It’s challenging to be at home with the kids all day. The younger they are the more challenging it is. I took over this position as a stay-at-home-dad when my kids were very little. Now we have one kid in Kindergarten and one who is doing half day pre-school twice a week. Things have become easier over these last two years. It’s still not a cake walk by any means, but it’s definitely not as hard as it was in the beginning. I’ve been looking back at my Facebook posts and have been laughing from time to time. I was really struggling back then during the transition from primary bread winner to warden of the monkey house. As warden of the monkey house, I wish there were rules that I could actually enforce. However, as any warden of any monkey house will tell you, it’s a futile endeavor in frustration. What if I could enforce some rules on these emotional wrecks we call children? What would they be?
Rule #1: No screaming of any kind at any time.
Impossible to enforce of course; however, this one makes number 1 in my opinion. There is nothing more grating on your nerves than one, two, or even three small children screaming and wailing for something at the same time. One time I actually removed myself from the screaming, walked into the garage, yelled at the top of my lungs, and then proceeded to kick a big-ole dent in the garage trash can. I then limped back in the house and gave everyone candy.
Rule #2: No messes and everyone must clean up after themselves.
Again, impossible to enforce. These kids can’t even use a freaking fork until they hit age 3 and then they may even refuse to use the fork after that. They turn a beautiful dinner into a food plate Vincent Van Gogh within a matter of minutes. Food ends up in their ears, belly buttons, on their clothes and all over the floor. Cleaning is continuous and it also wears on your motivation over time.
Rule #3: No bowel movements that overcome the engineered capacity of the diaper you are wearing.
My kids have glorious bowel movements. The diapers have labels on them that say 17 to 24 lbs. There is no way they hold that much crap! How are their bowel movements so forceful and explosive? My kids have managed to crap themselves up to the back of their necks while in a seated position. How does it get out of the diaper and that far up their backs? The laws of physics doesn’t work when it comes to my kid’s bowel movements and diapers. Those blow outs really suck.
Rule #4: That toy does not become magically more valuable when your sister is holding it.
Kids want what others have. For example, some crappy McDonalds toy is laying on the floor. This thing is one step away from me chucking it in the trash can. One of my kids picks up this crappy McDonalds toy. The others see that the one has picked up this toy and it magically transforms into a golden statue of desire. There is chasing, and screaming, and grabbing, and maybe even a little MMA grappling going on. STOP IT! It infuriates me to no end that these things happen. Come on kids, that is the same crappy toy that NOBODY has touched in a week. Why must we do this! Why, why, why?
Rule #5: Harden the f*&k up or as Velominati would say HTFU!
The slightest brush of a foot against a face leads to a wailing and screaming as if your own mother had cut off your hand. My kids are worse than soccer players staging a foul after a slight brush from an opposing player. I might enroll them in soccer because these girls can take a dive better than most professional soccer players. As a referee in this house, and a former Marine, I will rarely pull the red card out. I’m not supporting dives taken by a mischance of collision because people are running around the house screaming, slip on some food that they spilled, while chasing a sibling with a crappy McDonalds toy. I always say “suck it up buttercup”, but it really only worked on Marines and not really toddlers. I probably look like a jerk but hey, life’s tough and these girls need to harden up early on. Don’t judge me yet. It’s working, because my oldest kid’s Kindergarten Teacher said that she is super smart and she doesn’t let others push her around. So, judge me if you will, but I’m trying to toughen these kids up for the jerk off kids that are out there being raised by the jerk off parents.
Rule #6: Suck it up!
This one is not for the kids. This rule is for the parents. At my worst I needed someone to come in and tell me to suck it up. Some of these days do drag and the pay is horrible. However, we are doing some of the most important work in our lives. We need to be told to suck it up from time to time. Parenting is not all unicorns and rainbows like we think during the first pregnancy. You have these delusions of grandeur when you have your first kid. They are going to be the best kid ever because you are awesome and your wife is awesome. Then after about 3 months your world starts collapsing around you and all those baby books you read don’t mean a damn thing when you are running low on sleep and motivation. You need that little voice to switch on in your head and say “Suck it up buttercup because this is parenting.”
I’m sure some of you have some more rules we could throw in there. I think I could probably create a list of 50 rules if I wanted. I just don’t want to type that much right now. What are some of your rules? I would love to hear what others have to say. Have a great week.