Last week, when I asked my Facebook followers for topic ideas, someone suggested I tackle the mixed feelings parents have when their kids misbehave. Which almost sounds crazy. Why would anyone have anything but bad feelings when their kids misbehave?
Then, earlier this week, I got yelled at by a bunch of people who got angry that I let my son run rampant on airplanes. Never mind that I don’t do that, and that my son has (thus far) been very well-behaved on airplanes; these people said HURTFUL things that MADE ME CRY.
And it got me reconsidering that reader’s request, especially since I suddenly and strongly want my kid to misbehave on our next flight, just out of spite.
I’m a single parent* this week.
My wife is out-of-town, so I’ll be watching my threenager without her assistance for a good ten days. I’ll be responsible for feeding him and getting him dressed and getting him to bed and giving him his bath and telling him no and weathering his tantrums and telling him no and weathering his tantrums and telling him no and…
I’m not nervous about being alone with my son for a week; even though I’m not a stay-at-home dad anymore, I’m alone with my son all the time. I’m his dad and dads are parents too, contrary to popular opinion. The occasional bout of single parenting is part of the job, and I’m used to it.
But just because I can do it doesn’t mean I want to.
I talk a lot about the tyranny of judgment on this blog. Because it’s the worst, in all its forms. And there are many.
There’s the judgment of strangers. There’s the judgment of Other Parents. There’s even the judgment of spouses.
But the worst judgment of all has to be the judgment of your children.
Especially when they’re right.
Newsflash: Kids are stressful. They disrupt your life, and the lives of the people around them, even when they’re on their absolute best behavior.
That’s why we parents often prefer to hang out with other parents. Not only so we can bitch about the stress to someone who has had similar experiences, but because when there are other kids around, your kid has something to do rather than keep pulling your arm and causing you to spill your drink.
Also because your own kid’s bad behavior is less noticeable when he’s part of a team. There’s strength in numbers. For parents, numbers provide solidarity.
For our children, they provide camouflage. Especially at parties.
I’ve written about my son’s whining before.
Of course I’ve written about it before. It’s such a large part of my day-to-day existence, the presence of the whine, the powerlessness to do anything about the whine, the desire to drink lots of wine because of the whine, that how could I not have written about it before?
But that was foolish. Because in the time since I wrote that post, things have taken a turn. And I’ve learned that whatever whining that I was, ahem, whining about back then was hardly whining at all.
When I was a kid, The Karate Kid was one of my favorite movies. If I’m totally honest, it still is. I see it listed in the channel guide and there’s no way I’m not watching the tournament.
Growing up, I was so enamored with the uplifting tale of Daniel LaRusso’s war against the neo-Nazi community of Southern California that my parents thought I might want to take karate classes. And I would have, if I hadn’t been so terrified of landing in a Cobra Kai-type school with a Vietnam-traumatized sensei who would force me to be racist and do push-ups on my knuckles.
Come on, I was like eight years old. Which I thought was a little young for martial arts. Except almost 30 years later, my son is taking them, and he’s three.
Today is national “Take Your Kid to Work Day” or “Bring Your Children to the Office Day” or “Escort Your Sons and Daughters to a Soundproof Room as Far Away from My Desk as Possible, You Fucking Psychopath Day” and as such, my office has been transformed into a crayon-littered war zone, if wars took place amid cubicles and were fought by tiny sugar-amped scream machines.
I understand the purpose of such Take Your Kid to Work Day: to let your kids into a mysterious part of your life and show them you do when you’re not at home; to teach them about work; to inspire their work ethic; to scare your childless colleagues off of having children of their own; to grind all productivity to a halt. But that doesn’t mean it makes much sense.
Having kids around does not a stress-free workday make, whether in the office or at home. I learned that a few years back, and Mom and Buried is discovering that now, only for her it’s every day and not once a year.
So in honor of “Get Your Kid Out of my Face I’m Trying to Get Something Done! Day”, I’m resurrecting the aforementioned older post, about “working” from home when there’s a kid around.
Here’s an excerpt from the original post, all of which you can read here:
When I first realized my job allowed for the occasional work-from-home day, I was thrilled. And my wife was through the roof. After all, we had a baby due soon, and when that little guy landed, my wife was going to need all the help she could get, especially during the first few weeks and months of dealing with a newborn. So having me at home once in a while was going to be great. What she didn’t count on was the “work” part of “working from home.”
Original Post: Home-work Almost as Bad as Actual Homework