Our Story Begins:
I Don’t Like Being a Parent (Sometimes)
I hear it all the time, surrounding me at work and at the mall and even just walking down the street: “I just love being a parent”; or “I am my kids’ Mom/Dad”; or “I can’t picture doing anything else” (beside parenting). I hear it, or more often than not, read it online. When I do I get that Catholic guilt that drilled into my head from 12 years of Catholic school.
I just don’t feel that way.
Sometimes . . . just sometimes, mind you . . . I just don’t like being a parent.
When my child goes off to see their latest crush, after school, leaving their siblings at home, it stretches my parenting limits. That’s certainly a punishable offense. When that person is supposed to be home watching said sibs and one of them has been injured, badly, after school . . . knee skinned and bleeding, a basketball having hit their mouth – filled with braces . . . they call their Dad and say “I need help, what do I do?” When I ask “where’s (insert name of other child here)?” I get “they are down the street visiting friends.
So in one fell swoop I am met with anger, frustration, worry about the injured child, fear about whether they can bandage themselves up right . . . and I hate being a parent.
When I take my kids out to lunch and have to remind them that using your phone all…through…lunch isn’t just rude it’s disrespectful, I want to hit myself in the head with a hammer.
I have dealt with one kid nearly failing the 8th grade, not because they didn’t do their home work, no. They nearly failed because they didn’t even turn in the work, most of which they had actually done. I see this and wonder what in the name of all that is holy would possess you to do homework and then not turn it in?! Some points are better than NO points, right?!
We are approaching five years ago that my wife, Andrea, passed away. Since that time I am parenting 100% of the time. Now, I know what you’re going to say: “once you have a kid you are parenting 100% of the time.” Certainly, you are a parent 100% of the time if you have a partner or an ex. You are not parenting 100% of the time. Even if you have that partner or ex it’s not easy. Things happen, kids push your limits and, let’s face it, there are days you really just don’t like your kids very much.
The “my kids’ mom/dad” crowd just fainted, I realize that.
It’s true, though. I also think all the people who live for their children cannot possibly think their children are perfect and the best thing they have ever done all the time. I mean, I think even Jesus himself must have tested the limits of his parents’ patience. “I don’t care if you’re doing your father’s work, your earthly father and mother looked all over the damn market and temple for you and this is what you’re doing?! You are grounded, young man. If your heavenly father has an issue with that he can come talk to me!”
I love my children, probably more than anything in the world. (Okay, my green Eric Clapton Stratocaster guitar comes close to edging them out sometimes) But just because I love them and care for them doesn’t mean I always like them. There are days I can see proof that frontal lobe of their brain hasn’t fully formed as they do some of the most inane things I have ever seen.
I live, not just for my kids but for all of us. I have a job, a life, I cook, I clean, I play guitar, I write, and I do it all, 24/7, no break, few respites. So when I want to go on a date, or have a drink after work, or just go for a run on a trail alone it’s not because I don’t love them. The one constant in all this is I always will love them.
I just don’t like being a parent sometimes . . . and you know what? That’s okay. Nobody, in spite of what the articles and messages tell you, does.