Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Moments of Parental Zen

Let's face it ... parenthood is great fun, but it's also pretty darn trying and exhausting all the time at times.

At least at our house, there's a never-ending train of laundry to do and fold, dishes to wash, dry, and put away, lunches to pack, diapers to haul out to the dumpster, pee stains to clean around the toilets (what else would you suspect from 3 small boys with prototypical "aim"), etc.

And that's just the fun that begins AFTER the boys go to bed. Let's not get started with all of the table 'dancing', knife juggling, ceiling fan-swinging fun while they're awake aka one never ending MMA match.

(Note to self: Create a "Sleep Bank" by which you can deposit extra sleep from your teenage years for withdrawal when you become parents.)

But I digress (and jest, though not about the Sleep Bank).

When you're a parent with multiple small children, you measure quiet dinners at home in seconds, not in whole yes/no numbers.

And when it happens, it makes a massive deposit into the "Good Dinner Behavior Bank" that helps get you through the next seemingly never-ending trail of dinner chaos.

The other night we had just such a dinner. In actuality, it may have lasted only 600 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Everyone reverently said the prayer beforehand, no one rushed off to go potty, stand up and dance around, or run upstairs to get a favorite toy. No one threw anything. There were no scowls and no tattles. Questions about everyone's day were asked.

In short, I think Mom-E and I were so shocked we almost forgot what to say or do!

(Of course, something happened at the very end, something trivial I can't remember at present, which lead to a major screaming blow-up. But for about 10 minutes, it was total Zen.)

And the truth is, and I think most parents would agree, that parenting is about these brief moments of Zen. These are the things that keep us going through all of the tantrums, tattles, and frustration.

And personally I find it helpful to recall them, as evidence that things are better than they may seem when things aren't going so well.

In no particular order, these recently include:
-Seeing Star Wars in 3D in the theater with Big Brother.
-Playing board games with Big Brother before school when everyone else is asleep.
-When Little Brother asks me, "Dad-E, how was your day?"
-When Bab-E Brother says, "Mommy coot lake-y" ("Mom-E cute lady").
-Everyone in the family chasing each other in a game of tag in the back yard.
-When the boys share amongst each other without being asked.
-When the boys hug each other spontaneously.
-Playing piano with Big Brother.
-Games of hide-and-seek in the house after dinner, interspersed with dancing/chasing to iPod music.
-That the boys always "hide" from me when I get home from work. (Does it still count if Bab-E Brother screams out, "Dad-E, we're hiding!" from his hiding place?)

See you on Fatherhood Friday,


  1. That's a great list of happy family activities. I'm still chuckling about Bab-E Brother saying Mom-E cute lady. Such a nice compliment.

  2. I know how hard it can be to have a peaceful dinner! It is nice to relish in it when you do get a few seconds of quiet dinner time with the whole family! One day, it will be too quiet when the babies have left the nest....
    Love, aunt-e