The irony of writing about parenting is that there are many times when I become a somewhat inattentive parent to do it. That is, I tend to ignore my children so I can write about how much I love being with them. It’s a paradox.
Of course, writing is my living, and letting my kids fend for themselves for an hour here or there while I earn a paycheck isn’t a bad thing. I’m sure there are a lot of parents that would love to work from home while their kids play, do homework, or whatever it is they are doing in their room. It’s all relative.
However, there is a downside to having kids underfoot while deadlines are on the table, and I met mine yesterday.
It was a normal day. One boy was downstairs doing his homework and the other was sitting by my feet, doing his. The latter likes to chat me up while he’s working, which is exactly the last thing I need when I’m trying to focus on something creative, but I know these moments are fleeting so I humor him. Usually.
We had just returned from the park, and I was using the inspiration from our trip to write my required post at DadCentric. I was in the groove and felt like I was writing well (although you would never know it from the finished project), and he was whining about rather abstract notions and things I couldn’t help but label as meaningless.
He was tired, kind of hungry (it was too close to dinner for a snack), and frustrated by mathematical word problems (I don’t blame him on that last one, he’s in freaking kindergarten — who cares what time the train reaches Chicago?). After much back and forth, I asked him to go downstairs.
Then he started whining to his brother. I could hear the older boy growing annoyed, his voice higher in pitch. Then they were shouting and calling to me. I went down, assessed the situation, and told them that I needed quiet while I was working. Whining. Yelling. Screaming. Rinse. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Things got out of hand, and then my hand did the same.
“Just stop it!” I yelled. I had snapped. There was brick wall to my right and I hit it, which is as stupid as it sounds.
They stopped. The wall had a hole in it, and in that moment I wished that it had been a real house of brick rather than a cardboard fort taking up too much space beneath the bend of the staircase. A broken hand would have been preferable to the look of terror on my youngest son’s face. I felt like a monster.
The cardboard house was already scheduled for demolition, but the boys didn’t know it. It would have happened when they weren’t around. It would have been folded into pieces and faded away with the night. They probably wouldn’t have even noticed. The fort had long been forgotten as a destination and had spent the last month as a lean-to of sorts, a place for little hoarders to hide things that wouldn’t fit elsewhere. It had long outstayed its welcome. None of which justified my behavior.
I huffed and I puffed, and when the house blew down, it took a part of me with it. Who’s afraid of that?
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).