I used to get really frustrated at work. I did a number of things wrong when frustrated, like complaining to the wrong people, griping, and whining. After 14 months of a startup, work rarely frustrates me any more, but dammit my kids sure can. Let me set the stage.
My family consists of my super-champion wife, a 5.5 year old, and 3.5 year old boy/girl twins. All you families with single kids, I’m ready to acknowledge your life ain’t easy.
Keeping 1 child alive is no simple task, though once you get the hang of it is kinda like having a dog. You can get back to a semi-normal routine, just don’t leave them home alone overnight. Add 2, 3, 4 kids and your life spins out-of-control. This is where a Chinese water-torture type of frustration can settle in due to incessant repeating, screaming loudly, constant demands that can never be fulfilled [Daddy, can we have a Chic-Fil-A in our house?].
From sunup to sundown, three small voices are shouting as loudly as they can into our ears about their “needs”: Breakfast, snacks, playing, fighting, crapping. They’re not going to change anytime soon, so we’re forced to find coping mechanisms.
- Asking questions about what the heck they’re shouting about. People, including small children, love talking about their concerns.
- Pulling my hair up and out. Around the office it’s known as the rooster.
- Renaming Happy Hour and Cocktail Hour to the Punching Hour, because it’s the hour I most feel like punching my kids [haven’t yet].
- Moving up the Punching Hour from 5pm to 3pm on weekends. Nothing calms the nerves like hiding somewhere and sipping a cold beer.
- Waking up earlier. That is, trying to arise before the children climb in bed and jump on my nuts.
- Dedicated alone time or dates with the kids.
- Dedicated date nights with the spouse.
- Deep breathing.
Maybe there’s a lesson in here somewhere…and I do love my children.