Balancing Fun and Frustration in Parenting…

While we were up in Michigan a few weeks ago, we spent an evening with my Aunt and Uncle who I hadn’t seen in a long time. They have a huge yard and the kids were having fun running around, to the point where they got a little wild at the end and weren’t listening when we said it was time to stop playing in the lake and come inside.

Sensing our frustration, my wise-cracking uncle commented, “And just think – these are the fun years!” before leaving us to wrangle our kids out of the water.

I’ve done a lot of reflecting in the last month since my Dad passed away, and I keep coming back to that line over and over again because deep down I know that as much as the boys might drive us crazy, it’s not going to be like this forever … and not necessarily in a great way.

Kids eventually grow up, and hopefully ours will be the kind who still want to spend time around their parents when they become teenagers, but you never know. Then adulthood comes and you have to step back even more and see what they become as you also try to live out the golden years of your own life yourself.

And it kind of changes the perspective when you’ve been hearing, “Dad! Dad! Dad!” the entire car ride and just want some peace and quiet if you take a different approach and remember that you might one day reach a point where you’d love to hear it, if not for a million other priorities that will take over their own lives as they grow into the full-sized people that they’re destined to become.

It’s not easy – because kids seem particularly well suited for stripping you of your sanity at the most vulnerable of times. But I’m trying to show a little more restraint, and a little more patience when I’m plagued with 20 questions on a simple trip to the grocery store or one of them just wants to come in and hang out on the floor in my office while I’m working.

The other day I was actually talking to Christopher about if he decided to have kids of his own one day, and I told him as honestly as I could, “Sometimes it can be really challenging, and other times it’s absolutely awesome.”

I think the trick is to not let yourself dwell in the extremes and just live every day that you get for what it is.

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