What to Do When Your Kids are Making You Psycho
This past weekend, my wife had to be away for two days, which meant I was in charge of managing Daddy Daycare for a three and four-year-old. I figured that two days might be a challenge, but I was up for it. I was not.
I mean, I did okay the first day; but the second day, the wheels started coming off first thing in the morning. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before, and my wife left me a list of things I had to do, which only made me crankier. I was like, Look, if I’m going to be in charge of these kids, then I’m going to be in charge. I don’t need a list. Rah!!!
I hadn’t even made breakfast before my youngest daughter began threatening to knock down the block castle my oldest daughter had constructed the day before.
“Stop-it-stop-it-stop-it-stop-it,” squealed my oldest child as her sister went all King Kong and took down a wall of the castle.
I stopped my egg scrambling, hollered at my three-year-old, and angrily tried to talk sense into her. I knew I was in trouble when I got annoyed that quickly, so at 6:58 a.m., I texted my friend Sam and said, “Just the girls and me today. I’m already ticked off. Please pray. Thank you.”
I got a reassuring text from Sam, who said he was praying.
Things improved a little bit, but when I asked the girls to clean the living room and they just started rolling around on the floor, I knew it was just a matter of time before my temper started flaring up. So I texted my friend Aaron at 11:04 a.m. and said, “Feeling like an angry daycare worker dad today. Raquel isn’t home. I had the kids all day yesterday. I will take anything you’ve got. Please jump into this with me in whatever way you think will be good.”
I missed a callback from Aaron, who prayed for me over voicemail.
In order to preserve my sanity, I took the girls to the park, where I read my Bible and took deep breaths as they played around. Fortunately, by the time we got home and I made lunch, I felt like a rational human being again, and I apologized to the girls for being short with them that day.
The whole experience taught me a lesson that I’m sure the moms out there already know: when you’re feeling wacko with the kiddies, you’ve got to invite other people and Jesus into the experience.
You need others to join you, because even if they can’t be with you in person, just knowing that they might later ask how things went makes you more aware of your tone, body language, and inner state. And you need to invite Jesus, because without divine intervention, you’re just being a good parent in your own sorry effort, which will eventually collapse on itself.
You know, it’s probably true of any sin we’re tempted to indulge in, whether it’s the sin of angry parenting, judgment, lust, rage, or gluttony. We’ve got to invite people into our ugliness, and we’ve got to invite Jesus in – because otherwise, we’re left to our own devices, which are usually no match for the circumstances that have a knack for bringing out our worst.