Monday, February 6, 2017

Parenthood: Week 190 – The Grind

The respite doesn’t come when I get home from work. That’s when things start to pick up.

Usually when we get home, I let Ollie watch a television show. In that half-hour, I have to take care of Ollie’s lunch bag, put away my own stuff, tidy up from the mess that comes from the chaos of trying to get out of the house in the morning, let Buffy out to the backyard, empty the dishwasher, get dinner started, answer some emails, maybe deal with the mail and sometimes, sit down and stare into space.

Sunday night isn’t any better; well almost any time of day isn’t any better. In the moments when we relax, it’s not because there aren’t chores to be done, it’s because we actively choose to ignore what needs to be done.

Being a parent is learning to live with a to do list that never gets done and letting go of things that once in your life would be a priority. This is a constant battle and it’s a challenge to constantly prioritize but you figure out what’s important, or at least you try.

This has meant that I have paid bills late, which never happened before Ollie was born, I have compromised on my goal to cook homemade meals most of the time and long term projects like organizing digital photos and videos have been left undone.

It’s really a grind, but it does get easier. You figure out how to do certain tasks more efficiently, you and your partner do a better job negotiating the endless lists of tasks and somehow in all of the madness important things get done.

While I try to get things done, there’s Ollie asking me to play with him. Sometimes it’s easy to tell him that he needs to wait as I prepare something for him to eat and sometimes it’s easy to just stop writing that email and play with him.

 Other times it’s really hard.

I want to get stuff done, but more than that I want to spend time with my boy. However most of the time, directly or indirectly, what I’m doing will benefit him, but so will my immediate presence and attention. Ollie doesn’t understand all of the things that weigh on my mind, all he sees is that I’m doing something and choosing not to give my attention and time to him. Yes, I want him to grow to understand that he can’t have me all of the time, sometimes, he has to wait. But part of me doesn’t want him to ever know that he isn’t always the center of my universe.

I want him to know and to never forget that I am always for him.  Even when I’m doing things for myself, I’m think about how rejuvenating my spirit will make me a better dad for him.

The grind is one of the worst parts about parenting, but that doesn't mean that I still don't love being a parent.  It just means that the moments when the house is quiet and the dishes are done are more satisfying as I look forward to seeing Ollie's smile in the morning.

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