Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Battle Rages On

I was a master at justifying it when my treatment of my kids was a bit rough.
Among them? I never hit them, kick them or purposely hurt them in any way. I yelled at them at times, yes, but I never called them names.
But mostly, if I did lose my temper for a snap second, I figured no one would blame us for it. We have three kids under 5. We have 2-year-old twins. And they are cute, smart and loving, but they are also challenging. As my mother said, "They're just not relaxed children." It's the best way to describe them. They challenge us every day, and not just every day but several times a day.
It's so easy to sink down into a pit and believe life could not get any harder. We have two cars, good jobs, parents who help support us any way they can, healthy, cute, smart kids and our health (and it's good health), but I still believe that almost every day. I believed it today when one of the three pretty much screamed from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. They switch off.
At times, all that stress has to go somewhere. And until recently, occasionally I'd ship it back to my kids.
I don't know when it occurred to me that I wasn't being the father I wanted to be, but I think it was when Jayden was causing trouble with the girls, as he will do (as any 4-year-old would do as the brother of twin girls, I think) and I wondered for the 105,000th time why can't our kids just sit there? Why can't they just relax? 
The obvious answer, that they are just kids, did not occur to me, and instead I grabbed his wrist and pulled him away from the girls, and he fell on the ground, and I dragged him a bit on the ground. Then I told him to leave them alone.
There are few things more awful in this world when your kids look at you with fear in their eyes, and what's even worse is when you're the one they're afraid of.
So I thought about that later and made a goal. I'm good with goals. Goals are why I run hard, why I've climbed so many peaks and why I work hard on so many of my stories. 
My new goal is to fight the urge to be angry, to feel sorry for myself, and instead be a lot more patient with the girls and especially with Jayden. They deserve that and so do I.
Lately, it's worked. Today, for instance, Jayden was throwing a fit because he was with me and not with Kate because I met her at the wrong park. It had, as I said, been a tough morning, and in the past, my tolerance would have worn down and I would have told him to shut up or forced him back in the car. 
But today I calmly told him to get in the car, tried to soothe his tears and drove him to the park. We wound up having a great day, with him curled up next to me, as we watched Tiger Woods choke away his first PGA title, until I had to go to work.
It's progress. It will always be a battle with me. But it's one worth fighting.


Away2me (Deanna) said...

I've been a lurker for quite awhile now. I just want to say, I totally know where you are coming from. We have a 3yo and 6 month old twins.

I'm home all day with all 3 of them. It is so hard. Especially given that we have no family close and don't have a sitter or helper.

But I'm learning to deal with things better and sure enough, my 3yo's attitude improves too.

cindilicious said...

I wish I had read this years ago, when I was raising a young stepdaughter - so many times I should have been kinder and more patient. Good job on you for getting the message!