About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

They just don't deal with the kids like we do.

Have you ever just wanted to take a couple of days away from the kids? It is the silent (ok, not always so silent!) dream of nearly every stay-at-home parent. The opportunity to simply take a break, a vacation from the day to day role of raising kids. Now, understand that I am not calling what we do a chore. However, just as working people get vacations away from work, sometimes we need to take a break from what we do every day. Instead of a week full of laundry, meals, homework, runny noses and poopie bottoms, wouldn't a week on a tropical island with no one pulling on our shirts or calling out that dreaded word (DADDY!!!!... or MOMMY for those of you who are of the female persuasion... ) over and over again?

Well, if you've ever thought of actually taking that leap, I'm sure there've been several obstacles blocking that trip to tranquility. First, and foremost, is the fact that many of us who do the daily child raising aren't completely convinced that our spouse could actually handle things while we are gone. Have you ever been gone for a day, say maybe a shopping trip or a day of running errands, and gotten home only to have your spouse say "man... I'm so glad you're back. The kids are driving me crazy!" or "I'm at the end of my rope with the kids!" All we can do is simply look at them with disbelief. How can things have gotten so bad with them in the time that I've been gone?

I've often thought about why it is that parents who work at a job during the day struggle when asked to take the kids for an extended period of time. I was talking to a friend recently who related to me that he didn't know how his wife managed with the kids. He talked about the times (rare) that he "had" the kids. He told me he would quickly run out of patience and would be completely stressed mere hours after she had left. Truthfully, this is something I hear quite often from parents who work outside the home. What I've struggled with for years, though, is understanding WHY a parent would have trouble being with their kids and being responsible for them for more than 10 minutes. I would think, "seriously dude... they're YOUR kids!" And I would really struggle with not feeling a sense of anger towards them. As a stay at home parent, I know the ins and outs of bad days with the kids. What my wife would consider as a bad day with the kids would be nothing more than a normal day from my standpoint.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is grocery shopping with the kids. I truly and honestly think nothing of hauling my 4 kids with me to the grocery store. And yet, when my wife is home and I get ready to go, she'll say something like "can you take one or two of the kids with you?" Huh??? Or, she'll say something like, "I can't go to the store until you get back because I just can't take all of the kids with me." Seriously??? Over the last 9 years or so I've taken the kids with me wherever I've gone, whether it be a trip to the grocery store or to sit at a restaurant. I've always been of the mentality that they WILL conform to what I want to do. They will be in orbit around me, not the other way around. And so, as you can imagine, I expect the same of my wife. I expect that if I can do it, so can she. After all, they are her kids as well. Right?

Well, actually, not really. The truth is, as much as we'd like to believe that parenting is a joint and equal effort, it really isn't. I've been raising kids since our first was born back in 2001. First, there was just one, then two, then three, and now four. Just like those of you who stay at home with the kids, I understand how my kids work and what makes them tick. It's been my job for nearly 10 years and I've gotten good at it, just like you. We may not always like our job, but we certainly know how to do it. But ask yourself this: can you go out to the shooting range and hit 35 out of 40 bulls-eyes? Can you pack up and go jump out of a plane tomorrow morning? Do you even know how to clean an M16, much less take it apart? Exactly... me neither. Our spouses are good at what they do in their jobs. They are experienced and are successful in what they do. But when we put them into our job, they struggle, just as we would if the roles were reversed. Our spouses love our children with all of their hearts, never doubt that. That doesn't mean, though, that they know what they are doing when fights break out between the kids or when little Johnny needs help wiping his bottom. That stuff is second nature for us because we've been doing it for so long. They haven't had to do it, so they struggle.

My wife has always told not only me, but others as well, that she truly appreciates what I do. She has also been candid enough to admit freely that she couldn't do what I do each and every day. And truthfully, I think that admission goes a long way towards helping me to understand the differences between us when it comes to raising kids. I'm never going to be in the Army doing all of those crazy things they do. And she's never going to stay at home with the kids and be at their beck and call.

The thing of it is... we know how to deal with the day in - day out stuff that goes with raising kids better than they do simply because we do it all the time. And, truthfully, when we all go on a vacation the only one who is actually NOT at work is our spouse. Our kids come to us for the answers to their problems and to ask permission for what they want. And as much as I'd like for my wife to take more of that role, it's probably not going to happen. But that's ok. This is my job. I'm good at it, and I like what I do. Now, about that vacation....

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

2 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I am also an Army Dad. We are just starting our career, my wife is in her last year of ROTC nursing and will be commissioning soon after. From there it will be active duty. anyway, we have 5 kids and I have been the stay-home parent for about two years now. I use to be a police officer and this can be harder at times! LOL

    Our kids are 2 to 9 and a great bunch of fun. I learned to embrace the chaos as I call it and just have fun. Going shopping with the herd is fun and I love the looks I get!

    Have read all your Blog and I really enjoy, keep it up. I have a blog as well but it is more about my hobby board wargames. I do post odds and ends there but you put me to shame!

    Joe Steadman
    www.wargamenews.com

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  2. Hey, I'm an Army wife, my husband has been in for almost 4 years now and we are on our second deployment. I'm a stay at home mom, and I know exactly how you feel about the vacation! I tell my husband all the time I just need one day! Just one. It's the same for my husband though when I leave him with the children, he is calling or texting me within 30 minutes to ask how long I will be and that the kids are driving him crazy or just wont stop. I love this post I think it's amazing! I tell my husband all the time that I'm going to go get a job so that I can have a break from the kids. A little "adult time" for myself. I am really enjoying your blog! Keep it up!

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