This article is brought to you by Snarklets, Bracelets & Gifts Hand Stamped with Mantras for Real Life.
It wasn’t our best day today. As is the standard with most mornings, one of my three year olds burst into our room at 6:30 in the morning with one thought on his mind, Daddy’s phone. Generally it doesn’t bother me too much. I am one of “those guys” who has both a work and personal phone, so ceding control of one of my devices doesn’t impact my morning routine of mindlessly scrolling Twitter until either my bladder’s demands or my toddlers’ demands force me up and out of bed. The problem lies in trying to retrieve my phone from my son. He and I (and reality, for that matter) have different opinions of how long 5 minutes actually is. I’m not going to lie, when the first tantrum of the morning comes before I’ve managed a cup of coffee, it usually starts the day off on the wrong foot.
The Pop-Tart I’d made for one of my twins broke in half and was deemed unacceptable, so that became my breakfast, and he appropriated mine. By the third try, I’d gotten the other twin’s piece of toast at the appropriate level of crunchiness for him. There was a brief argument about socks that only resulted in 50% of my children in tears and us being only 5 minutes late for school.
Sometime later that afternoon, I got a text from my mother-in-law while I was at work. The boys hadn’t taken a nap today, which was her nice way of telling me that it was going to be a rough night, especially because my wife was otherwise occupied, which meant I’d be switching to a zone defense instead of our usual evening of man-to-man coverage.
The evening was capped off with a few more tantrums, some Paw Patrol, a little yelling and thankfully, an early bedtime.
You’d think that given my description, it’s pretty obvious that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Some days, it feels like that. The thing is, that’s only one side of the story.
It was a pretty good day today. One of my little guys came into my room, and while I don’t always like letting him play with my phone because it can be a challenge getting it back, it was a nice excuse to cuddle up with the little guy. Sure there was an early tantrum, but for the most part they’re like thunderstorms in Florida: they happen a lot, but they’re over pretty quickly.
Breakfast for me usually consists of coffee and a sad granola bar. This morning, my son cracked his Pop-Tart in half and asked for another one. That meant that I got to have half of his. We were a little late for school, but that’s only because my guys wouldn’t wear socks. The reason? They felt the need to put on an impromptu puppet show. I was frustrated because we were being late, but I have to admit that in retrospect, my son ripping off his socks because “he needed to do a puppet show right now!” is pretty damn funny.
They didn’t nap at their grandparents’ house, which means they were probably going to be a little bit crankier that night. Let’s face it though, who of us is truly at our best after pulling an all-dayer? My wife had plans that evening, which meant the screen time limits would probably become a little more fluid. Despite the evening’s usual smattering of toddler tantrums, it was mostly cuddling and watching Paw-Patrol. I even had them in bed early enough to watch most of the hockey game. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 7-2. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
One day, told from a different perspective and more importantly, approached with a different attitude. It’s all about how we choose to see each day. Positivity is a moving target. It’s not always easy to achieve. Our children may be the largest source of stress in our lives, but they are not the only one. Adulting is hard. Really hard. Careers, marriage, finances, politics, your team’s quarterback needing season ending elbow surgery after the first game of the year... these things all weigh on our minds. They shape each day’s outlook and have an effect on how we react to any given situation. No matter how positive we try to be, those negative thoughts and feelings are going to have at least some sort of an impact on our day. It’s up to us to decide just how much.
My wife uses this app called “1 Second Every Day.’ It’s this great app that allows you to create a longer compilation clip consisting smaller 1 second clips.
Something you realize quickly after using the app though is that none of those negative moments make the highlight reel. It’s all the “I love you, Daddy” moments and the silly and incoherent stories about their day. The splashes in the tub and wrapping them up in a big fluffy towel and an even bigger hug while they dry off. Snuggling up for a bedtime story and lullabies. These are things that make it.
Sure, there are rough moments, but you realize in the larger scheme of things just how little they actually mattered.
This article was brought to you by Snarklets, Bracelets & Gifts Hand Stamped with Mantras for Real Life.
Dale was born in Pittsburgh, PA but currently lives outside of Reading, PA. He graduated with a BA in photojournalism from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA in 2007. He has worked as a Marketing Brand Representative in the optical industry for five years. Dale lives in a quiet suburb with his beautiful wife and twin three-year-old boys. He enjoys Pittsburgh sports, comic books and bad action movies from the 80’s and 90’s. Dale also runs a comedic twitter account under the handle @TwinzerDad.