the house with no company or big plans or activities. They just want to play and veg out as a family. I was perfectly ok with this. Honestly, I was so exhausted from the week and was hoping to get a somewhat quiet and peaceful night. I stopped on the way home to get a frozen pizza and milk. The night was set. So we just hang out and I start baking the pizza. During dinner I keep saying to these four little sets of eyes staring at me, that dad is going to take a break tonight. Please don’t ask dad for anything. Please don’t fight. Please don’t cry or whine. No fits will be pitched tonight because this is “Dad Night”.
Well, let’s recap how “Dad Night” went. I went to my room and actually was working on a blog post (while the kids were awake ) and in about 7 minutes I hear the most bloodcurdling scream (It’s not really pain, just sounds like some sort of rage)… and… I just kind of sit there waiting and hoping it would simmer down. I hear it again. Should I stand up and go check it out. Maybe… but it’s dad night. In my head, I’m thinking “they’ll be fine”. So again just like Samuel from the Bible, I hear the voice a third time. I pitifully trudge out of my room to see what this commotion was all about. Well, Olive found some food dye. Apparently, she reassured Titus it would be ok to play with it. (Side note: Titus is very trusting.) They then proceeded to paint the floor with these little squirt bottles of food coloring. “Seriously, guys on Dad Night?, I asked.” Anyways, there were laughing and having a blast ruining the resale value of my house. Too tired to have a huge discussion, I take away the food coloring and hand them both a wet rag.
As I am walking back to my room, I hear the scream again. “Crap,” I think to myself, “It’s the big girls.” So I hang my head and slowly walk back to their room. I peek in the door to see Stevie and Neela just staring at each other fiercely. They haven’t seen me yet and I can see they are just having a disagreement over some toy or something. But I hear my brain whispering to my ear. “it’s Dad Night and they haven’t seen you yet. Just quietly back away and sneak to your room. They won’t kill each other. Besides you just bought a big pack of Neosporin and bandaids, so you’re covered anyways.” However even though it was dad night, I still opened the door and walked in between the fiery and silent glare of two rage induced sisters. I ask what’s wrong and Neela speaks up first “Stevie is the meanest person ever. I don’t want to play with her anymore.” Stevie never one to lose an argument, quickly fires back, “I didn’t even start it…” Immediately, I knew this tactic wasn’t going to get me anywhere. They are beyond mad at each other, so I needed to really break things down and find out what happened because I have never seen them this angry. I start to break down the fight. After about 15 minutes of prying information from their little brains, I finally figure out what happened. Neela was mad that Stevie didn’t laugh at her joke. Stevie was mad because Neela’s joke was “the dumbest thing I have ever heard”. Hahahaha. So I asked Neela to tell me the joke. Immediately, she starts smiling and can barely contain herself from laughter when she says, “Why did the peacock be friends with the pizza?” I ask, “I don’t know Neela why?”… “PEANUTS!” as she literally falls to the floor laughing and Stevie starts again with her bloodcurdling scream. I just kind of look at Stevie and say “It’s Dad night, laugh at your sisters joke,” and shut the door.
Titus and Olive by now are taking a bath. I already ran it for them right after dinner, so I know everything is fine in there. I hear them laughing and giggling from my master bathroom. So I just sit down and continue to work on my blog and some other stuff. About 30 minutes later, I turn around the find what looks like the Blue Man Group dashing out of my bathroom door and diving onto my freshly sheeted bed. I just stare at these little blue monsters rolling, jumping, and staining my sheets in a silent utter amazement. I really don’t have words to say because I’m still trying to figure out how they are the same color as Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka. I walk into the bathroom to find out that shortly after “cleaning” up the original food coloring mess, Titus found the mega size bottles of rit-dye and proceeded to dump a few blues in the tub. (I like to tie dye with the kids a bunch so I always keep a lot on hand). So I drain it and bleach it. Then put my little two bluebirds back in the bath and get them clean. I am walking the little two from the tub into the living room to have another pow-wow about “Dad Night”. Of course, when we get in the living room, Stevie and Neela inform me that they found a bullfrog outside, brought it inside, and proceeded to accidentally let it go. Now it’s lost in the house. I pause for a moment and tell them “Good luck finding the frog,” stick the two little kids in bed, lock the door, and go to sleep.
The blue dye tub
PS: we are still looking for the frog.