Parenting is work. You’ve heard that time and time again. It’s one of the hardest jobs you will ever do (and well, why so many parents drink). And in the moment, especially in the throes of raising a young child who has yet to develop reason and a balanced emotional state (then again, this takes most people their entire lives), you may think that is the understatement of the year.
The thing is, most jobs that you do outside of the home, they are of course hard, challenging, high stress positions – unless you have gone the non-stressful chilled out occupational route of underwater basket weaving which is becoming more enviable in my mind. But you are usually dealing with people who have the ability to reason (usually), and who do not have tantrums over the specific shade of a jumper being not quite right (again, there are adult exceptions to this rule and I’ve worked for a few of them). Furthermore, with one’s boss in a normal work environment, you have no emotional attachment to them (unless they’re your husband/wife etc. and then good luck because that’s a tough path to navigate), you physically leave them after work is done, and you don’t have the psychological fear that you are scarring them straight into the therapist’s chair. Not to mention, you can usually have some sort of constructive dialogue when you reach an impasse that doesn’t result in a stand off that results in them taking off their clothes and climbing under a table and refusing to come out (if your boss is doing this, I suggest some strong medication and a visit to a psychicatrist).
At the moment the King is truly well entrenched in the willful stage of "NO, I simply don’t feel like it." It’s different than the two-year-old stage where they’ve just learned the word no because they don’t have the dialogue to back it up. But when they’re older, and they’ve learned how the world works a bit better (and have learned the art of being clever and defiant at the precise time you need them to be malleable) the word NO suddenly becomes a weapon that can be aimed straight at your adrenal system. Time to get dressed, 'NO, I don't want to'; We’re off to school, 'NO'; Eat your breakfast, 'No, I'm not hungry'; Let’s put our shoes on, 'NO, I don't like those shoes'…..okay then, let’s just get drunk and pretend that mommy has a clue as to what she’s doing and can get you out the front door without the neighbours thinking that mommy has lost her marbles.
In addition to the King’s 'no' behavior of late is the mix of emotion and testosterone surging through his little boy body. Two very powerful beasts that wreak havoc on….well just about any situation that is can easily run amuck. Imagine having all this blazing fire inside of you with no ability to reason or understand intellectually where these emotions are coming from (um, that just may sum up decades of my life). I can imagine this is what it feels like to be a 4/5 year old child. Then you throw in a parent who is trying to throw rules and directives into the mix and well, you tell me how good you think it’s going to end. And I can assure you, all the reward charts and bribery in the world is sometimes not enough to quell the storm inside these little people with their own designs and desires on how the world should work.
I suppose the one thing a boss and a five-year-old child actually do have in common is their ability to wield fear. I never thought it possible, in fact I used to scoff in the face of those that feared their children, but at the moment, I would not go as far to say that I necessarily fear the King, but I definitely fear the sh*tstorm that he can conjure up, especially in public places (my son? nooo that's not my son lying in the middle of aisle four screaming my name; I'm not sure what he's talking about). It’s like watching a storm move in, the little signs, the small triggers, the twitch of the lip as you internally holler, please god nooooo, as you do your best to do anything to avoid what’s to come. Then again, I used to have bosses I feared, but I knew if it got too terrible, I could ultimately tell them to stick it and find another job. But despite my threats to put my son on eBay, a parent cannot find another job (calm down, nor would we want to…but a child free vacation, now that would be nice from time to time). Parenting is for life and your main job requirement is not only to love them and keep them alive, but not screw them up in the process.
Hmm, right about now, I’m thinking perhaps my husband and I deserve a raise.