The Most Frustrating Thing

Parenting is inherently frustrating, right? Well, I think I may have found the most frustrating thing, in case you were wondering what it is. The most frustrating to me at least (because everyone is different). I have noticed lately that my fuse becomes amazingly short, I mean clipped to the end, when I am trying to accomplish something and my kids keep interrupting. Maybe you can relate.

Before stay-at-home parenthood was my routine, I remember watching a video of a couple of moms complaining that they never got anything done. Not even that they just never finished anything they wanted to, but making fun of the idea that it was even possible. I noted the commentary, but thought to myself, Yeah, but surely I can finish something, right? I'm a pretty smart guy; pretty resourceful... But I set my ambitions low. I remember my first day on the job, actually, where my only goal outside of keeping Ellie alive was to do the dishes. That's it. (And I'm pretty sure I succeeded.)

An actual picture of my first stay-at-home dad extra curricular task. (2014)

After a few months of being the primary caregiver, I remember telling friends that you could get about one or two things done per day, as in cleaning the floors or cooking a meal, answering emails or writing a blog. Outside of those meager tasks, your day would be consumed by keeping your child(ren) alive. But as they get older and the more independent they become, you start to get ambitious. Now, as I find both children often playing independently or together, I think things may have gotten out of hand...

I'll be editing a video or working on a song, maybe even fixing something or hanging shelves. "Daddy, daddy, daddy, the lights aren't working in our clubhouse." "Waverly is throwing all my pictures down on the floor." "Ellie is standing on the table." This is the soundtrack of my day, and when I am in the middle of something, it might as well be fingernails on a chalkboard.

So how do I combat this? Don't try anything? Yeah right...but seriously, maybe I'm trying to do too much?

Here is song about a life out of balance.

Sometimes I get to the end of my day and do a quick recap of what I did with the girls. There are days when I hardly played with them at all, but set them, or let them set themselves, on some task and then go work on my own thing. Make a meal and then go work. Turn on the TV and then go work. Enforce "rest time" and then go work. Is this right, though?

I know what your'e thinking: You have a life too, Rick. You have pursuits and passions, and you have a right to explore them. Maybe so. I mean, that's what this whole blog is about, in a way. But it all has to stay in balance, right? If I find myself getting frustrated because my kids -- the number one priority in my day -- are bothering me, perhaps my priorities need a shift. I do draw life and energy from creating, writing blogs and books and music, and sometimes my work actually pays the bills (or a portion thereof); but my first role of the day is Dad. And when I neglect that role for something more selfish, it's no wonder I get frustrated -- I'm not doing what I am here to do, and frankly that's not right.

So if you are overly ambitious, as I tend to be, prioritize your life and see if things are getting out of order. It might be this lack of balance, rather than a lack of time or energy, that is your most frustrating thing.