Head on a swivel
What’s it like being a dad of four kids?
One word: exhausting.
It feels like my rhythm has been thrown to the wind with the birth of our fourth precious little soul. And listen, it’s not like I had the best organizational skills on the planet before that but I had a pace, a rhythm, a set of things to do every day, every day, or every two weeks that kept me sane and monotonous.
What we fail to understand when we seek organization and balance is that we incur the wrath of monotony. The drag, the limbo, the continuous drumming of nothing new and nothing different other than the next day gracing us with its calculated and expected delicacies.
Wake up. Prep for work. Iron clothes. Shower. Apply leave-on curling conditioner to my hair. Eat my breakfast or skip it altogether. Leave the house late and make it to work early; without a speeding ticket. Work. Break. Work. Drive home. Hang with the fam. Netflix. Hang with the fam. Read or write. Put the girls to bed. Dinner somewhere between all of this. And then hang with the wife. Read or write. And then off to bed, I go.
This droning is part of adulting. It’s part of being a mature, functioning human being within our merits-based society. You work, you have value. You work harder, you have the same value but you’re used as fodder for the rich who work very little but have greater value than you do.
You don’t work at all? You’re trash and used by the rich as fodder.
So here comes this little ball of joy, this bundle of cells, this human being who is one hundred percent dependent on us and she wrecks the monotony of western adulting. It isn’t the best form of adulting but it’s the one we have this far west and changing things gets you called a Marxist.
She is baby girl #4 and her entrance into our little world has put a halt on everything I thought I was doing right but more so everything I was doing consistently.
It’s not as if things were perfect with the three girls in the house and the fourth just so happened to toss us into Dante’s Inferno, head first. No. Things were never perfect because we’re human and human beings can be butts.
I’m a butt.
Our three girls are butts. Yes, even the one-year-old. My wife is a butt. And now we have a sixth butt in the house that has blessed us with her radical spontaneity.
Granted. When she was born I took the week away from work to spend it at home with the wife, the girls, and the newborn.
Little did we know, the newborn and my wife would spend nearly four days out of that week at the hospital post-discharge undergoing phototherapy; you know, the blue light that helps babies break down the stuff in their body that makes them look like Big Bird? Yeah. That thing.
So we go in for labor on Friday. The baby is born on Saturday. We leave the hospital on Sunday. The baby goes back to the hospital with my wife on Monday and they come back home on Wednesday. Then sometime in the weekend, I think it was Saturday, they go back and spend nearly two days there. I’m forced, due to exhaustion, to take the following Monday off from work just to relax now that everyone is home again.
The following week at work is spent dealing with Christmas-related closure details for our administrative team and our building. Simple stuff. But I felt like a zombie. Not World War Z zombies but season 8 The Walking Dead zombies. Completely useless and brainless. Theoretically.
So by the time Christmas break rolled in I wanted nothing more than to disappear from the social scene and relax and by relax I mean not talk to anyone because anything that dared drain me of the energy I needed for the family and the baby was the energy I was not willing to share.
There are emails, messages, and tasks I have yet to respond to and tend to because I feel like opening those threads, reading them, thinking about an appropriate answer, planning, scheduling, team working, brainstorm, communicating, and simply checking up on someone is too great a task for my over-exhausted and drained of its resources and fat brain.
My safe haven, my cathartic getaway, reading, and blogging, took a backseat because I had zero juices to muster up one hundred words worth reading or ten worth typing.
Even now, on January 3, 9:45 PM, as I type I find it difficult to want to type and to want to post. As if the joy of writing has almost been entirely sapped from my body.
Thankfully I’m here. Still writing away, blasting at these keys with four of my ten fingers, attempting to produce something I can look back at and learn from in a year or two.
And even gaming, which I love, and have done plenty of, has lost its luster. To avoid thinking about the greater responsibilities of pre-baby-number-four days, I just gamed. While on Christmas break, I let the family go down to bed, and while everyone was deep into the twilight zone of dreams I sat on the couch and wasted away in-game worlds where frost, fires, gun powder, and non-playing characters surrounded me everywhere I went.
Previously, I looked forward to gaming as a form of life styling, a habit or hobby that wrought joy and fulfillment.
But as of late, it was to me what addiction is to the addict except I gained nothing from it, no high, no surge, no climax; just more exhaustion.
My advice, well, this is why I wanted to write this post, why I opened this diary once more, is to tell you that if you’re thinking of having kids, no matter how many, one or ten, take at least a month off from work and everything else.
If you work. Take time away from work.
Do you go to school? Take time away from school.
Do you go to church? Yes, take time away from church too.
Do you have a time-consuming hobby like podcasting, blogging, or cross-fitting, whatever that is, then take time away from it to spend time with your family.
You will lose sleep. You will feel groggy. You will feel drained. You will feel bored and brainless.
And there is not a more acceptable time in your life for this to happen nor a better reason for you to experience this than when you are raising a child.
I love these girls. I love them to the moon and back. They’re funny, annoying, exciting, smart, strong, resilient (from falling all over the place and getting back up), inquisitive, interesting, and butts.
I love them.
But I must advise the would-be parent or the soon-to-be parent to run for their lives from everything happening outside of the home to focus on things happening inside the home.
You’ll need your sleep. You’ll need your rest. Your spouse will need to take time away from everything because you need to rest. They will need to rest too. Your kids will need to rest.
Take time away from everything… everything.
So, what’s it like being a dad of four kids?
But the more pressing question is would I trade it for anything else?
I love it.
Just gotta get back to the monotony of things now with the fourth kid in tow.