Competing with the kids for attention

5:30 is anticipated in this house like nothing else. There are other important times in the day that have more weight with the boys like lunch and nap time. When we need to leave for school, or to go back and pick Primo up is another closely watched time but 5:30 is when Beautiful comes home. That is the time that it is no longer me against the kids. I have an advocate, a team mate, a colleague, and they do too. When mommy comes home they get a brand new audience for the tricks and stories that I have long grown tired of and the boys get a shot of adrenaline.

There are days, like yesterday, when Beautiful coming through that door means more to me than others. Days when it has been exhausting or hard and I need my partner, my wife. The irony is those are the days the boys are particularly glad to have their mommy home. Yesterday the boys were both feeling sick and their whining and fighting were at all time highs. I was worn out from trying to be patient, and feeling powerless to make them feel better. Those two feeling mixing together into a powerful parental cocktail of failure and shame. They are sick and I resent them for it. There is no bigger picture in that moment when you telescope into that damning truth.

Coming home into that atmosphere Beautiful comes to the rescue for the boys. She loves on them and takes care of them and makes them feel better in a way that, sometimes, only mom can do. They swell from her love like sad party ballons given new life with a shot of helium and while I am happy for the break I can’t help feeling jealous. It is that jealousy that makes me feel even worse. I mean what kind of person gets jealous of their kids for the time they get with their spouse? Most of us do I would guess. We may not admit it very often or even recognize the feelings when they arise but I bet this is common. It is common here anyway and yesterday it was on full display.

I soon came to terms with my own feelings and realized that, at this moment, the boys needed their mom more than I needed my wife. Soon they would go to bed and I would have her to myself and seeing them revived helped squash those selfish feelings. Mostly parenting is a process of squashing the selfishness that is inherent in all of us and embracing our nobler nature. Some days we are more successful than others but in raising and teaching kids we learn just as much through the process.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

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