Read any self help book or listen to any motivational speaker and you
will hear the same advice: problem solving begins with problem
identification. It's a simple and straightforward idea really, you
can't fix what you don't know is broken, and it was my first step down
the healing road of getting a sense of purpose and importance from being
an at-home parent.
For those readers who missed my most recent article, let me borrow a
line or two from it in order to help you quickly understand where I was
when it came to dealing with my daughter after a short time of being an
at-home dad. "I resented her….I can sum up my emotional and mental
attitude succinctly this way: she was an irritation, an imposition, a
hindrance, and a duty."
"Yikes!" you might say, and you'd be right.
"You shouldn't have been caring for a child with that attitude" you might also add.
Well, if people were honest, there might be a larger percentage of
people caring for children who have a similar attitude than we might
want to know. However, what began to happen with me was that I began
to become more and more aware of my negative attitude. I would sit to
play with Caroline and she would be laughing and she would be having fun
and I began to recognize that I wanted to be having fun too. I wanted
to be enjoying my time with her. I began to feel this gnawing sense of
dissatisfaction with what I was doing and, more importantly, how I was
doing it. I didn't want to look forward to nap time anymore, I wanted
to look forward to being with Caroline.
It's one thing to feel a generalized sense of irritation and
dissatisfaction. For example, maybe you don't like "work" or you don't
feel comfortable in "that church" or you find yourself on edge at
"family functions". However, it's an altogether different thing to have
your irritation specified and personified. Then your work problem
becomes you don't like Jim, your church problem becomes you're put off
by Mike the door greeter, and your family functions are spoiled by Aunt
Janice and your brother Ed. Now it's specific. Now you know. Now, as
they say, you are standing at the proverbial fork in the road and you
have a clear choice: how are you going to choose to handle the issue?
So, who was causing my issue? My one year old daughter? Nope.
Who was the source of my irritation and dissatisfaction? I was. I was the issue. My problem was with me.
It's almost easier to have the problem person be someone else, you
know? As I sat at looked into the mirror one morning I recognized my
choice, I could wallow in my puddle of irritation for another 5 years,
or I could set out to change me in order to enjoy this time that
seemingly everyone else around me thought was special. I decided to
And where I began was the most basic and important of all places. More on that next week.