I don’t care if you have 1 kid or 10 kids. It makes no difference if they’re older or if they wear diapers. It doesn’t matter if you are laid back or high strung. Single parent, rich, poor, have a nanny, live with the grandparents, have a doctorate in child development… none of that matters. There will be days when no amount of prayer will lessen the crazy that your blessed children will bring. Don’t let the title of this post fool you. There have been days when I wanted to quit my parenting job.
Just so you have a frame of reference, I have 5 children. Their ages are 9, 3, 2, 1, and 8 months. Our 4 youngest are all boys.
One of Those Weeks
Last week, leading up to the evening of Halloween, I was having a hell of a time with the kiddos. It was a perfect storm of maddening behavior coming from the five people who I love most in this world. The week was filled with constant diarrhea filled diapers, children that didn’t want to do their chores, toddlers and babies waking up no less than 10 times a night, and a 2 year old with a high pitched shrill scream that would make a dog want to stick a pencil in their ear drum. Oh, and did I mention that they were all puking the weekend before? Even my poor wife had to get on a plane and start a travel week after spending 24 hours making friends with a puke bucket. A bad way to start things off.
I got to my breaking point on Halloween night. I was getting all the kids ready to go to a party at a friend’s house and do some trick or treating when it all unraveled. The kids were waking up from naps. They were all very grouchy. No matter what I did, it was wrong and caused screams that made me feel like my brain would bleed. And then, in the middle of that, my poor poor wife tells me that her flight home has been canceled. (Seriously, this sucked for her more than me. She had been gone all week and now she would be gone for 5 more days.) She was going to miss her second Halloween with us because of outside circumstances. At this point, I was ready to put the kids in a safe place, grab a bottle of whiskey, and hide in a sound proof closet. However, that wasn’t an option. Thankfully, praise the Lord, our friend Heather showed up at the best possible time. (Nobody was in danger, so relax.)
I think she could feel the tension the minute she walked through the door. She knew just by looking at me that I was at the end of my rope. You know what she did? She didn’t ask questions. She didn’t ask what was wrong. She didn’t tell me to cheer up or that my kids don’t know any better. She did the best thing she possibly could have done. Heather just jumped in and started helping. She changed a diaper while I calmed down the child who was crying the hardest. Once I was able to concentrate on calming my child, I was able to calm myself. I just wanted the crying to stop and the happy to start.
Thank God For The Village
Now, why am I publicly confessing such honest feelings on my blog? It’s not for sympathy. I am bringing this up to praise my support team. I am talking about this to encourage parents to ask for help during those times that are too insane for a deep breath to help. If anything, I just want people to know that there is NOTHING to feel ashamed of when you need that extra hand to pick you up.
How do I survive these kind of days? I like to tell people I drink lots of beer, but that’s not true at all. The things that get me through the tough days are my wife, my friends, and my family. All God sends.
In the story above I only talked about the bad parts of my day, but after Heather showed up and we went to the party, things only got better. Once I got there, people grabbed the kids from me and handed me food. My two oldest boys ran off to play with the other kids that were there, and the youngest ones were being held by someone other than me. I got a beer and sat on the back porch with my tacos and a fellow stay at home parent, Nichola.
Nichola and her husband Wes are two of our closest friends. They have 4 children of their own. I think the parent in her could see it in my body language that I was having a tough time. She did the best thing she could have done. She invited me to rant. After I was done getting it all off my chest she said, “I get it.” No advice. No judging. No feeling sorry for my kids. By the end of the conversation, we were having a good laugh about the perils of parenting and how important it is to take a break. She is a champ when it comes to stepping in for stressed out parents.
Sometimes, all a stressed out parent needs is for someone to take the kids for 10 minutes and let you scream in a dark room, or close your eyes on the couch, or play a game on your phone, or just cry. The most important thing is that no one makes you feel bad about it, including yourself. It’s perfectly normal to feel a little crazy.
So there you go. I hope and pray that everyone has friends and family they can rely on when the going gets tough. If you don’t, please find someone. Even if all you have is someone to text, that’s a good start. Heck, you can message me on my public Facebook page. I’ll respond. The important thing is to find support.
If you ask me, they need to change the saying to “It takes a village for parents to maintain their sanity.”