All day long. Orders. Demands. Asks. And the polite, “daddy pleeeeeeeease” is heard loudly a thousand times. It is the most exhausting part of being a parent. You want to be the sweetest-coolest-most-awesomest dad ever but you HAVE to say, “No.” And you have to say it a lot. Because if you say, “Yes” then Sebastián might die from the bacteria he caught on the day his father allowed him to drink water from the toilet. “No” is the right answer, but it’s weird how it mostly feels like the wrong one.
Maybe I just have too many issues. I don’t know if it’s because I want my kids to like me all the time, or because I don’t have the energy to explain in both Spanish and English why I have to say “No” again and again. Maybe I convince myself that it’s good training for his belly to drink water from the toilet (just in case he’s a third world missionary in the future) or maybe it’s because it just soooo easy to say, “Yes” and that way I can keep playing Candy Crush uninterrupted.
The “no” makes me feel like I’m being a jerk, but it’s really part of being a good father (I think). The “no” feels like rejection to them, but it’s really just a re-direction for their own good (for sure). Now, it would be nice for my heart to understand, that God does the same thing to me, because He is first and foremost, my Dad (and He’s definitely good). My boys need to be ok with my “no’s”, and I need to be ok with His.
But then there’s the glorious moment, when I pick up my lazy butt for 15 minutes and I play the game Alejandro wants to play, exactly as he wants to play it. And I fully commit to the sword chase. I run around like a madman while thinking to myself, “Keep going fatty, this is your gym time”. Then, Sebastián takes one last refreshing sip of toilet water and starts running behind me and we all go-go-go till the old man cramps begin (or I get hit in the crotch again).
Because I have to say “No” so much, saying “Yes” is so fun. Saying “Yes” to chocolate becomes so sweet. Saying “Yes” to Power Rangers is so powerful. Saying “Yes” to playing in the mud is so pure. I love saying “Yes!” and I know God does too.
Yet after 4 days of being Mr. Mom I realized that when Catherine is home I usually behave more like her assistant, not her husband or their father. It’s just easier that way. I only have to respond to half of her requests and that makes me decent help. I only have to change half of the diapers (which in husbands terms it’s really more like 25%) and that makes me super pops. I can let the home-mommy-saying-no-bussiness be mostly her responsibility and I can just enjoy the few times I say “yes” to the boys’ demand for a game. I get to be cool and fun and flexible and I get to say “yes” a lot. “Si”, “Oui”, “Ja”, “はい”, “Da”, “Aye”.
What I need to do is say, “NO!!!”. No to my selfish self. To stop worshipping the trinity of me, myself and I and say to my family, as Jesus said to us all, “Here I am among you as one who serves.”
If I want my kids to learn to be ok with so many “No’s” then I first have to say “No” to myself. It’s actually the best kind of “Yes.”
So goodbye Candy Crush! Adios couch potato life. It is time to step up your game and take that diaper changing percentage up to 50%. Ok, ok, lets be realistic, lets just start with 30%. At least I’m saying “Yes” to change.
T-minus 48 hours for the second coming.
Catherine is back friday. Glory, Glory Hallelujah. Keep praying, lots can still happen.
ps. Thanks to Kristen and Yuki for babysitting, Adam and Anna for the car and Murray and Ash for the curry. The rest of you need to get saved! Peace
Mr. Mom says No!