I was at a wilderness first aid course and a fellow student asked me if I thought parenthood had made my life “better.”
I gave a wry smile and shared that the challenges of fatherhood have made me a better man.
I further shared that it has been hard to detect any improvement in the quality of my day-to-day life.
However, it gets easier.
Our youngest turned four last month and that marks a key shift in our house. The younger kids (4 and 5) still get worked up but we have the skills to avoid making the situation worse.
Later, I had the realization that I’m basing my evaluation by looking at a single thread of my life.
You see, we only see the life we live. When I think more broadly, I’m certain that there are many threads that are tougher than living with three loud kids that love me.
For personal happiness, it pays to ask around, get out of the house and serve the community.
I have accepted that I am a good parent but I might not be good at parenting.
What I mean… I can provide the kids what they need but there isn’t the ease, and joy, that I see with mastery.
I shared this observation with my parenting mentor and she gave me a wry smile!
After eight years, I’ve come to the realization that my limitations are OK and I pay attention to them.
When I am struggling with someone then it’s a sign that I’m spending too much time with them. So, it’s better for me, and them, if I stay under the irritation threshold.
Keeping a little in reserve can be easier for a guy (see my piece on Mommy Fatigue) but my wife sees the benefits (for all of us) of acknowledging limits.
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