Switch!

I often wonder, mostly after my wife and I remind our children that we are not their butler or maid, what it would be like to have a day when we and our children switch roles.

What would it be like?

My day usually starts around 6 or 6:30 depending on the time of year and how full my bladder is. So I am the first one up, showered and dressed and then, with my wife, head into our children’s bedrooms around 7:00 to start their morning routine.

I wonder what it would be like for my children to hear the alarm go off and then immediately get out of bed…instead of rolling over for another 15 minutes of shut-eye? I wonder what it would be like for them to come into my wife and I and wake us up and get us moving…performing the morning rituals….making our bed, deciding what to wear (with minimal amounts of drama), getting dressed, doing our hair, brushing our teeth and making our way downstairs for breakfast in a timely manner.

I wonder what it would be like to have our children get our breakfasts prepared…telling us what is available for us to eat…not getting upset when the menu isn’t to our liking and then getting it ready for us to eat? Oh…and also making our lunches to take to school..nutritious and well-balanced meals of sandwiches, fruit, veggies and maybe a little treat thrown in!

I wonder what it would be like to get us going after we finish our breakfast…to get our bags ready and to make sure we have everything we need for that day (completed homework assignments, sunscreen, a change of clothes, bathing suits, towels…the list goes on and on!)

I wonder what my children would be like going off to work…doing their jobs (that they might not even like but have to do in order to pay the bills) and deal with the politics of the work place? How would they deal with an irate boss or a long commute? How would they manage the stress of working and parenting by day…dealing with one of us being sick and having to go home. If they had to travel for business…how would they cope?

How would they deal with all the sacrifices that come with parenting? Buying us stuff that we need (and maybe don’t need) and denying themselves that special treat once in a while because there just isn’t enough money?

I wonder how they would manage the stress of everyone converging on the house at the same time and having to, after a long stress-filled day, prepare dinner and make lunches for the next day. Would they be able to menu plan….to think ahead and figure out what to buy at the grocery store and strive to work within the confines of a budget?

How would they be able to handle doing a pile of stuff around the house in the evening including laundry and cleaning up as well as getting us kids ready for bed before they would be allowed to collapse and finally after a very long day, relax and unwind.

I am not suggesting for a second that kids have it easy….I remember quite vividly the pressures of childhood…having to manage time for school work when you would much rather be playing outside (or these days going on the Internet)…studying for tests, peer pressure in the schoolyard, the crushing feeling of disappointment when a friend lets you down for the first time or a teenage crush that doesn’t feel the same way about you or performing household chores and familial responsibilities.

Its not a walk in the park…but compared to adulthood…its easy-peasy!!

Children don’t often acknowledge all that their parents do for them…other than on Mother’s and Father’s Day (which are only two days out of three hundred and sixty five). Maybe they just think its expected; that it comes with the territory. After all, our children didn’t ask to come into this world. We, their parents, made the conscious decision (for the most part) to create them…to have a family. I guess the onus is on us to provide, care and nurture them.

But would it be so bad once in a while for a little bit of gratitude? As children grow older, they don’t snuggle in your arms or want to hug or kiss you as much as they did when they were really little. As children mature into teenagers, it is quite the opposite. Voices are raised and frustration levels seem to be constant. Gratitude is replaced with attitude.

I guess all we can do as parents is what we are supposed to do….be parents. If any sign of appreciation or expression of love is offered up….we should hold onto it for dear life!

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About I'm Just A Dad

Stephen Gosewich is just a Dad (he is a former Enlightened Male but decided to change the name because when you search Enlightened Male, "other...wink, wink" are displayed. He spends his days during the week as a working stiff. At all other times, he just enjoys hanging out with his best friend and wife and their two very active and inspiring daughters.
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