Friday, January 30, 2009

All work and little play

Sometimes I worried about what kind of a parent I was when I would dread - and I do mean dream - days like today, when I've got all three kids, all day long.
How could I dislike, even occasionally, hate spending that much time with my kids and be a loving parent?
Well, I thought about that, in bed, with the covers pulled to my nose, as my wife fixed them breakfast downstairs before she handed them over to me.
And I feel better about it.
It's not my kids. I love my kids dearly. I love nurturing them.
But the nurturing doesn't happen most of the time. Most of the time, parenting is work.
That's it. It's hard work. It's hard, exhausting, numbing, tedious, even disgusting work, sometimes for 14-16 hours, and it starts at 6 a.m. and doesn't end until 8 p.m. (if we're lucky, many times you work overtime in the middle of the night). It leaves little time with your partner - you're lucky to get in a half-hour during the day, and usually by then you're too tired to do anything about that.
Almost everyone I've talked to say parenting is rewarding, the most rewarding thing they've done, they say. I'd agree with that. But it's not always rewarding. In fact, many times it isn't.
This, I think, is especially true when you have twins. The nurturing usually gets replaced by more work. Reading a book is rewarding, but it's hard to do that when the other one is either trying to crawl up, too, or is playing with a socket. Dressing, diapers, feeding, whatever, take twice as long, and that cuts into the nurturing time as well. Throw in the toddler, and we're basically screwed.
No, it's not the woman who had eight kids, but you get the idea.
Getting up in the middle of the night for three years is not rewarding. Shit fits are not rewarding. And here's how my day started today. Literally two minutes after I had put Allie in a fresh diaper and dressed her in a cute overalls outfit, she exploded, shitting her diaper so hard I'm surprised it didn't lift her to the ceiling. It was everywhere.
Then, when I got through cleaning that up, I walked outside, and Jayden said, "I pooped." Same thing. He destroyed his pants.
If you can find anything at all rewarding about that, let me know. Because I can't.
The moments that make it worth it help salve everything else. But those moments don't come often enough. And now I have to go. I smell more poop, and the mall and its play area awaits.

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