This is a genuine thing. I’m slowly gaining the balance I need in life and the best thing is that this is happening because I am a parent not in spite of it. Though I have to thank all the other parents that share their troubles and successes for this. It is through their openness that I gain the confidence to just be me.
Instead of trying to be a perfect dad I feel I can be tired and grumpy which, of course doesn’t sound like I’m happy but in truth happy is exactly what I am. I am no longer letting the pressures of life bottle up inside me so I’m no longer getting increasingly stressed throughout the day. Stressed is how things used to be because I am the classic passive aggressive person. Never wanting to boil over so I used to appear calm all the time but when I blew up then I really blew up.
I didn’t know any better at the time but it can actually be quite a stressful way to live. Trying to be calm all the time. That is how I used to be but over the past few years I’ve really worked on that and the answer has been as simple as being myself, letting myself be.
Why being a parent is helping?
As a parent you are at your limit much of the time. There is no longer an option where you can fail and just take the day or evening off or pass on the responsibility. With babies and toddlers, particularly, they always need you and you always have to plan and think of them. You cannot just get time to yourself. The other side of the equation is that they also don’t expect much from you because they don’t know any different, so they love you no matter what. They don’t expect or understand politeness or patience. They just know what they want and express instantly how they feel.
This means I can be myself much more around them. For example, my toddler has tantrums and plenty of grumps, but what toddler doesn’t? Aside from that he is such a happy bundle of fun to be around and I love every minute. So I am following his lesson, if I can think so highly of him even though he is a downright terror 10% of the time then maybe I can let off steam more and still be the person I want to be.
Therefore I have started to express my frustrations and emotions when I feel them instead of letting them building up into anger. I do not express my feeling as much as a toddler because I am still an adult and need to act like one but I do allow myself to be grumpy and annoyed. When my toddler has a tantrum I explain to him that he has now upset daddy and I am now grumpy. I don’t tell him to punish him because he is just learning to deal with his emotions, I tell him so he learns to understand that while I love him I am not perfect. His tantrums do affect me and tire me out so they make me grumpy and irritable.
Knowing this helps us both, he knows why I am upset and is learning that it passes and I still love him all the same. I am not bottling up my emotions and I’m getting over frustrations much faster. Overall I’m just not carrying around so much stress and it shows. We just laugh more and you can’t be stressed when you’re laughing can you? 🙂
So why am I sharing this?
I’m paying back all those who have shared with me. Not trying to be the perfect parent lets me set a better example and lead a happier and healthier life because I’m not getting so stressed when he or I get upset. We don’t let the stresses build up too much because we let them out sooner and recover from them faster. Then we’re back to playing and laughing. The best part of the day 🙂