“Dude, I’m so much better a father than you are.”
Ever catch yourself saying that in your head? Is it usually when you’re out and about and see some dad doing something that you would never in a million years do to your kids?
I gotta admit that I do this a good bit. I know, I know…it’s egotistical, it’s obnoxious, and worst of all, it’s probably not even true.
What I have to remind myself, is that I have no idea of the events leading up to the moment I just witnessed. That dad might be a single father struggling to hold down a job and keep his kids happy and well-fed. Or, maybe the kids have just been real bastards for the last hour and a half and what I witnessed was his last straw after an hour and a half of patience and honest-to-goodness trying.
As an example, at a recent gathering of the in-laws, my BIL brought his daughter over without his wife. He walked into the house (he’s also an in-law), grabbed one of the hamburgers I had made especially for MY family (everyone else was having Pork Loin…on Memorial Day!) and sat down and started to eat without hardly a word of greeting to anyone. Then, when everyone was finished, while I was off watching my two boys destroy the house, along with his 3-year old daughter, he sat there at the table as if she didn’t exist, letting others take care of his kid for him.
At the time, I was pretty darn ticked. The NERVE of him coming over and doing that.
But then later, I had to remind myself that his wife is at home, overdue pregnant and she is no easy person to live with (by my standards) under normal circumstances. Just recently, she “made” him check the family into a local hotel the other night because she was “just over waiting on this baby” and they all needed a change of scenery. This also means he’s doing the lion’s share of everything around the house, including taking care of their daughter. So maybe I can’t begrudge him a little downtime and thoughtless feasting.
But I think it’s healthy to compare ourselves to others sometimes. If we’re really being honest, it can lead to improvements in our own day-to-day. And just as I have to cut other guys some slack, I try and do the same for myself. I’m not perfect—heck, I’m not even “pretty darn good.” I’m just me and I’m doing the best I can while juggling flaming swords and cantaloupes.
Be safe on the road this summer gents, and have fun!
(NOTE TO ALL: I will be suffering, having a blast with the family at the beach this week. Might drag the old laptop along, but dunno if I’ll have time for any posts. Don’t stop reading. Check back often. I’ll update when I can!)