Things I need to give up on as a parent

I have three kids ranging from a baby to a 7-year-old. I do
a lot of things for my children. Most of them don’t help. Why? Because children
are destroyers of all things nice and orderly. And yet, I keep doing them. Why?
Hell… I don’t know. Hope that my kids will someday figure out that clean
laundry is valuable? Perhaps they will learn from my example? Or perhaps it’s
just because I’m bullheaded and stupid. I read a very funny list on Scary Mommy
titled “10 Futile Tasks That Parents Keep Doing Anyway” by Valerie Williams on
this same subject and I felt inspired to create my own.
Keeping my babies
nose free of boogers:
My seven-month-old is a dripping booger faucet. It
runs from the left nostril, then the right. Mostly both. It seasons her food,
and her kisses. She wipes it on her sleeve, and on mine. Every time I wipe her
face, she wiggles, and whimpers, and then looks at me like I’m an asshole. Like
I did something rude that was unexpected and unwanted, and now she has to work
harder at turning her face into a green mess. And sure enough, she does make
more boogers, and yet I keep wiping her face, hopeful that whatever seal is bad
in her head will one day mend itself and stop blotting my clothing with yellow
crusty stains.
Vacuuming: I
vacuumed last night before I went to bed. When I come home, my floor will be a
storm of white specks I can’t identify, crushed cheerios and crackers. There
will also, most likely, be a new stain. And yet, I will vacuum again before
bed, like I always do, and when I go to bed, I will feel satisfied in the fact
that the floor looks nice, and for some stupid reason, I take comfort in the
assumption that it will stay that way.
Getting my children
to sleep:
The real problem here is that I have three of them. Getting all
three to sleep through the night with out one of them peeing their pants,
needing a drink of water, dreaming about monsters, or asking for a popsicle, is
like aligning the stars. Mel and I try a lot of things to get our children to
sleep through the night. Regular bedtimes and bedtime routines. We coach the
older ones on how to take care of themselves in the night. Ultimately, though,
Jesus is at the wheel when it comes to sleep. Some nights are good, but most
are bad, and honestly, I just need to stop getting pissed off about my kids not
sleeping, stop trying, and accept the fact that I’m living in a nighttime hell.
Getting the pee smell
out of the toilet
: I have a little boy who pees like a drunken pirate with
a wooden leg. I’m not sure how much urine gets in the toilet each time, but it
must be somewhere between 5 and 0 percent. I clean around the base of the
toilet, the bolts, around the lid… I scrub the damn thing with a mop,
toothbrush, and sponge. Sometimes I get so close, and so committed, that I
accidently touch my face against the bowl and gag a little. Each time I finish,
I take a shower. Then I lean in near the toilet, give it a sniff, assuming the
pee smell will be gone, but nope, still there, hiding somewhere between the
linoleum and the toilet base, laughing at my hard work.
Introducing new food:
If it were up to my two oldest, they would eat a steady diet of dinosaur shaped
meat, mac & cheese, and fish sticks. I’m not sure if this diet would speed
things up, or slow things down in their body, but I am confident that their
colon would revolt in some way. This is why I try hard to get my kids to try
new food. Rarely is it anything too extravagant. For example, I tried to get my
son to try a bean burrito not too long ago, and he looked at it, wide-eyed, like
it were a long dark cave. After much convincing, he finally took a bite, and
ended up gagging, teary-eyed, and frustrated, like I’d give him poison. Each
new food has the same reaction, and yet I keep introducing new food, hoping it
will take, and worrying about the state of their colon.
Stopping fits: My
five-year-old is a fit machine. If she isn’t getting frustrated over her
homework, she’s flipping out because no one smelled her fart. Each time she
gets worked up, I lean down, and tell her to stay calm, use her words, ask for
help… And every time she looks at me like I’m directing her off a cliff. I keep
giving her strategies to keep calm, and each one is cast aside until I get
frustrated enough to carry her into her room and shut the door. Most of the
time, I want to just leave her there, ignore her, let her get it out. But I
keep trying because I want her, so badly, to become a confident and independent
You would also enjoy, The Morning I Cracked

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a
charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky
little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father
left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and
husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good
Morning America
, The New York Times,
Washington Post
, The
Huffington Post
, Scary
, The Good
Men Project
, Fast
, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and
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  • Unknown

    You may still want to give up on the pee smell…I have 3 boys and spent waaaaay too much time on that one. However, I did discover 2 things that helped somewhat:
    1) the actual problem was accumulation at the crevice where the bottom part of the fixture, where the seat attaches, meets the tank
    2) a mixture of vinegar and water (1:1) works wonders. After it dries there is no smell.

    Until the next time a boy uses it.

    And a word to the wise: I'd go ahead and invest in a closet auger ("toilet snake.) You'll figure out why soon enough.